Fix it Tutorial: Nice flat knit collars!

This mini fix it tutorial goes along with my recent post about fixing pants.  It also goes alone with my issue with lots of patterns, though most common with .pdf’s & free online tutorials you will find these issues with some commercial patterns as well.  What is the problem that is?  The wonky knit collar that does not lay flat!

BEFORE:

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Keri’s 7 yr old son Dylan in his newly mama made shirt, notice the neckline?

Recently Keri posted on a facebook group she was upset because she made her son a t-shirt and it looked good until she put the collar on.  She thought she did something wrong, she didn’t the tutorial just was missing some important information.  I was pretty sure I knew what the issue was and when I offered to help if she sent me a picture sure enough I was correct.  The collar sticks up wonky because the the neck trim is actually too big.  Many patterns call for the neck/collar piece to be cut 1-2″ shorter then the neck opening, the problem is that often simply is not enough!

You will need ribbing for the neck/collar piece, a stretchy cotton/lycra(spandex) is best, and a cloth measuring tape!  You also need to remove the original piece from the top and either wash & dry it or hit it with some steam from your iron or steamer t shrink the knit fibers back up a bit.

For the new piece we will leave the smaller measurement from your pattern alone (often 1.5-2″ depending on the seam allowance).  For the length we need to do some very easy math!  First with the cloth measuring tape start at one edge or seam & carefully measure all the way around your neck opening (this is A).  The best fit uses 75% of the neck opening for the collar, so we want our neck/collar piece (B) to be 75% of that measurement.  These are the formulas we use:

A x .75 = B (finished length)          (Seam Allowances x 2) +B = Cut Length

So if our neck measurement is 18″ x .75 = 13.5″ for our finished length.
If our seam allowances are .5″ then (.5″ x 2) = 1″ + 13.5″ =14.5″ for the cut length.

Notice this is far more then 1.5-2″?

You can assemble it in the flat or the round.  I generally prefer the round because it hides the rough seam inside :).  To sew it on in the round if fixing it after the fact you need to sew the 2 short ends together with the WRONG side facing you.  Then fold it the tube in half so the seem is hidden inside with a fold on one long side & 2 raw edges on the other.

Either way I recommend quartering off both the neck opening of the shirt & and the folded in half neck binding/collar with pins.   I will try to take pictures of the quartering off processes later to add to this post, I just have my hands rather full at the moment.  You are dividing it into 4 even quarters so  for 18″ you would mark  every 4.5″.  For 13.5″ every 3 3/8″. Then match the pins up on both items & pin them together in those places THEN stretch between each set of 2 pins pinning in between.  Yes you can can just eye but but honestly you will get more consistent looking necklines if you pin first.  You really should at least do the quarter pins.  Believe me I am often the last to pin stuff but it really does help!  Top stitching also helps it lay nicely even after washing.

2 other tips are to make sure you are using a ball point/stretch needle and also using a stretch friendly stitch.  Otherwise you will likely pop a stitch.

I would like to thank Keri for sending me these pictures and allowing me to share them on my blog! This was what the shirt look liked after she followed this tutorial.

AFTER:

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