Why my Collar is Sticking Out like Bird Wings: Notching the collar seam

Previously I have posted a pattern review of McCalls 5754 Poncho/Cape and said that I had plans to make another in wool.  I cut the project out and then it lay in my UFO sewing basket until December.  Originally I had planned to have it done in time for fall and I am annoyed with myself that it won’t be appropriate until next fall, but better late than never.

Once upon a time I had the original photo I showed my foster sister, of the collar sticking out, but it must have been inadvertently deleted during all of the Christmas picture-taking.

So I sewed it up and then found something else to be annoyed about.  The collar stuck out like wings from my neckline.  Thankful to live in the post-modern era with deluxe technology I snapped a pic with my digital camera to show my foster sister.  (This really beats dragging the offending garment back and forth for her to see. Because I was raised by my great-aunt and uncle, my foster sister is much older than myself and also happens to be an excellent seamstress who had stopped sewing around the time I began.  I thought for sure she would have a fix-it.)

Expecting consolation, I show her the image on the digital. 

“Your collar is too tight,” she says flatly.

Not exactly feeling validated, I begin to make my case. 

“It can’t be too tight.  It is a plus-size.  The neckline is actually a bit too large for me.  I NOTCHED!”

“Your collar is too tight.  Get into it and loosen your collar.”

I begin to wail piteously, “But I have already bagged and closed up the lining.  I notched!  Well, it went kind of straight-like at that part of the collar and I didn’t notch a lot there.  But I’ve already bagged and closed up the lining!”

My sister looks me blandly in the eye and says, “Uh huh, get into it and loosen the collar.  It’s too tight.”

So much for a fellow sewist’s sympathy.    How could she be right?  What a bummer thing to have to rip back part of the lining.  Aarrgh!  I mean I notched.  How many notches did this thing feel entitled to?

Apparently a lot.

Over the next few weeks I kept looking at the cape on the mannequin and wishing the solution lay elsewhere, but after some thought  decided she had to be right.  I ripped out my hemstitched lining opening, turned the cape inside out, and notched the collar again.  The collar and facing are both woolen.  That made for a thick seam in the front area where the cape closes.  I notched one side every inch, and then staggered my notches for the other side.  It worked.  The collar now falls as it should.

This is what I mean by staggering the notches on the collar raw edge.

Thick fabric means a thick seam, which means more notching than you might normally do. My advice is to check out the lay of the collar before closing the lining.

The collar now lays against my shoulder as it should. It turns out I made the fix more tedious in my imagination than it was in reality. It took only about 15 minutes.

Next Post: Thursday, January 20, 2011:Starting on my Spring Sewing Resolution


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steph
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 04:24:16

    Tough love is the best kind of love.


  2. kirsten
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 10:01:33

    Hi Thanks for writing this subject I have often had this problem only now do I know how to fix it


  3. Sister
    Jan 22, 2011 @ 16:34:52

    Oh – good to know when I start on my shirt! I’ve read about this collar thing a bunch but didn’t know the notches were so important. Thanks!


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