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Collars and Cuffs - Sewing Techniques

Techniques on sewing collars and cuffs

This article will give you tips and techniques on how to achieve a professional finish on collars and cuffs when sewing from a commercial dress pattern. 



Collars and cuffs techniques

Pattern – we used New Look 6232, male and female version available.

Fabric as stated on the pattern




Interfacings are available in black or white, in a variety of weights and fusible (iron-on) or non fusible (sew-in). See our article on Vlieseline interfacings here, many of which are available from Minerva Crafts.

The colour of the interfacing will be dictated by the colour of fabric you are using and the weight will be dictated by the weight of fabric you are using. The choice of iron-on or sew-in is entirely up to you unless your pattern specifies a particular type.



Cutting out a collar or cuff piece

Using your pattern, cut out two collar pieces in fabric and one in interfacing.

Cut out four cuff pieces in fabric and two cuffs in interfacing.

Make sure the straight of grain is adhered to on the fabric. The interfacing does not have a straight of grain and is therefore more cost effective. Carefully cut around the notches. The notches on the collar and cuffs correspond to the matching notches on the neckline and sleeve edges.


Attach interfacing to a collar piece

 If using iron-on interfacing, iron the interfacing pieces to one of the collar pieces and two of the cuff pieces. If you are using sew-in interfacing, tack the interfacing in position.

The collar or cuff piece with the interfacing attached is known as the under collar or under cuff.


Sewing a collar or cuff

With right sides together attach the two collar pieces together and do the same for the cuffs. The seam allowance will be determined by the pattern, so check carefully.

Tip: Remember the notches on the cuffs show a left hand cuff and a right hand cuff.


Sewing a collar or cuff

Trim the interfacing as close to the stitching as you can. Trim the next layer of fabric to 3mm and the last layer to 4mm. This layered effect reduces bulk.

Cut across the corners. This will also reduce bulk and give a sharp angle.


Turning a collar through

Turn the collars and cuffs right side out. Roll the seam edges between thumb and first finger and tack. Lightly press and remove tackings.


Press a collar flat

Press firmly to remove any indentation from the tacking. At this point you can topstitch the collar, but do not topstitch the cuffs.

The collar and cuffs are now ready to attach to the garment.


Where a collar stand is incorporated, you attach the collar to the stand.

Sewing a collar stand

Cut out two collar stands in fabric and one in interfacing ensuring the straight of grain is correct and cut around the notches. Secure the interfacing to one of the collar stands.


Attaching collar stand

Pin the under collar to the under collar stand (the one with the interfacing attached) matching the notches.  Pin the top collar stand to the collar matching the notches.


 Collar stand

Machine stitch and layer the seam allowance in the same way as you did for the collar and cuffs. Cut notches as shown, this will reduce the bulk whilst taking into account the curve of the neckline and help the collar sit comfortably.


Finished collar stand

Turn right side out and press. The collar and stand is now ready to attach to the garment.


 For other technique guides on dressmaking, see here.

Skills in dressmaking to learn