Lesson One: Pete
Welcome to our Pete tutorial. Here you will find step-by-step written instructions, reference photos and helpful tips to walk you through the collar construction and help you make a fun accessory to add to your handmade wardrobe.
If you haven't already, purchase your Pete pattern here.
This lesson is meant to be accompanied by the Pete instructions.
1. Cut out your pieces in the desired size:
Cut one upper collar
Cut one under collar
Cut one interfacing
Be sure to transfer any notches from the pattern onto the fabric.
Tip: make sure your fabric is well pressed prior to cutting out your pattern pieces. This will ensure both accurate and properly cut pieces.
2. Attach the interfacing to the under collar. Press the interfacing as recommended by the manufacturer. When ironing interfacing use a pressing cloth. This protects your iron as well as your ironing board. Old pillowcases are a perfect size for this and are a great way to reuse old fabric.
3. Place the upper collar and under collar (with interfacing attached) right sides together. Align the notches to ensure proper placement. Pin the pieces together.
Tip: when pinning pick up only a small amount of fabric on both sides, this minimizes the risk of shifting fabric.
4. Sew along the outer curve using a 1/2" (1.3cm) seam allowance. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.
Tip: on your machine set the needle to stay in the fabric once you release the sewing foot. This makes it easier to lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric while sewing around corners. Make sure to take your time with this step. It will produce smoother lines and the end result will be a professional looking collar. After you have finished sewing, be sure to press your collar to set the stitches.
5. Clip, trim and grade the seams. This is slightly time-consuming but it is well worth it! Trim the front curve down to 1/16" (0.2cm). Please note that stable knits, unlike woven fabrics, will not fray so it is okay to trim close to the edge of the front curve. Don't worry if you're using a woven fabric for your under collar, the interfacing will aid in preventing the fabric from fraying. Pay attention and be mindful of where your stitches are so you do not cut into your seam allowance.
After the curve gradually grade the seam down to 1/4" (0.6cm) for the upper collar and trim down 1/8" (0.3cm) for the under collar. Along the back curve, clip notches every 1/2" (1.2 cm).
6. Press the seam allowance towards the under collar. It is helpful to use a tailor's ham to help coax the fabric to the proper side. Again, this step takes some patience but it is integral to the overall look of the final project.
7. Understitch the seam allowance to the under collar. The understitching will ensure that the seam from the upper collar rolls under and prevents a ridge of fabric forming at the edge of the collar. Using a 'stitch in the stitch' foot on your machine will help you sew close to the edge. When understitching, start in the middle of the collar and sew towards the edge of the collar. Repeat this process on the other side.
8. Turn the collar right side out and press. When turning the collar right side out, use your fingers to smooth the fabric to the proper side. Gently roll the fabric when ironing. You want to make sure that your upper collar is slightly over the under collar. This will prevent the under collar from showing when you wear it. After this step check your curve on the front of the collar to ensure that it is nice and smooth.
9. Flip the collar inside out and partially close neckline curve leaving a 2" (5.1cm) opening in the middle of the curve. Pin the notches first to make sure the fabric lays flat. Be sure to backstitch when starting and stopping.
Tip: to remind yourself to leave an opening use pins with different colour heads as a reminder where to start and stop.
10. Leave collar inside out and trim the seam allowance up to the opening. Trim seam allowance down to 1/4" (0.6cm) for upper collar and 1/8" (0.3cm) for under collar. Be sure not to trim down the opening. Leaving this excess fabric will make it easier to tuck into the collar and slip stitch the opening closed when finishing. After trimming the seam allowance give the collar a good press to set the stitches.
11. Apply the magnet closure. Skip this step if you are using a hook and eye closure. We recommend using 6mm x 3mm magnets if intending to add pearls or gems which will add weight to the collar. Cylindrical magnets that are roughly the size of a tic-tac work best for all other collars (lighter in weight).
Prepare the magnets so they are attached correctly. For the round magnets, put the magnets together so that the attracting sides meet. Leaving the magnets attached draw an 'X' on each side facing outwards. The side marked with the 'X' will be the side that is facing upwards that does not get glue on it.
If using the tic-tac shaped magnets let them attract side by side and mark the top with an 'X'
Please note: when marking the magnets use a pencil, erasable marker or chalk that you can wipe off after the magnet is glued so it will not transfer onto your fabric and leave a stain.
Using a toothpick to apply glue (Gorilla or Super Glue is recommended) to the unmarked side of the magnets.
Tip: use only a small 'dot' of glue to ensure that it does not leak through your fabric and also makes it easier to move the magnet if you need to adjust it.
Glue magnets in place approximately 1/16" (0.15cm) away from the edge. You want to place your magnet equal distance away from your seam as the seam allowance.
Place magnets with the 'X' facing upwards (if using round magnets) on each inside corner at the front of the collar.
For the tic-tac shaped magnets lay magnets flat making sure the 'X' is facing the same direction on each side.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions and let the glue cure for the recommended time.
Fun tip: after applying glue, stick the collar with magnets attached to the fridge or filing cabinet to help the magnets to dry in the right place and lay flat.
12. Once the glue has set turn the collar right side out and test the magnets to make sure they are aligned nicely. If you are happy with the placement you can add more glue if needed. Test to ensure the fabric lays flat before adding more glue.
Please note: adding pearls or gems to a stable knit will help the collar lay flat with the extra weight so don't fret if the edges lift slightly if using a heavier weight fabric.
13. For a more professional look we highly recommend taking the time hand sew the 2" (5.1cm) closed using a slip stitch. If opting to machine stitch, sew as close to the edge as possible. We've used red thread to demonstrate so you can clearly see the stitches. Make sure to use matching thread when hand sewing.
14. Attach a clasp if not using a magnet. Hand sew on a hook and eye closure at the edge of the front curve of the collar. Take your time to mark the placement and sew on with matching thread to have a professional-looking finish. Don't be tempted to rush this step. You are almost done, take care to have the final step look just as polished as the rest of your collar.
15. Add your new collar to one of your previous makes and wear it with pride! Upgrade your collar by adding gemstones, pearls or other embellishments. Modify it to make it your own and suit your style.
Tip: if you are using a heavier weight of fabric and the collar rolls up at the front a great trick to keep it down is a small piece of tupé tape under each front curve.
16. When it comes time to launder the collar we strongly recommend hand washing to preserve the magnet placement.
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