sewing notched collar
Sewalongs, Tutorials

TUTORIAL: SEWING A NOTCHED COLLAR

Happy Friday everyone! Today we’re going to cover the trickiest bit of sewing for the Carolyn Pajama pattern. Notched collars require a bit of precision but the finished product is sooo worth it. I spent more time refining this detail than I did anything else on this pattern. I wanted to make the sewing process as easy as possible while also eliminating the back neck facing. I hate back neck facings. They never lay flat and often look horrendous. I also played a lot with the angle of the lapels in relation to the collar to reduce some of the snipping you generally have to do when you’re sewing this style and I don’t think it gets much easier than this.

If you’re piping your pajamas, you’ll want to start by sewing it to your lapel facings and top collar piece (check in with this tutorial if you need help with that). With that out of the way, sew your under collar pieces together and press flat. On the top collar, sew a line of stay-stitching that extends just past the shoulder notches.

sewing notched collar

This area will be pressed up along the stay stitch line. Clip into that seam allowance without cutting your stitching to help you do so.

How to sew a notched collar by Closet Case Files 1

Pin the top and under collar right sides together, matching notches. Sew all the way around from circle marking to circle marking. Once finished, notch around the curves and grade your seams to reduce bulk.

sewing notched collarsewing notched collar

Turn everything right side out and give it a good press.

sewing notched collar

Your shirt should be assembled along the shoulder seam. Stay stitch around the neckline to the circle markings. Pin the under-collar along the neckline, matching notches and markings.

sewing notched collarsewing notched collar

When you start sewing, make sure you start at that circle mark, and sew over the seam of the collar. Sew all the way around.

sewing notched collarsewing notched collar

In order to eliminate that back neck facing, we are going to conceal the neck seam under our top collar. To do this, snip through the shirt and under collar on either side of the seam to just before your stitching.

sewing notched collar

Press the back neck seam up. Pin your top collar along this seam, matching your shoulder notches up.

sewing notched collar

Sew along that folded seam to secure the top collar to the back of the neck, about 1/8″ from the edge. Then baste the raw edges of the top collar on the left and right to the under-collar and shirt.

sewing notched collar

Now to attach the lapel facings! With the right side of the shirt facing you, lay the facing face down along the lapel.

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At the circle mark, we want a nice clean joint between the lapel piping and the collar piping. To do this, take the free edge of the piping on the lapel and turn it at a 90 degree angle so it’s sitting next to the collar piping.

sewing notched collar

Pin the facing to the lapel and collar, matching all your notches and markings. Make sure your facing extends past the shoulder seam by at least 1/2″.

sewing notched collar

I like to sew a quick pass of basting stitches where the collar meets the lapel, just to make sure everything is meeting up nicely. Once you’re sure it is, sew along this entire edge, from hem to shoulder seam. Now, because we are sewing a convex curve to a concave one at the neckline, you have to be careful as you’re sewing that everything is lined up correctly and you’re sewing it flat. If not, you may see something like this:

sewing notched collar

I just rip out those few stitches, flatten out that seam and sew it again. This could be avoided by snipping into the seam allowance along the shirt but I never bother. The curve is gentle enough that you don’t really need to.

Now that the facing is attached, grade all your seams and trim the piping down.

sewing notched collarsewing notched collar

Flip everything right side out and give it a good press. Fold the raw seam allowance of your facing under along the shoulders.

sewing notched collar

On the right side of the shirt, pin that shoulder facing seam into place and stitch in the ditch to secure it.

sewing notched collar

Once both facings are sewn and everything is attached, it’s time to do a line of topstitching along the entire edge to lock all those seams in place. Before doing that, I like to finish the bottom hem. Sew the facing to the hem of the shirt at 5/8″ and trim the corner. This way, when you flip everything right side out and topstitch, that corner gets secured as well.

sewing notched collar

I try and topstitch about 1/8″ from the edge. Using a medium-short stitch length is best since you have some corners to get around (I forgot to change my stitch length here so do as I say, and not as I do). An edge stitch foot is really handy here if you have one. I do my topstitching on the facing side since you really want to make sure you’re sewing a nice line around the collar and lapel. Make sure while you’re stitching that the layer underneath is laying nice and flat. When you get to the corner where the lapel and collar meet, leave you needle down before turning your work.

sewing notched collar

And that’s it! Hopefully this clarifies this part of the process if you were struggling with the notched collar. It gets easier with every pass, promise.

Next week I’ll be sharing some additional waistband finishes for your bottoms. Have a great weekend!

  • Thanks so much for this! This is where I totally needed help!

  • Severine Bompoint

    Amazing tutorial, just what I needed to guide me through my collar tonight, thanks a lot!

  • Ellen

    The collar is not meeting the neck edge correctly. I am not enjoying this pattern!

    • Hi Ellen. All of our patterns are professionally graded and individually “walked” to ensure all pattern pieces line up perfectly. Sometimes it is tricky to line up these pieces since you are trying to match a straighter edge like the collar to a more pronounced curve at the neckline. It may help to staystitch the neckline first and then clip into it to “straighten” the curve, making it easier to match your pieces.

      • Ellen

        Thanks! I persevered, clipped the neckline, and got it to work. They are not perfect, but turned out super cute.