Monday, August 5, 2013

Turorial part 3. New Look 6963.

This week I am running a tutorial on how to make New Look 6963.  I am making version c.  This is a blouse with a collar (no collar band), back facing and front facing.  I have made the shirt before - this is what it looks like:

Yesterday we started the shirt by staystitching the neck, sewing the front and back darts and sewing the yoke to the front and back pieces.

Today we are going to add the collar and facings and stitch the side seams together:

The instructions ask you to sew both collar sections (one is interfaced, one is not) together.  (The collar piece was interfaced in Tutorial 1).  At the corner, make two very small stitches diagonally across the corner.

Once you have sewn the pieces together, trim the seams in layers:  Here is my first layer:

 You will also notice I have trimmed the corner.

In the next photo I have trimmed the second seam back:

(Commercial patterns for homesewers have generous seam allowances for collars and facings. In patternmaking for real commercial enterprises, ie RTW, the seam allowances are much smaller, 1/4 inch (1 cm) - to eliminate trimming which takes time and is thus not economically viable).

Here is a picture of the corner (my diagonal stitches are not very large on this collar).  You can also see the trimmed layers:

Turn the collar inside out and press carefully:

(you will not a little notch in the collar - that is the centre back - I always mark the CB or CF with a little notch for matching purposes).

 Now we will make the facing section.  First stitch the back facing section to the two front facings (already interfaced in tutorial 1). Press the seams open:

 Finish the edge of the facings with whatever method you use ( I overlock with a serger, but you might use a zigzag stitch, or pink the edge, or turn under - whatever method you use is fine):

 The instructions ask you to tack the unseamed edge of the collar together before adding to blouse.

( You will notice that I am actually rolling the collar in the direction it will rolling when worn.  This is because these two collar pieces are cut the same, whereas in a well tailored shirt the undercollar is always a tiny bit smaller. This is because the upper collar rolls over the under collar and thus needs a tiny bit more length.  Not much, but it makes a difference.  )

 I also top stitched my collar - this is not included in the pattern, but you can finish in any way you like:). Collars are often understitched to help hold the pieces in place.  I want a topstitched look to my shirt. 

 The pattern asks you to snip the shirt pieces, the collar pieces and the facing pieces to the stay stitching- don't get too enthusiastic here and clip too deeply or through the stay stitching:

 Match collar markings to shirt markings and hand baste the collar to the shirt.  Over that place the facings, match the markings, and tack to the shirt and collar pieces.  (refer to your instruction sheet here, because if you haven't done it before, it will seem a little tricky at first):

 This is probably the trickiest stage of the shirt.  Make sure as you stitch that you don't catch the layers in folds - open the garment up and check both the facing side and the collar side to make sure nothing is caught:

 Looks good, if you have caught the shirt in accidentally, just undo that bit and redo it - it might take you a while to master this, but you will.  Sometimes I still catch underlayers when I am sewing.

Now check the collar pieces:

 Before trimming all the layers inside, check the collars are even in length.  Things can move when you sew, or the seam might not be the same.  You don't want one collar point a lot longer than the other one! (see above).

Also check the turn back sections of the shirt/facing - they should also be the same length (I haven't pushed the corners out fully yet) (see below):
Trim the inside layers of facings and collar (refer to your instructions here).

And here is the finished collar and facing:

 The pattern asks you to understitch the collar to hold it to the facing.  I have understitched mine, (if you look closely you will see a row of stitching under the collar, and then a second row of stitching under the collar.  The first row of stitching is the understitching.

I like to top stitch my collar turn backs, but this is my addition.  The pattern just tells you to press the facings.  I also take the top stitching all across the front and back facing as I find these sorts of facings flap out.  But this is what I like to do as I like the sporty look in plain shirts:

The instructions next ask you to tack the facing down at the yoke seam - I don't do this until last, I like to make sure everything is in the right place when everything is right side out.  So I tend to do this job last.   But you can do it now :)

Here is a picture of my finished collar and revers:

 Now sew the side seams.  Here I have stitched the side seams and am getting ready to do a flat fell seam finish again.  You can finish the seam in whatever way you like:

Side seam with flat fell seam ready to sew down:

That's enough for one day.  The shirt is not far off being finished now.  Tomorrow I will show you the sleeves.

But before I go:

SARAH LIZ NOTE:  Often you will find that patterns stipulate that the undercollar be faced.  I do this frequently, especially for jackets, as it gives a firm foundation to the collar.  I have found with broadcloth though, that it looks better done the other way around - broadcloth is a bit wrinkly, and the interfacing out on the collar, matches the interfacing out of the front facing.  I use a good interfacing, so this works.  Some of the cheaper ones really don't look good on the outside, so be careful what you do here.  Always check your interfacing and finish first and have a good look and feel before deciding).

Until tomorrow

Sarah Liz :)


  1. Thank you for this excellent tutorial. I'm going to save it for when I make this style of shirt.

    1. Thank you Sandra - it's a pleasure to be doing this :)

  2. I plan to make a buttondown this is a great series for me.

    1. Glad my timing was good :). Do make a quick muslin first to check the fit and to practice the steps your particular pattern advises.

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. It makes so much sense t fold the collar and it DOES make a difference! I would've never thought to do that. I am currently sewing this shirt.(view c) and I am having trouble with the yoke fitting. I have only sewn one shirt before this so I don't have a lot of experience with shirts. Seems it would be simple but I'm not sure what I've done wrong. When I go to match it up with the collar and neck line it just doesn't fit. It's too small. Do you have any idea what I could be doing wrong?

  4. Hi Mo, I have written a reply to you on my blog post October 201, 2013

  5. I know this is an old blog entry, but just let me say THANK YOU for explaining this pattern step by step. I've had this pattern for years, but just found it in my stack recently and decided to (finally) sew it. I was a little baffled by the collar instructions! But your photos make it very clear what needs to be done. It's one of those projects where everything has been going so well that I just know I'm going to goof it up! Hah, but I might just pull this one off with the help of your excellent instructions. Thanks again!