THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

January 15, 2010

Pumping Up The Volume of a Flat Collar

From this partly shirred polyester taffeta fabric I made a blouse.

I drafted a princess line blouse with a large wide shawl collar to add some drama.

When the blouse was done and I tried it on I was not happy with the collar design and appearance, to me it appealed too flat . I wanted a more voluminous collar and although the fabric has a bit of volume itself due to the shirring it was not enough to my taste.

I shared my dilemma to my good friend and colleague Neeltje  to change the collar design into a more voluminous collar, and she remembered seeing a voluminous collar  in a pattern magazine “Knipmode” where the outer edge of the collar was flat and a narrow tape separated the ruffled upper collar part from the flat outer edge.

 I used my self drafted collar pattern and made a new one by using a so-called slash and spread method to add some volume.

Flat collar pattern

                                             volume collar pattern

Copied the collar pattern included the in and outer edge seam allowance and added 6 inches (15 cm) in length for a half pattern by slashing and spreading the pattern towards the outer edge only.

I also added 1 cm in width and used a scare ½ cm seam allowance for the outer edge.

 So I had to remove the neckline facing and the upper collar at the neckline.

I kept 1 inch (2,5 cm) wide from the  flat upper collar outer edge intact  and  basted it towards the under collar.

Copied the collar pattern included the in and outer edge seam allowance and added 6 inches (15 cm) in length for a half pattern by slashing and spreading the pattern towards the outer edge only.

I also added 1 cm in width and used a scare ½ cm seam allowance for the outer edge.

Since the outer edge of the upper collar will be flat the upper collar needs to be eased in for the extra length and the volume effect is due to the added width total 1 1/4 inch (3 cm).

Made a test sample from another piece of polyester taffeta fabric.

and made a  new voluminous upper collar.

I stitched the 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide bias tape on both outer edges with the new eased in upper collar lying underneath the tape butted at the flat cut off outer edge and finished the collar and facing as usual.

The bias tape and facings for the front, neckline, sleeve and blouse hem are

made using the same fabric but without the shirring (removed the elastic thread shirring with my seam ripper) because I wanted a smooth fabric for the facings and hems.

detail picture back side elastic shirring:

Facing center front:

                                  facing  hem:

The seams are finished with a three-thread serger and bound with a very lightweight nylon tape.

For a more dramatic way I can wear the blouse with the collar standing up:


I like my pumped up volume collar and it was worth the effort the work involved.

Flat collar versus voluminous collar:



  1. Quite elegant, Els, and perfect for your winter holidays.

    Comment by Mary Beth — January 15, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  2. Looks great, I love the unusual fabric. For those of us not so hot at drafting, BWOF 9/2007 has a similar collar on a zip front blouse (#109 and 110)

    Comment by allisonC — January 15, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

  3. This collar is awesome! Great job modifying your collar. That would scare me.

    Comment by Sandra T — January 16, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  4. Holy Moly – loved the way you solved this problem….you’re right it did need more volume, but love that flat “tape” on the edge – nice detail and it keeps the collar from being so fly-away. Having a thin/bird neck, I’m conversant in collar language, and love what you did her.

    Comment by ClaireOKC — January 16, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  5. Nice! I think I remember that knipmode collar- your version came out wonderfully and it really suits the fabric 🙂

    Comment by wendy — January 16, 2010 @ 8:54 am

  6. Wow! What a difference a bit of volume makes. The new and improved version is divine – sophisticated and dramatic!

    Comment by Shannon — January 16, 2010 @ 9:03 am

  7. The voluminous collar does look much better. Gorgeous and elegant top.

    Comment by Trudy Callan — January 16, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  8. Another example of how attention to detail can take an OK blouse to something quite extraordinary. Thanks for the detailed instructions, too – now you’ve got me wondering what I have in my stash that would be suitable for a collar like this… 🙂

    Comment by ChristineB — January 16, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  9. Els, that blouse is fabulous! What great fabric and a beautiful collar!

    Linda T

    Comment by vernonfashionstudio — January 16, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  10. Wow, what a beautifully dramatic collar! I’m sure it looks very stunning on you.

    Comment by Gigi — January 16, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  11. This would make a wonderful portrait garment. Give it a try?

    Comment by Bunny — January 16, 2010 @ 2:15 pm

  12. Changing the collar was a wonderful improvement, the blouse went from very interesting to Dramatic and Regal. Is this for the theater, or is this for your personal wardrobe?

    Comment by JustGail — January 16, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  13. Love what you did to the collar. Thanks for showing how it was done.

    Comment by Lorelle — January 16, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  14. What a beautiful affect – I love the fabric and the collar. I’m using a similar fabric for the skirt of my daughter’s wedding dress. What a great coat . Your work is terrific.

    Comment by fabricateandmira — January 16, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  15. Love it Els , I am wondering if you had thought of slashing and spreading the neckline edge of the collar and then easing that back into the neckline and so creating the volume that way . I have seen that done on a coat collar which was made out of taffetta and the coat of cashmere . Very delux looking rather Paul Poiret looking. I love the way you did that though The blouse is beautiful Will you wear it with a skirt or pants??

    Comment by marianne — January 17, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  16. wow very cool!!!

    Comment by RaeRae — January 18, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

  17. Els, once again you created an absolutely stunning garment with such delicious details !

    Comment by Pam ~Off The Cuff~ — January 18, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

  18. Much better. The volume adds that extra bit of dimensional interest. I made a jacket last summer from a Patrones that had a similar collar which was larger on top and gathered to a smaller undercollar – very similar to your design.

    Comment by Summerset — January 19, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  19. Ab-fab, Els! I had time to just scan through your post but I will definitley go back and follow what you did in more detail. I LOVE dramatic collars and your changes to the original pattern were ever so wonderful! Beautiful thing.

    Comment by June — February 11, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  20. Now I remember where I saw that neckline recently- on a co-worker’s denim jacket. It caught my eye and I had to examine it close-up to see how it was constructed. Now, thanks to you I can do it, too!

    Comment by June — February 11, 2010 @ 8:50 am

  21. Very nice! Gorgeous fabric.

    Comment by Linda L — February 15, 2010 @ 6:55 am

  22. I am using similar fabric to make a skirt for a wedding dress. How did you handle the seams? SOme of the ruching falls into the seamlines – I’m interested in any advice from you. Thank you

    Comment by fabricateandmira — February 20, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

    • If the shirred fabric is causing too much bulk at the seam you can remove the shirring, but you should make a test first because it can interfere with the fabric length/width due to the shirring.

      Comment by Els — February 22, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  23. This is beautiful and I love the color. Your instructions are exceptional and I will file this for the future.


    Comment by Lacey — March 4, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  24. I love the way it turned out. I have used that same fabric before (in a deeper shade of red) and it’s not the easiest to work with, so great job!

    Comment by Chris — March 4, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  25. That is very, very clever and what a difference it makes. Reminds me of Snow White…

    Comment by Kathleen — April 6, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  26. i like the collar pattern it’s look classic anyway if you can change the color i think it’s perfect

    Comment by Gclub — August 9, 2010 @ 4:19 am

  27. this is just wonderful and its color is so unique than usual…
    and that make its so adorable…

    Comment by labels — November 16, 2010 @ 9:43 am

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