Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Drafting The Mandarin Collar

Today's post was a request from a lovely lady who lives in Sri Lanka. She has really embraced pattern drafting and is so excited about the process. She sent a picture to me of the drop shoulder sleeve that she drafted from my instructions and she did such a wonderful job. I'm really quite excited for her as learning to draft is a very uplifting experience. At least I think it is :)
There are a few methods for drafting a mandarin collar. I am going to share my preferred method.
I began with my trusty Butterick 5678 shirt pattern that I've used to draft a number of collars and sleeves.
Since I am starting with a pattern that has been developed for the attachment of a collar, I will not need to adjust the neckline. If you are starting with a bodice that fits close to the neck, you will need to adjust the neckline. Lower the center back 1/8" to 1/4" and the shoulder at neck edge, the same amount as you lowered center back. The center front should be lowered 1/4" to 1/2". Lower the shoulder at neck edge the same amount as you did the back bodice at the shoulder. The amount that you lower the neckline depends upon how much comfort you would like around the neckline as well as the design of your garment.
I personally like a shaped mandarin collar and I like to cut it on the bias if at all possible. The only time a shaped mandarin collar will not work is if you are using a stripe fabric.
To begin, I marked the 5/8" seam allowance around the neckline of my pattern.
I then measured from center back to the shoulder line along the seamline.
Then measure from the shoulder line to center front. With these 2 measurements we are now ready to draft the collar.
A mandarin collar can be as narrow as 1" or as wide as 1 1/2". The collar may be wider if you wish, but it will have a tendency to hit the chin.
Begin by drawing a vertical line for center back. From the center back line, draw a horizontal line the measurement of the back neck from center back to the shoulder line. Place a notch at this point. Determine the width of your collar and draw another horizontal line from center back.
From the shoulder notch, continue the line to center front. This measurement should be the amount measured from the shoulder line to center front on the neckline of your bodice. To develop the shaped collar, the center front line should be 2". Measure up 1/2" from the lower line and place a notch. At the top edge of the 2" line, measure over 1/2" and place a dot.
 Connect the notch at center front and the dot with a straight line.
 Connect the notch at center front to the shoulder notch with a straight line.
 Find the center between center front and the shoulder notch and place a mark at this point.
 From that mark, measure down 1/8" and place a mark.
 Connect the mark to center front and the shoulder notch with a slightly curved line.
 Using your ruler, measure up from the curved line the width of your collar.
 Now you can see the collar taking shape.
 Draw in the line.
The final pattern. 1/4" seam allowances were added around the entire collar pattern. Since I will be cutting my collar on the bias grainline, the collar is no longer on the fold, but one piece. There are notches for the shoulders and for center back. Cut 1 collar for the top and 1 for the under collar.
Once I have sewn my collar together, I like to edge stitch the under collar between the 2 shoulder notches.
Since I only added 1/4" seam allowances to my collar, I need to adjust the seam allowance on my bodice. I began by marking the 5/8" seam allowance and then measured up 1/4".
 3/8"was cut away from the neckline leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
The final collar. Because the collar was cut on the bias, it sits very nicely around the neck. 
 The collar has a close fit to the neck, but there is still room for movement. 
Now you see just how easy it is to draft a shaped mandarin collar.
Good luck and happy drafting!

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  1. Fabulous, Rhonda. Thank you so much!

  2. Perfect. You always make it look so easy. Thank you.

  3. Your instructions and illustrations are always so easy to follow. I wish I had time to try all of the versions you post. Right now, I'm going to decide on what my 2nd version of B5678 will be. I just love that pattern and I would probably never have purchased it had you not recommended and shared all your variations.

  4. As always your instructions paired with photos make for a great tutorial. I love a mandarin collar and this one is no exception.

  5. Beautiful. The bias makes such a lovely fitting collar.

  6. wow. Thats a very neat perfect fit collar. Thank you very much.

  7. This post is unbelievably timely! It's exactly what I needed to do today. I'll send you a pic of the result. Thanks, Rhonda!

    1. Hi Rhonda - I finished the coat using this tutorial! Thanks again! http://www.poldapop.com/2014/04/a-most-satisfying-refashion.html

  8. Must be my inner Mao, but I love the mandarin collar. Thanks for sharing your drafting method.

    1. It's a wonderful collar, not too over powering, and it gives a finished, yet minimalist look to a garment.

  9. Thanks! I've been having a hard time with collars.. I'm gonna try this out tomorrow, but how did you attack the collar to the bodice? Is it similar to how a waistband would be sewn on?

  10. Thanks Rhonda, this is the most useful tutorial for the Mandarin collar I'v come across.

  11. Thank you, Rhonda. I just drafted a pattern for a tunic for my mom and this was exactly the collar she wanted. Much gratitude for a clear explanation.

    1. Fabulous! I’m so happy that it worked out so well 😊 Hope your mom enjoys her new tunic!

  12. Hi! Do you have the pattern for this readily available? I am struggling so much with this and am running very short on time for a costume.

    1. I’m sorry, but there is no pattern, just the instructions. Every neckline can be just a little different, so it’s best to draft the collar. Is there a question that I can answer and possibly help you?