Instructions for the Layout of a Mandarin Collar

Mandarin collars are often seen on the cheongsam, a type of Chinese woman's dress developed in late-1930s Shanghai, China, in an effort to blend Western and traditional Chinese styles. Mandarin collars, also called Chinese or Nehru collars, can add an element of simple elegance to men's, women's or children's jackets and shirts. The collars are a type of simple band collar, which stands up around the neck and typically does not quite meet at the centre front of the garment.

Measure the combined length of the front and back neckline, determined from front and back pattern pieces. Draw a line on the paper equal to this figure and label it "neckline." Label each end of the neckline "W" and "X."

Use an L-square to measure up from point W to the desired height of the Mandarin collar. Mark with a dot. Label the dot "Y" and center back.

From Y, square a line that runs parallel to the neckline. This is the fold line or top edge of the collar.

From W (center back), measure on neckline to determine where the collar crosses the shoulder seam. Mark this point on the pattern.

Add or subtract length between the shoulder line and the centre front, point X, to determine where you would like your collar to end.


Cut on the fabric grain to make the collar easier to handle. The length of the collar from the shoulder to the centre front allows you to create a collar that meets at the centre, overlaps or ends before the front opening of the garment. Interfacing will help the collar to stand up. Seam allowances can be graded after collar assembly.

Things You'll Need

  • Jacket/shirt pattern or bodice sloper
  • Tape measure
  • Pattern paper
  • Pencil
  • L-square ruler
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About the Author

California-based Lori Hall-Araujo has been publishing articles about culture since 2007. Her work appears in “Museum Anthropology Review” and “Anthropology Today.” Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts in history of religions from The University of Chicago, and is a doctoral candidate in communication and culture at Indiana University.