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How to make a sailor collar shirt

Updated April 17, 2017

A sailor collar has a deep v-neck in the front with no stand and a square back. The look is modelled on traditional sailor's uniforms, but has been adopted by fashionistas following the nautical trend as well as fans of Sailor Moon, the popular anime cartoon. To make a professional sailor collar shirt, you needs basic sewing skills. A more simple version of the collar for a one-time-wear costume, can be made by simply cutting and tying the material.

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  1. Lay out your newspaper and draw the shape of your collar onto it. The shape will be a three-sided rectangle with a deep "U" shape cutting into the rectangle on the fourth side. Measure your shoulder width and make sure the rectangle is as wide as your shoulders. The length depends on how low your V-neck will go and how low you want the collar to hang on your back. For evenness, fold the paper in half and trace half of the pattern, then cut both sides out together.

  2. Spread your material evenly on a table. The material is ideally cotton that will lay flatly and not drape over your back. Choose any colour you like, although navy blue and white are traditional for sailor costumes. Place the newspaper pattern over the material. Trace and cut two matching pieces.

  3. Decorate the piece you will choose to be your top with the ribbon. Sew the ribbon on or use adhesive no-sew ribbon to provide sailor-like embellishments along the outside corners of the collar.

  4. Pin the pieces exactly together, right sides facing in. Place your pins approximately 5 cm (2 inches) apart and facing in the same direction, making it easier to pull them out as you sew along the shape.

  5. Thread your sewing machine with matching thread and place the pinned material under it. Sew the three straight sides of the collar, being sure to make perfect 90 degree angles at the corners. Trim excess thread and material, and turn it right-side-out.

  6. Press the corners of the collar into perfect points with the tips of the scissors. Iron the collar carefully.

  7. Attach the collar to the shirt by pinning the long, curved end to the raw collar of your shirt. Pin both the lining and the outside, and be sure to pin it outside-facing-in, so that the collar can be flipped out and over the shirt with the seam hidden beneath. If the shirt does not have a raw collar, feel free to cut one, being sure to measure first the length of the curved end of the collar before drawing cut lines on. If the collar will be used for multiple shirts, simply sew the open curved end of the collar closed, tie the pointed ends together, and drape it over the shirt. It can be attached to a higher neck shirt with simple button-like seams 7.5 cm (3 inches) apart around the curved end.

  8. Warning

    Avoid ironing the ribbon part of your collar if you are not sure if it is safe to iron.

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Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Material
  • Pins
  • Ribbon
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Shirt

About the Author

Erin Griffith has covered finance, private equity and mergers and acquisitions since 2005. She has served as a senior reporter for peHUB, a Reuters subsidiary, associate editor for "Buyouts" magazine and reporter for Mergermarket, dealReporter and Ft.com, a Financial Times Group subsidiary. Griffith has a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a certificate in women's studies from Ohio University.

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