Many of my sewing projects are born of necessity, in other words they are “needs” instead of “wants”. This is one of those. My dear friend Allison has a job that requires wearing a uniform smock, and recently management decided that staff must wear white collars as well. This is the smock:
She came to me with this dilemma: washing and ironing a half-dozen white shirts every week sounded like no fun. Also she usually wears a sleeveless shell blouse underneath, to stay cool: a full shirt would be too hot. What about making old-fashioned collar dickeys?
Actually they may be making a fashion comeback: check out this one from on-trend London Regent Street COSstores, quite lovely but a bit pricey at $29:
Allison wanted something a bit more feminine than the standard shirt collar, but also open-necked so it wouldn’t be too hot. I got to work drafting a simple design:
This is what I came up with, a basic silhouette that is easily embellished:
This would also work under any vee-neck sweater. If you’d like to make one too, you can download the pattern.
Print and cut out pattern pieces: the Front and Back are in 2 pieces and need to be matched at the stars and taped together:
2. Cut out your fabric (note that outer and lining fabric should be the same, since the lapel is turned out at the neckline):
Front: 2 pieces Left and 2 pieces Right (mirrored)
Back: 2 pieces cut on fold at center-back
Collar: 4 pieces on true bias (mark notch at shoulder-seam point)
3. Pin fronts to backs at shoulder seam, right sides of fabric together, and stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance:
Press shoulder-seams open:
Cut 4 strips of fusible interfacing (13″ long times 1 3/8″ width), place on the inside of fronts (left and right, outside fabric and lining) at button/buttonhole area, trim off curved edge at upper corner, press to fuse:
4. Stitch collar and collar lining Front to Back, right sides together at center-back seam, and press open:
Cut out interfacing: :
Press interfacing to collars to fuse:
5. Pin collar to collar lining right sides together along UN-NOTCHED edges and stitch (side note: I’ve trimmed 1/8″ from the undercollar to help it roll more smoothly):
Trim corners, clip seam-allowance curves, and press open:
Then press flat:
Stitch notched edge; your collar should look like this:
6. Carefully pin collar to neckline, starting at center-back and moving towards each end. This is a bit tricky as you are lining up different curve shapes:
Match up the collar notch to the shoulder seam:
Stitch collar to neckline:
7. Pin dickey lining to dickey , sandwiching the collar in-between:
Stitch entire edge from front hem to front neckline, across neckline and down to other hem, then trim off corners and clip neckline curves:
Flip inside out:
Press, then pin edges together and finish (I use a serger to overlock the edges):
8. Transfer buttonhole markings from pattern to dickey, then stitch buttonholes:
Mark button placements by slipping pins through the buttonholes:
I always tape buttons down and then stitch on by machine using zigzag stitch:
And you are done! Some people like to add an elastic band to the hem, but my friend prefers to safety-pin the dickey to the smock under the collar, so that it can be removed altogether after her work shift.
For variety I made one dickey with trim along the edge, and one with applique lace:
I hope that she likes them! Maybe I’ll list these in my Etsy shop….where my tagline is “sewing what you can’t find at the mall”. Pretty accurate, right?
Which wardrobe “dilemma’s” have you solved by sewing??