Free Pattern,  How To,  Sewing Tips,  Tutorials

Free Pattern: Wing-Collar Shirt Dickey

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.

To open it,  you will need the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader program.  If you don’t have it, you can download it for free here:

Then open the pattern:  right-click on this link, then open in new tab:


You can then either download or print by clicking on this tab in the upper right corner:

print download

(Pinterest link for saving:


Here are instructions to make the dickey:

  1. 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??





  • JustGail

    I remember wearing these decades ago, but my memory was of them ending up twisted or bunched up somehow. Also, they often came with matching cuffs to shove up the sweater sleeve. I don’t recall them having any way to fasten them in place, which probably didn’t help, in combination with normal childhood fidgeting.

    Anyway, these look like a great way to practice making collars in different styles to see what you look best in. At least if you don’t like a collar, you haven’t made up the whole shirt.

    My delimma is finding RTW in tall AND plus size. Apparently tall women don’t get heavy, or heavy women are short, according to manufacturers. And what little does exist is often plain fabrics, or only a part of an outfit 🙁

  • Paloverde

    Hard (although not impossible) to obtain are pettipants. I’ve worn them since I was a teenager and find them exceedingly comfortable and useful. I’m often headed off to folk dance in the evenings and have no worries when turning and twirling if I’m wearing pettipants. I like the type that are closer to a divided skirt than to pants liners. One of these days I’ll pull out my vintage pattern to make up, or maybe I’ll copy a worn out pair.

  • [email protected]

    Oh wow, you’ve read my mind!! I was thinking of pettipants this summer….I love wearing summer dresses but my thighs prefer shorts. I searched for vintage patterns on-line and bought a few that I want to use, either in cotton batiste or jersey. You can purchase pettipants through Amazon, but the reviews say the fit isn’t great….and that’s the beauty of sewing, we can get the fight just so.

  • [email protected]

    Totally agree about the twisting and bunching….some dickeys I’ve seen have side-ties or elastic, which would help. My friend is pinning them inside the smock collar, so I’ll check with her to find out if they are laying flat. Ahhhh the RTW business is frustrating: shops have miles and miles of size 8 and 10, drafted for the 5’6″ figure. That customer doesn’t need new clothes, she has her pick! It would be nice if they’d remember the rest of us in the “real world”. You’d think they would welcome the business!

  • Marian Hillyer

    Pattern looks exactly what I`ve been looking for. However…when I downloaded only the grain lines and roll lines shwed on the printout. Any idea why that is?Your instructions are very good for assembling. I so want to make a few!

  • Marian Hillyer

    Hi ..Marian H. back again. Simple solution to my problem. I was ou

    low on black ink.Replaced cartridge,printed and now ready to sew. Thank you for the pattern/instructions.

  • [email protected]

    Hi Marian! This happens to me all the time. Patterns print out only in parts. My husband says it’s because I refilled the printer with cheap generic ink. I think it’s because the computer and printer are not communicating. I find the best solution is to turn off both computer and printer, let them take a little nap, and then start over again. Usually this makes them more cooperative!

  • K Cz

    This dickey pattern went together so well. Thanks for sharing it. I am making it 2 inches wider at the shoulder to accompany my “mature” figure. This is a keeper. Again, thanks!

  • Mara

    Finally! Not just a great Dickie pattern but wonderfully clear instruction on how to sew one – thank you, thank you!!

    To keep mine in place and without adding any ‘lines’ that may show under a lighter weight top, I’ve used 1/2″ clear elastic on both sides, 2″ from the bottom, joining the front piece to the back.

    Thank you again for your kindness and generosity in sharing this pattern with us!

  • Alison

    Thank you thank you! Awesome tutorial and pattern. I am wardrobe mistress for my local community theatre and am always looking for ways to get maximum variety in our costumes, with minimal outlay. I shall now be making lacy and ruffled and pintucked and plain dickeys with a variety of collars to cover a hundred-odd years of fashion trends. So very grateful for well-made free patterns!

    I was always tempted to make some of these for my highschool uniform – my sister’s old shirts didn’t fit and thin polycotton was horrid in winter, it was so tempting to be secretly wearing a fleecy shirt that looked like uniform under the jumper. Never did it. Wish I had. Make one today for the tortured student in your life! 🙂

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