Constructing and applying a shawl collar

Either you have a made-to-measure pattern or a purchased one, you might need to apply the shawl collar on your coat or jacket. I will explain here the constructing of the shawl collar when you have a back neck facing.

You should know that the shawl collar is formed of two parts: the undercollar, which is an extension of the front bust pattern, and the upper collar (the visible part), which is actually the front facing.

So if you have followed the pattern instructions, you will have the following pieces: the bust with the undercollar and lapels, the front facing with the upper collar, and the back neck facing.


Here are the steps to apply a shawl collar without tears. Arm yourself with patience and follow the instructions carefully.

1. Apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the garment front. Staystitch the entire neck seamline of the garment. Form the shoulder seams and leave the underarm seams open. (figure 1 )


2. Form the center back seam then press open. Right sides together, match and pin undercollar to garment along neck seamline. Clip garment seam allowance if neccessary for collar to fit smoothly. Garment side up, baste and then stitch undercollar to garment. Remove bastings and press seam flat. (figure 2)


3. Take the two front facing pieces and seam them together in the middle back. Press seam open. Clip into both corners. (figure 3)


4. Match and baste the back neck facing to the front facing, clip back neck facing seam allowance where neccessary and spread front facing at corners. Front facing side up, stitch the seam, reinforcing and pivoting at corners. Press seam open. Notch out both corners of the back neck facing seam allowance, whipstitch these edges together. If necessary, apply a seam finish to the outer, unnotched edge of the entire unit. (figure 4)


5. With right sides together, match and baste the front facing unit built at step 4 to the garment front built at step 1. Stitch from center back down to each half. (figure 5)


6. With under collar and garment side up, understitch outer edge of collar and lapels. With facing side up, understitch each edge of garment opening below the lapels. (figure 6)


7. Roll outer edge of collar toward undercollar. Roll edges of garment opening toward facing. Diagonal-baste along edges. (figure 7)


8. Allow collar and the facing unit to fall smoothly into place. Pin through all layers along the roll line and just above the back neck seamline. Lift up back neck facing and, using a plain-stitch tack, stitch facing and garment neck seamlines together as they fell. Remove pins and tack lower edges of facing to garment.(figure 8)


Here is your pretty collar on your even prettier coat. Did you manage to survive? I think you did of course.


10 thoughts on “Constructing and applying a shawl collar”

  1. I see a lot of interesting posts on your website. You have to spend a lot of time writing, i
    know how to save you a lot of time, there is a tool that creates unique, google
    friendly articles in couple of seconds, just type in google
    – laranita’s free content source

  2. Do you have a pattern for the shawl collar coat? I am very interested in making a coat with that particular collar.

    Followed your instructions for lining and found very interesting.


    • Hi Cindy, I wrote a tutorial on how to draft a shawl collar. You can find it under the “pattern” section

  3. found your website when googling”diagonal basting for shawl collar”…I am an advanced beginner and needed help. I am confused by step 4-5…should attached back facing form a curved or an angled seam? the back facing is curved, but the front at 90 degree angles. I know “clip” and “pivot”…but is pivot lifting the presser foot and turning, or “honouring the curve”. I found this step the most confusing. Also, re the diagonal basting, does this ultimately come out? Shawl collars are so popular right now with the younger crowd I know I will have to make more! I will now have to check out your tute . Thnx

    • Agree 100%. Wish step 4 was more detailed..I’m also an advanced beginner. Nice tutorial. But I couldn’t get past step 4.

  4. I have been using your instructions for adapting the neckline of a blouse pattern to an “indoor coat” pieced together from silk scraps and interlined with an old wool blanket. Because it is interlined, I have an upper collar (thank you for the tutorial) and 2 bodices with the under collar alteration (the silk lining and the wool interlining). My problem is that I need to cut off the silk (lining) under collar and attach it to the outside of the wool interlining under collar, Confused yet? Imagine how I feel, lol.
    After one experiment with basting them together to see how it works, I realized that I would have to bag line it in order to get the back and the neck sewed together. Then I realized that since I haven’t cut off the extra collar on the lining, my seams would not line up.
    I am now in the position of determining the line to cut. Is it VA on your tutorial page?
    Sorry if this is not very clear.
    For reference:

    • Never mind. I think I have it. And if not, I am going to very sorry I did not wait for your reply! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.