How to draw a custom shawl collar

If you read me regularly enough, you’ve probably noticed: the shawl collar is one of my favorites. Feminine, versatile, wrapping, it is ideal for coats. I give you here, step by step, the key to draw the pattern of your own shawl collar. You can add it to your bodice shell or to any other pattern that you do not like the collar.

Roll up your sleeves and grab your pencil, ruler, squares and tracing paper.

1. Expand your neckline with 1.5 to 2 cm on the shoulder line to the point A, on both back and front bodice patterns (Figure 1).


2. Draw the shirt placket 2 to 4 cm from the center front. The width of the shirt placket depends on the size of your buttons. Decide the depth of your neckline, the point V, and trace AV (Figure 2).


3. Extend AV with AB = half-length back neckline (measure the extended backline, huh). Draw the stand of the collar BC = 3 cm, parallel to the shoulder line and join A and C (Figure 3).


4. From point C, draw CD = 6 cm in a right angle with AC. This being the fall of the collar (figure 4).


5. Draw the collar lapel between the point V and the shoulder line. Here, you can vary the shapes and widths. If you managed to survive so far, it would be a shame to restrain your imaginatrion (Figure 5).


6. Fold the paper on the AV line and copy the lapel. You will notice at this point the interest of transparent tracing paper (Figure 6).


7. Unfold your paper, extend the lapel to point D at a right angle (Figure 7). You might need to lengthen or shorten CD.


8. Round the angles in point V. Extend the line VB to CD and mark this point as W. Join V to W by a curved line which passes more or less close to A depending on the fabric thickness. VW is the roll line of the collar. Your front bust pattern is now done (Figure 8).


9. From the shoulder line, draw a parallel line with VW and the shirt placket line. The width of your facing must be wider than the width of your shirt placket with at least 2 cm. Copy the facing pattern (Figure 9).


Place the notches in the points A, V and W and add 1 cm of seam allowance to finished patterns.

I think I have enough stuff here for geometry fans. For you, I have compiled two books “Flat Cutting: Volume 1” of T.Gilewska and “Sewing: make you own patterns” of Jo Barnfield and Andrew Richards.

Soon I will do a tutorial on how to sew and apply this type of collar.


39 thoughts on “How to draw a custom shawl collar”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, lovely Cristina!!! You have saved me hours of pain trying to change a collar on a pattern. I started following you on Pinterest after reading your other helpful tutorials, and I am so glad I did! Thank you for the gift of your time and experience!

  2. Thank you so very much. I have been looking for someone to explain how to sew the shawl collar but I never got a site that did it so simple. God bless you for sharing. I am from Trinidad & Tobago.

  3. I, too, was so happy to see this lovely tutorial. Though not for the faint-hearted, it looks very clear to me. This will help me cut out the next dress with confidence.

    Thank you much!

  4. You lose me at step 3 and 4. I’m not really clear in your explanation on the rise and fall. Can you clarify it further please? I thought you extend the AV line to 1/2 of the back collar measurement and move on to shaping the lapel.

    • I’m not sure of which part I need to clarify, which phrase exactly is unclear? I extend the line AV and shape the lapel from point C.

    • AB is 1/2 of the back neckline, so extend AV with the distance obtained

  5. Thank you for sharing! I have a ready made leather coat that had a fur shawl collar that I would like to replace with a leather shawl collar any suggestions?

  6. Hi tnxs for the tutorial but am confused on how u got the line above A were u have C,B please can u explain and how u draw the back. We’re u said extend Av-Ab and draw the back.

  7. I love this tutorial. Thank you so so much. Keep it up.
    Please do you have a book for beginers as a pdf file link to sujest for me to download?
    I will appreciate you share such file with me in my mail box.

    • Thank you for your warm message. I grab tutorials from everywhere, I cannot say I have only one book to recommend…but maybe I should write a post on some of my learning tools

  8. Thanks for your posts.
    I usually use my knowledge as an engineer in cutting. It’s been great and I do make a living from my passion with sewing, but having these is making cutting become a kidsplay.

  9. Thank you so much….was just waiting to know how to do shawl collar pattern.

  10. how would you do the collar if it attached to a longsleeve pattern? can i just follow your tutorial ?

  11. I really enjoyed your learning from your pattern drafts. Please can I have your email address so that i can talk you directly especially if i want to ask questions. Thank you.

    • you can write me by clicking on the envelope icon from by website

  12. At long last, my dream is realised. Thank you very much .

    But, what is the total length , from C to D thorugh W?

  13. Thank you for clear these directions. Now, back to the drawing board. Several projects now proceed, Smoking jacket, Banyans, Dressing gowns, Waistcoats.

  14. Please help! do you draft the pattern piece and then ad seam allowance? Or do you draft the pattern with seam allowance included as you go? I can’t find any information on the seam allowance. Tess

  15. Thank you so much for your crystal clear explanation , you’ve made my day . I am going to use your tips right away . Happy new year from Mustapha .

    • hello mustapha and enjoy your sewing. your message also made my day

  16. Thanks for the detailed explanation. I’ve done the front piece and want to try it in muslin first but in the next set of instructions you have another piece called undercollar. Where does this come from and how does one draft it?

    • Hello Melisende, the undercollar for the shawl collar is actually part of the front bust pattern

  17. Hello Christina, heartfelt thanks for your wonderful, wonderful clear tutorials. I am what you might call entirely self-taught, and I have got the courage to make some things entirely due to your instructions. I would specially like to mention that I so LOVE your sense of humour! It shines through your words, I can almost hear you and find myself smiling as I read through…it makes the learning all the more fun! Truly appreciate your generosity in sharing this wealth of knowledge.

  18. Thankyou, the diagrams and explanation helped me understand how the pieces fit together.
    Do you have a video of sewing the collar on to a dress.

    • hello susan, I decided not to make videos, I am a little bit old school and very attached to writing and drawing, but I guess you can find videos on the subject.

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