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Jul 24, 2016

Drafting My First Notched Collar

You probably know what a notched collar is, but if you don't, the illustration above should make it clear.

For our final project in my patternmaking class at FIT (which ends Tuesday), we have to make a jacket with a notched collar that we draft ourselves.  We learned how to draft one in last Wednesday's class.

I've sewn notched collars before but never drafted one.  There are a lot of pieces involved: facings, undercollar, top collar, etc.  Our final jacket has to have either a dolman sleeve or a "creative" gusset.  I had originally opted for the dolman sleeve, which seemed more straightforward, but I changed my mind and have gone with the creative gusset.  A jacket with a creative gusset has no side seam, but rather a side panel beneath the armhole that borrows a little width from the front and the back.  (It's like a traditional armhole gusset only it's wider and incorporates style lines.)  Mine is designed using my tent foundation, the same sloper I used for my dropped shoulder project from earlier in the month (the one with the blue ruffles).

A number of you asked why we had to choose between the dolman and the gusset and it's simply part of our syllabus: these are a few of the styles we have to learn and we learn by incorporating them into our projects.  Since this is also the final project, in addition to the jacket we also must make pants.  As I  mentioned in an earlier post, we make these garments out of cotton muslin and solid black cotton or cotton blend, and we only make the right side of the garment.

My final project is turning out very different from what I'd sketched last week.  My gusset design curves deeply into my jacket back and front.  I opted to do the body of the jacket in muslin and not to color block the gusset, which felt too predictable; I think the seams are more elegant done in all one color.  I decided that the drama of the jacket would be the notched collar itself.  Here's what I designed:

I liked this slightly abstract scallop (or leaf) shape (incorporating lapel and collar) but wasn't sure I could sew it with good results, so I experimented sewing round shapes right-sides together and turning them right-side out.  I interfaced my black cotton sateen (repurposed from Cathy's little black dress of so many years ago.) with black tricot interfacing.  I sewed these samples on my Bernina 930.

I worked at school on Thursday and Friday in the classroom, which is so much better than working in my living room -- I don't have to get down on my hands and knees!  I drafted my pattern pieces, tracing using my original draft with yellow carbon paper and adding seam allowances.  Every pattern piece must be labeled, notched, include grain lines, etc.

I finished my jacket today.  My lapel and collar really pop.  

Below, you can see the semi-circular shape of my gusset.  Can you see that the jacket has no side seam?

I'll finish my pants tomorrow.  They're going to be Bermuda length shorts with a very full inverted pleat in front and a wide black sateen waistband suggestive of a cummerbund.  The shorts have a side slant pocket.  Rather than draft the pocket from scratch, I used the pocket pattern pieces from one of the skirts I made in tailoring class.  Hey, it's just a pocket.

This is the sort of look I'm envisioning only with a wider, shaped waistband.

And that's it.  I have a lot of things to finish before Tuesday, but tomorrow's class is devoted to just working on our projects, thankfully.  I'll post again when it's all behind me.  Can't wait to see what other people come up with.

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. The organic shape of the scallops is so evocative. I love it! I'm really enjoying following your work in your classes.

  2. You are strong! Your work is great! I like them. :)

  3. I'm following your posts with great excitement

  4. That collar is a showstopper. I hope you make the other side when you have time.

  5. Next Stop: Project Runway!! Is that show still on????

  6. Well now, THAT's a blog post title sure to reel me in! Great job Peter! Isn't pattern drafting fun? You are speeding along!!

  7. The collar is absolutely stunning! You're doing such amazing work drafting patterns, it's really inspiring me to want to take a class sometime!

  8. I have never heard the term creative gusset before and now I know that that the Hot Patterns Montperlier dress I am making has a creative gusset! Very cool. The collar is fun and interesting. Good luck

  9. Looks great. I like the shape you chose rather than the more regular scalloped design. That's one elegant muslin!

  10. I LOVE it!! Great work, your instructor must adore you!

  11. This is looking very promising.

  12. Cathy is so generous and loving, I've always seen her as a "giver", and this just cements perceptions with reality.

    1. Plus she always found the armhole facings to be too stiff anyway.


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