Sewing techniques

How to sew the collar of a denim jacket.

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The vast majority of denim jackets have a collar that is constructed in a very similar manner and this post hopes to inspire and simplify this process so you too can also sew these wardrobe staples. I have made this style of jacket many times and recently with two different brands of patterns. I also own a few more I haven’t sewn yet, so have access to all the information about them.

I will be discussing the similarities and differences the patterns might have in comparison to one another, but at the end of the day, the construction will have many many similar aspects. If you learn how to sew this technique, you will be able to sew other patterns with confidence, knowing that the differences aren’t going to affect the method greatly.

I will be mentioning the Atenas Jacket from Itch to Stitch (I have made three of these), the Stacie Jean Jacket by Style Arc (I have made two of these) and the Audrey by Seamwork (Not sewn yet, but I have the pattern).

Atenas denim jacket by Itch to Stitch
Stacie Jean Jacket Style Arc
Sleeveless hack of the Stacie Jean Jacket Style Arc

Patterns might differ in the following aspects:

Seam Allowance It’s clearly stated in the instructions and it may or not be the same as the seam allowance used for the construction of the whole jacket. Sometimes, the seam allowance is 5/8″ and the collar is also constructed with the same seam allowance. In this case, it’s unfortunate as this large seam allowance makes precision more difficult. An example where this occurs is the Audrey by Seamwork.

Some brands change the seam allowance for different areas of the construction and may use a smaller seam allowance for the collar and neckline, such as 1/4″. An example of this case is the Stacie Jean Jacket from Style Arc. A smaller seam allowance will facilitate precision and making the collar conform to the neckline curve of the jacket .

Under-collar: This pattern piece may be required to be cut on the bias with a center seam (Atenas denim jacket by Itch to Stitch). In other patterns it will be cut traditionally on the grain-line and on the fold (Stacie Jean Jacket from Style Arc) . In both of these patterns, the under-collar will be slightly smaller than the upper collar and not interfaced. Some patterns have the same pattern piece cut twice and on the fold. They will obviously be the same size. This is the case for the Audrey by Seamwork.

Facings: These may be integrated into the front yoke and main center front pattern pieces with the instruction to interface this area and fold under. This is the case with the Atenas jacket and the Audrey jacket. In my opinion, this approach simplifies construction.

Other patterns may have separate interfaced facing pieces that will be sewn to the center of the jacket and then folded under. This is the case with the Stacie jean jacket. This approach will be lengthier but provide more structure.

Atenas denim Jacket by Itch to Stitch

They will be similar in these aspects:

  • The neckline will have notches to reference where the collar will reach on both sides in the center front
  • The neckline needs to be stay stitched in the early stages of the construction of the jacket. This will prevent it stretching and not matching the length of the collar.
  • The upper collar will be interfaced.
  • The upper and under collar will sewn together (with differing seam allowances as per the pattern you are sewing). While sewing them together, the under collar may need to be eased into the slightly larger upper collar, if the pattern is drafted in this manner.
  • The seam allowances need to be trimmed (graded), more or less, depending on the original seam allowance.
  • The collar will have notches to match the center back and the shoulder seams.
  • The under-collar is sewn to the neckline, while the upper collar’s seam allowance is folded under
  • After the under-collar has been sewn to the neckline and the facing folded right side out, the seam allowance will be snipped and tucked under the folded seam allowance of the upper-collar. This is the step that requires the most precision.

I know all the previous points might cause confusion as they are only words and a large majority of you (me included) will be able to understand these points better when they are “seen”, rather than “read”.

Atenas denim jacket with a sleeveles hack

I have filmed step by step of the construction of the collar of the Atenas denim jacket from Itch to Stitch patterns. I made this jacket three times last year and while I was sewing the third one, I decided to film it all for you. All the aspects I have mentioned above will make sense, I promise.

Source: Itch to Stitch Website

Above you can see the line art of the jacket. This particular pattern has these characteristics:

  • The seam allowance is 1/2″ for the construction of the entirety of the pattern, including the collar.
  • The under-collar is cut on the bias and with a center seam.
  • The center facings are integrated into the front yoke and jacket pattern pieces.

Let’s hop into the step by step video.

I really do think this is an area of the project that needs to be sewn in a calm manner, taking our time to be precise and neat. It is a very visible are of the garment and it deserves a bit more attention. The results are very satisfying 🙂

A neat collar for my classic denim jacket
My flowery Atenas denim jacket
A peak of the undercollar of my sleeveless hack Atenas jacket

In regards to the Atenas denim jacket, you can find a full pattern review and sewing footage of the construction of the main body of the jacket my video here. There you can see the two versions I made as a pattern tester and the fit of my muslin. This pattern has a two piece sleeve with a vent, cuffs and buttons. Very interesting construction. I also have a video all about the construction of these fun sleeves you can watch here. Combining these three videos, you can make this and any other denim jacket because the concepts will be similar.

I hope this post was helpful for your future denim jacket sewing en-devours!

I will have another blog post discussing how this whole process can be simplified. It really can be more simple, I promise. For now, I have focused on the traditional process.

DISCLAIMER: I was provided the PDF pattern without cost, as a pattern tester, in exchange for sewing a muslin, providing feedback on instructions and fit. I Purchased my own fabric for these projects.

I have affiliate links in this post to the Atenas jacket from Itch to stitch. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.


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