A shawl collar is a rolled, turned-down collar that drapes around the neck down to the front of a garment, typically forming a V shape. If you have watched Skyfall or the Quantum of Solace, the James Bond movies, you would have seen Daniel Craig wearing his tuxedo with the collar that looks like a shawl – The collar and lapel form one seamless piece, making it instantly clear why it’s called a ‘shawl’ collar.
It’s often seen on robes, sweaters, coats, and, of course, tuxedos. The shawl collar has been a part of men’s formal wear since the late 19th century. It may be inspired from the Victorian smoking jacket. The V-shape of the shawl collar elongates the neck and adds a slimming effect. The turned-down portion adds interest and texture. And it is a more casual look than a formal peak lapel one.
In this article I will cover:
- Different types of shawl collars
- Single-Breasted vs Double-Breasted
- Deep Shawl vs Shallow Shawl
- Same fabric vs Contrast fabrics
- Shawl collars with edge binding
- Angled shawl collars and straight ones
- Woman’s blouses and robes
- How to sew a Shawl collar – tutorial
- Draft the pattern for a shawl collar
- Step 1. Cut out a back bodice
- Step 2. Mark the front bodice
- Step 3. Mark the front bodice with the shawl collar
- Step 4. Cut out the facing for the shawl collar.
- Sewing the shawl collar
Different types of shawl collars
Single-Breasted vs Double-Breasted
A single-breasted shawl collar means the garment has one column of buttons that fasten to a single row of buttonholes.
Double-breasted refers to garments with two columns of buttons and two rows of buttonholes. This is more formal than single breasted shawl collar.
Deep Shawl vs Shallow Shawl
A deep shawl collar has a more pronounced, wider roll; It may or maynot extend farther down the chest than the narrower shawl collar.
Same fabric vs Contrast fabrics
The shawl collar maybe made from the same fabric as the rest of the garment, or you may want it to be of a different fabric with a different texture or color, setting it apart from the rest of the garment. Usually, satin fabric is used to make the collar, and this gives it a nice contrast with the suit fabric.
Shawl collars with edge binding
A contrast edge binding is used along the edge of the shawl collar providing drama.
Angled shawl collars and straight ones
The angled shawl collars are cut at an angle, giving it a wider look but straight collars, go straight down forming a V shape.
Woman’s blouses and robes
Wool coats with a faux fur shawl collar, cardigans with this collar made of self-fabric and, bathrobes with shawl collar, and also some blouses with these collars – these are the ones that I have seen of this collar on woman’s clothes.
How to sew a Shawl collar – tutorial
Shawl collar may look complicated but it is a very easy collar to sew. You can test this on a muslin bodice and decide on this yourself.
Draft the pattern for a shawl collar
Step 1. Cut out a back bodice
The back bodice is cut as per your normal measurement. Checkout this post on making a bodice.
Mark the back neckline with 1 inch depth.
Measure the length of the back neckline (A -B).
Step 2. Mark the front bodice
The front bodice consists of two parts- as the bodice with the shawl collar has a front opening.
As the shawl collar is cut as one with the bodice, you will have to mark the front bodice on a piece of paper, mark the extra of the collar, and then cut it out of the fabric.
Take the pattern of the regular front bodice. Place it over a paper, which is bigger than the bodice all around.
Mark the pattern on this new paper beneath the original pattern.
Step 3. Mark the front bodice with the shawl collar
Step 1. Mark the center front depth. I have taken 14 inch from the shoulder point, for a jacket; For tops and blouses this can be as much as 7 inches and upwards – connect from shoulder point (point E to point B) with this length – you will get a V shape.
Step 2. Mark the center front line on the new paper, 1 1/2 inches away from the center front of your pattern.
Step 3. From point E mark up a line that is 1/2 of the back neckline (A-B of the back bodice)
Step 4. Mark 1/2 inch outside from D. Then mark 3.5 inch straight across from D.
Step 5. Mark collar curve from C down to the point B.
Step 6. Cut out the new pattern.
Cut this out – this is your front pattern for one side. You need to cut 2 of these (mirrored) with this pattern from your fabric. For this, fold your fabric by the middle, right sides to the inside. Mark the new front pattern on this 2 layers of fabric. Cut it out. You get 2 mirrored fabric pieces.
Step 4. Cut out the facing for the shawl collar.
Place the front pattern on another piece of paper. Trace the collar on to the paper. Cut it out
Cut out the facing from the fabric.
Sewing the shawl collar
Step 5. Join the extended neck part of the two sides of the front bodices.
This is how it would look.
Step 6. Join the shoulder of the back and the front , and also the extended part of the front bodice is to be sewn to the back of the back neckline. This stitching is done in one go.
You get your bodice looking like this.
Step 7. Join the facing for the collar pieces together at the short edges.
You get this long piece. Finish the edge of the collar facing.
Step 8. Now join the collar facing piece to the front and neckline of your bodice.
Keep the facing right side down on the right side up bodice edge.
Sew them together.
Clip the seam allowance at this point.
Now turn the facing to the back and hand sew the edges in place. Ensure that the seam allowance is inside the facing at the back neckline as you hand sew.
Turn the shawl collar by half, to the outside.