Shawl collar styles & How to sew one

Learn about different styles of shawl collars—what they look like, what garments they're used in and step-by-step guide on how to sew a shawl collar
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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.

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.

black and white shawl collar

Deep Shawl vs Shallow Shawl

narrow and broad shawl collar

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 collar made with same fabric or contrasting colored fabric

Shawl collars with edge binding

A contrast edge binding is used along the edge of the shawl collar providing drama.

shawl lapel with edge binding

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.

shawl collar on womans clothing

How to sew a Shawl collar – tutorial

the shawl collar sewing 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.

the back 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.

the front bodice for drawing the shawl collar pattern

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.

shawl collar pattern

Step 5. Mark collar curve from C down to the point B.

the shawl collar

Step 6. Cut out the new pattern.

pattern for the shawl collar bodice

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.

the front bodice

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

draw the outline of the shawl collar facing

Cut out the facing from the fabric.

the facing pieces for the shawl collar

Sewing the shawl collar

Step 5. Join the extended neck part of the two sides of the front bodices.

the stitching line for joining the front bodice pieces
the front bodice pieces joined

This is how it would look.

join the front bodice

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.

joining the front bodice to the back

You get your bodice looking like this.

the front bodice joined to the back

Step 7. Join the facing for the collar pieces together at the short edges.

join the facing together

You get this long piece. Finish the edge of the collar facing.

finish the edge of the shawl collar facing

Step 8. Now join the collar facing piece to the front and neckline of your bodice.

join the collar facing to the edge of the 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.

hand sew the edges

Turn the shawl collar by half, to the outside.

Related posts : Sewing method for a shirt collar ; How to sew a chinese collar on your dress; Sewing a polo collar

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

1 thought on “Shawl collar styles & How to sew one”

  1. I suggest that you colour the right side of the fabric differently from the wrong side, and the collar a different colour altogether, but a clear demonstration !

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