Sunday, 23 May 2021

Simplicity 8243 - the blouse collar

Here, as promised, are my notes on how to turn the very pointy collar points of Simplicity 8243. The approach I used is a little more complicated than just using something sharp to push them through, but there's no risk of accidentally pushing the scissors/bodkin through the fabric and making a hole.

The blouse collar has a very sharp point

Unfortunately, I can't remember where I came across this method, so I can't give credit where it's due. If I ever find it again, I'll be sure to update this post with the details.

I forgot to take any photos of the process as I was making the blouse, so for the purposes of this tutorial I made a mock-up of just the collar point. I've made no attempt to compensate for turn of cloth, and I've used contrast thread to make it more visible. If you've never used this method, you might want to make a similar mock-up to try it out before working on the real thing. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

First, mark where the stitching needs to pivot at the collar point.

Seam allowances marked with Frixion pen

Next, sew the seam and stop one stitch before the pivot point, with the needle down. Raise the presser foot.

The needle positioned one stitch before the point

Cut a length of thread in a contrast colour, approx. 20cm/8" long. This should be proper sewing thread (G├╝termann, Drima etc.), not soft basting thread, as it needs to be strong. I've used red, and will refer to this as the 'red thread' from now on. Lay the red thread between the two layers of fabric, at right angles to the stitching line, and pull it straight and back slightly so that it is right up against the needle. The two ends either side of the needle should be of equal length.

The red thread pulled up against the needle

Lower the foot, and take a single stitch, ending with the needle down.

Raise the foot, and pivot the fabric ready to sew the next part of the collar. With the foot still up, take the left end of the red thread, and carefully bring it round the back of the needle so that it ends up lying parallel with the right end, still between the two layers of the collar. Make sure not to pull on the right end in the process.

The left end of the red thread (top) moved round to join the right end (bottom)

Take both ends of the red thread, and tuck them inside the collar, pulled taut and lying against the machine sewing you have just completed. You may need to temporarily unpin a section of the next part of the seam to do this. In the next picture, I have folded back the top layer of the mock-up to show the red thread, but it should be lying further to the left. It's important that it's out of the way of the next line of machine stitching.

The red thread positioned inside the collar

Once the red thread is in place, repin the seam and continue to sew the collar. The red thread has now formed a loop around the stitch at the point of the collar. Repeat the process on the other collar point.

The mock-up stitching complete, with the red thread just visible

Press the seam, then trim and grade the seam allowances. Taper the seam allowance to almost nothing at the collar point. Snip the curves.

Seam allowances trimmed etc.

Turn the collar right side out, leaving the points to last.

Turning the collar out

Take hold of both ends of the red thread, and gently but firmly pull on them. This will pull the point out.

After pulling on the red thread ends

To remove the red thread, simply pull on one end.

The red thread is easily removed

Press the collar, and admire your pointy points!

The real life collar

As ever, if you have any questions please get in touch via the comments, and I'll do my best to help.


  1. A great tip. I've read about "the thread" before, but not actually how to do it. Thank you!