Lace collars – in all shapes and sizes – are a nice fashion accessory. Top a navy handkerchief linen dress with an oversized collar of white battenburg lace; add a smaller all-over lace collar to a sweater, or finish a classic English schooldress with a lace-trimmed white pique collar and bow.
Whatever your choice, lace collars are fun and easy to make. The basic collars are cut single thickness. There’s no turning and pressing and, therefore, little room for error. If you like a “quick and dirty” project, choose a purchased trim or lace applique. Or, if you enjoy machine embroidery, cutwork and the like, but have little time, a collar is a perfect project. Because collars are small, even tedious, time-consuming stitchery will go quickly.
Here’s how to how to make a lace collar of your own design:
Use a collar piece from a blouse or dress pattern. Cut collar single thickness from an all-over lace or lightweight fabric such as linen, pique, eyelet or voile. Finish the edge of a lace collar with a 1/4 to 1/2-inch-wide flat lace trim. Place trim on right side of collar edge, securing with pins or glue stick. Clip between motifs if necessary so that trim lies smoothly along collar edge. Secure trim with small zigzag stitching. Finish the edge of a woven collar such as linen or pique with one of the decorative satin stitches found on most sewing machines today.
Though all-purpose thread will work, a finer thread especially for machine embroidery produces the best results. Use machine embroidery thread in the needle and all-purpose thread in the bobbin. Place a layer of stabilizer under stitching, next to machine bed. Don’t skip the stabilizer as it keeps stitching smooth and pucker-free. Experiment with stitch width and tension settings on a scrap before stitching the collar.
Align machine foot with fabric edge so that satin stitches fall about 1/4 inch from edge. Stitch along entire collar edge, then pull away stabilizer.
The most important step: Apply a sealant to the wrong side of satin stitching for a clean, crisp edge once fabric is trimmed. Trim away fabric close to satin stitching, using small, sharp embroidery scissors.
Options: Lace appliques can be purchased singly or consider a wide lace trim used in bridal wear. While one yard of trim might cost a lot, a 3-inch piece might affordably yield a small motif perfect for a collar.
Secure applique to collar with zigzag stitching. Cut away fabric under applique and seal edges with Fray Check. Finish remaining collar edge with narrow lace trim or satin stitching. Collars needn’t be limited to laces, trims and fabrics available by the yard. Antique linens as well as new linens are possibilities. Cut a collar from the end of an antique dresser scarf, for example, or consider a lace-trimmed napkin or placemat.
Once collar edges are finished/trimmed, lap center fronts about 1/4 inch. Cut a 17-inch strip of single-fold bias tape. Place open edge of tape on collar edge, right sides together, leaving an extra 1/2 inch for finishing end. With tape next to needle, stitch tape to collar, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
Stretch tape slightly while stitching. Clip collar only, not tape, on curves. Fold ends to inside and smooth tape over raw edges and pin. Secure tape with topstitching, stitching close to tape edge. Fold bound edge to underside of collar. Sew a hook and thread loop to tape ends.