As neophyl suggested I took a closer look at the correct way to draft a standing collar. A rectangle is far too simple for a comfortable and accurate fit. Finding how to draft the collar on-line was easy but understanding the “why” behind it took some study. I could not find a meaningful explanations about why some dimension where given as constants or small ranges of values - without a reason or justification. The dimensions I am talking about is the amount to raise the draft line at the collar front and back. They are often just given as “constants” everyone should use. But why?
With observation, first we must raise the collar back enough to clear the highest vertebra which is the bump at the back of the neck. Some necklines are drafted with this as a measurement landmark and we want the collar to sit above, not on this point. The “higher” the back and longer the neck, the higher this “constant” needs to be raised.
Second it is easy to understand why a simple rectangle does not work. The human neck is not a cylinder but a conical shape – a larger circumference at the base than higher up. So when a rectangular strip of fabric or paper is wrapped around the neck, as it comes forward it drops lower. If the strip is long enough the ends cross as an “X” in the front. A rectangle will have straight lines but the front neckline is a curve. So we must curve the seam line of the collar up to match the neck line. (If we were matching a “V-neck” the straight lines could match). The amount we need to curve up depends on three factors; the curve of the front neckline (which I raised from the original pattern), the size of the neck, and the slope of the neck “cone”. This is an obvious modification necessary for someone with broad shoulders and well developed back and neck muscles (but not most of us.) So again a range maybe be “given” without any guidance as to how to select your “constant”. However with the muslin it is easy to drape a simple strip around the neck and find the measurement we need to raise the collar seam line at the center front and also approximately how far back along the neckline the curve should start. The curve starting point does seem to be “acknowledged” as the midpoint between the shoulder seam and the center front but other “constants” are also given. Finally in order to have the standing collar front edge be straight vertical, we square the collar edge to the curve at the center front.
The following is my draft. I also added the Barrel Cuff pattern. I have reduced the sleeve ease to narrow down to 12” (for me) at the sleeve hem. This hem circumference is large enough for me to easily slide my cupped hand in and out of the finished sleeve. Also to make the final sleeve length easy to fine-tune, I straighten the final 1” or so of the sleeves to be 12”. This way I can position the cylindrical cuff up and down slightly on a cylindrical sleeve end without needing to match a tapering sleeve. (Print on Legal size 8.5 x 14 inch paper.)
The Working Uniform pattern is produced from my modified S9091 pattern piece copies. The marked-up copy is split into the individual new pattern pieces. The original Front is split into Front Side, Chest, Abdomen, and the front portion of Yoke. The original Back is split into Back Side, Back, and the two partial back portions of Yoke. The original Upper Sleeve (not shown here) is split into Bicep, Elbow Pad, Left Lower Sleeve and Right Lower Sleeve.
The three portions of the Yoke are taped together and the pattern cleaned up. This includes truing the quilt lines and the outline of the Neck Ring for use later. Seam allowances are added where necessary. The grainline is added so the front of the Yoke will match the grainline of the Chest and Abdomen. The original dart from the back will be rotated and replaced by the seam between the back of the Yoke and the Back Side.
Seam allowances must also be added as necessary to the Front Side, Chest, Abdomen, Back Side, and Back. Also to Bicep, Elbow Pad, and both Lower Sleeve elements.
My construction journal continues. Since the Standing Collar was of my own original draft I started there. Cut 2 pieces of fabric. I originally thought I would interface the collar but the fabric I am using is stiff enough for a 1 1/2 inch Standing Collar. Also the Working Uniform needs comfort perhaps more than shape so I am not interfacing the collar. Stitch around the sides and top edges of the collar Right Sides Together (RST). I normally use a 2.5 mm stitch length. However I reduce the stitch length (to 1 mm) around the 90 degree collar front. Also instead of a 90 pivot at the corner point, you will actually get a better defined square corner if you pivot 45 degrees slightly short of the corner, stitch 2-3 short stitches to “cut the corner”, then complete the turn with another 45 degree pivot. Trim and turn the collar Right Side Out (RSO). I then top-stitched the outside collar edge. I also basted outside the collar stitch line to hold the edge together. This makes attachment to the yoke easier. Although I will not continue to repeat it – press everything at EVERY step. I am not a skilled sewer but my work improved greatly once I slowed down and actually took the time to press the pieces, set the stitches, and get each completed step looking as good as possible before moving forward.
Next the Yoke. This Yoke pattern is used to cut a Left and Right Outer Yoke. Having separate pieces allow each to follow the same grainline as the Chest in the front. The grainline of the back of the Yoke does NOT match the Back grainline but much of this difference, if it is noticeable, as well as the rear seam line, will be covered by the Neck Ring. I also made a Full Yoke pattern piece by taping a copy of the Left Yoke and Right Yoke together. I use this piece to cut the quilting batt which does not have a grain and the Inner Yoke which is not visible when the jacket is worn. For the Inner Yoke I match the Back grainline. Cut 3 pieces from fabric – 1 left side, 1 right side and 1 Full Yoke. Use the Full Yoke to cut 2 pieces of batting.
Join the Yoke left and right side along the rear seam line RST to produce a complete outside Yoke. Next clip about 3/8 inch deep into the sewing edge seam allowance of the collar about every 1/2 inch. Pin the collar to the Yoke neckline RST. You will find this task much easier if you realize you can straighten the Yoke neckline into almost a straight line. The bulk of the fabric will bunch-up away from the seam as you pin and sew but as you proceed just keep the Yoke and Collar aligned and remember the point where the pieces join is not the edge but the seam line 5/8 inch inside the edge. This is the line you want the fabric layers to lie smooth as you stitch. Baste the Collar to just the outside Yoke. After basting the pieces you can check to make sure the seam is smooth and the Yoke is not puckered. It is easy to clip and remove a few stitch and re-baste to get things correct.
Then taking the Outside Yoke/Collar piece, match the inside Full Yoke RST and baste them together. More experience sewers may be able to sandwich the collar between the two Yokes and baste them in one step. I take two steps to have better control to match my skill level.
On the inside of the Yoke/Collar sandwich, I trim the collar seam allowance bulk out from between the Yoke allowances. Then turn RSO. At this point some of the construction basting stitches may be visible. Use a seam ripper and tweezers to remove these threads from the inside and outside just to make everything appear neat.
The second muslin taught some new lessons. One was not to cut corners by trying to eliminate the inside Yoke. To work properly the quilting requires fabric on both sides of the batt. Otherwise the thread sinks into the batt and the quilting does not loft. Also it is necessary to increase the thread needle tension to pull the quilting tight to emphasize the loft. The 4 ounce batt I was using was insufficient. Two layers are required. To keep the batts from shifting during construction I basted the two layers together all around the outside edges. I used a 3/4 inch allowance and then used the stitch line to trim off the excess so the batt will be out of the Yoke seam allowance.
Position the doubled batt into the Yoke/Collar assembly. I then baste the outside front edges and back edge to hold the batt into position prior to quilting. Pinning might work just as well to hold the batt but this approach works better to me. Mark the quilt lines on the outside Yoke with chalk. Stitch the quilt line closest to the neck on one side first. You need to manage the two layers of fabric and the batt with the goal of achieving a smooth sandwich and straight quilt line. Starting at the inside allows you to adjust the fabric and batt as necessary prior to each quilt. You then quilt each line moving to the outside. Repeat the process on the other side. Learn from my mistakes. I chalked the quilt lines from my pattern piece. That was fine for the first side but I should have used the actual appearance of the front stitch lines when I chalked the other side. My two side are not balanced at the front. I will see if I can correct this some how. I believe just ripping out one line of quilting will do the trick. Better you do it right the first time. Even my second muslin did not teach me this lesson.
When the Yoke is stitched to the front and back the basting stitches can be removed. The following documents my progress so far.
The mold is for a "unified" version of the sigil as I'm making it as a single patch, but I'll be uploading the mold for the seperate pieces early next year, when I'm back home. I'll also add the correctly mirrored version then.