Alex with Smocked Collar
Updated: Jun 6
Add a touch of smocking and frill to the Alex blouse for this darling look. The following instructions describe how to add the smocked collar. Construct the Alex blouse first according to the pattern instructions. We love to pair this blouse with the Suzie Skirt.
1. Cut collar according to the chart below.
2. Measure the neckline of the blouse from back fold line to back fold line. Add 1” to that measurement. Cut 1 1/8” wide bias neckband the length of this new neckline measurement.
3. (Optional) Fuse a narrow 1 ¼” wide strip of feather weight interfacing to the wrong side of the top edge of the collar strip.
4. Pleat 4 – 5 rows with the first row 1/4” from the top edge of the fabric. This row is a holding row.
5. Remove pleater threads 1/2”from edge of fabric on both ends of collar.
6. Spread pleated fabric out flat and hem both ends and the bottom edge of the collar strip. Press the edges 1/8” to the wrong side. Press again 1/8” and topstitch hem.
7. Measure the blouse neckline from center back to center back. Subtract 1” from the measurement.
8. Tie off top two pleater threads together on one side. Tie off remaining threads. Pin the end of the collar strip that has the tied pleater threads to an ironing board. Measure the collar starting at the hemmed edge and tie the top 2 threads so that the collar neckline matches the measurement from step 7. Fan the rest of the pleated strip into a circle. Pin the other end to the ironing board and tie the remaining threads.
9. Smock starting on the second pleater thread.
10. When smocking is complete, place 1/4” wide Tiger Tape just above the first row of smocking. Place a second row of Tiger Tape above the first, stacking the two and creating a 1/2” seam allowance.
11. Stitch between the tape and the smocking with a shortened stitch length of 1.5mm.
12. Trim any fabric that is above the tape. Remove the tape.
13. Remove all but the top 2 pleater threads and block the collar to neck measurement and into a circle again if necessary.
14. Pin the wrong side collar to the right side of the blouse with the blouse facing folded in place. Start and stop the hemmed end of the collar 1/2” before the center back line.
15. Stitch the collar to the blouse neckline. Stitch just above the first row of smocking. Be very precise when stitching. This will be the line on the wrong side of the blouse that you will follow when stitching the bias band to the collar.
16. Trim the neckline seam allowance to 1/4”.
17. Press one long edge of the neckband 1/4” to the wrong side. Pin the unfolded edge to the neck edge of the blouse with right sides together. Leave 1/4” of the neckband extending beyond the back folded edges and trim any excess fabric. With the wrong side of the blouse facing up, stitch the neckband to the collar following the previous stitching line.
18. Press folded neckband away from blouse (a). Fold neckband in half back toward blouse with right sides together (b). Stitch across short ends of neckband close to the edge of the blouse (c). Trim seam to 1/8”, and turn the band right side out. Whipstitch neckband in place on inside of dress with the fold of the band just covering the stitching line (d).
19. Complete shirt according to the Alex pattern instructions.
Instructions by Susan Whitman
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