Ships Ahoy! An easy Sailor Collar Tutorial

Here it is, the two piece sailor collar tutorial! Before we get started i want to say that this is a tying collar! Many of the tutorials i found already published are one piece and do not have to be tied, that is they are sewn and tucked into the neckline. You can choose to either sew this to a garment or keep it detachable - i'll give tips for both!

1) Gather up your materials. You will need:
-basic sewing supplies
-a basic top, a tshirt that fits you well in the shoulder is perfect.
-large sheets of paper for pattern drafting
-1/2 a yard of non stretch fabric, pressed
-light weight interfacing
**optional: small safety pins or broach pins to attach to a detachable collar
-your choice of embellishments - im giving instructions for topstitched ribbons, but you could do buttons, embroidery, applique, anything.

2)Iron your top so it is as flat as it can be, pay extra attention to the collar and shoulder seams. Trace the front and back of your top onto paper, you don't need to trace the whole thing, just down to about bustline, but about 10 inches of space beween the tracing and edge of paper. You'll need it to draw the front tie bit. It should look like this:

3) Now you'll be drawing your pattern pieces, on top of your tracing. Make sure the part where the two pieces will attach (pink arrows) are the same length. The Front tie piece (Piece A) should extend farther than you want it to end, to allow for tying. I made mine end a bit above my belly button so the tied length would be just below bustline.

4) Add seam allowance to the pieces and cut them out.

5) Layout the fabric and trace your patterns: 4 of A, and 2 of B. Lay out the interfacing and trace and additional 2 more of A and 1 of B. Iron the interfacing onto their fabric counterparts, so you have 3 interfaced pieces and 3 plain pieces.

6) Sew the interfaced pieces together at the shoulder seam (pink arrows from picture above!) and press the seam open. You should have the "U" sailor collar shape, so cute! This interfaced one is the one you will be decorating. Repeat for the plain pieces.

7) If you dont want a ribbon border, you can skip this step and go do whatever decorating stuff you would like, or just go to 8 and finish things for a plain collar. Take your interfaced piece and mark out on the right side where your ribbon will go. You can put the ribbon however far away from the edge as you want, but dont forget to account for seam allowance (ex. you made a 1/2" seam allowance and want the ribbon 3/8" away from the finished edge of the collar, then place it 7/8" away from the cut edge) I chose a simple overlap design for my ribbon, some people do corners, whatever floats your boat.

Pin your ribbon in place, and topstitch.

8) Almost there! Place the plain and interfaced pieces right side together, and sew along the allowance, leaving a space along the bottom edge of B to turn about 5" wide. Clip the corners and turn, using a knitting needle ( or some other blunt pokey thing) and your iron to press the edges crisp.

9)If you are attaching this to a garment, your done! Handstitch the un-interfaced underside of the collar to the neckline of a finished dress/top. If you want to make a detachable collar, take your safety/broach pins, and attach them at these points to the collar:

This should keep it from sliding around on your neck since its neckline is pretty big. To tie this you can use a standard tie knot. And thats it! I hope you enjoy your new collar, i know its a little late in the season for them, but at least you have time to make one in every color for next year!

thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about the tutorial feel free to ask!


  1. Thank you! I made one myself some time ago, but yours is nicer :D

  2. Thank you! I like the simplicity of your pattern. Will be using this for my choir.