How to Make a Shawl Collar

The shawl collar is an extension of the lapel.
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The shawl collar can be found on both men’s and women’s garments, from tailored jackets to blouses. An extension of the garment’s lapel, the broad collar usually rolls softly away from the neck, which extends down the front of the garment. Also referred to as a rolled collar, the structure of the shawl is reliant on proper interfacing, according to the book “Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket.” Sandwiching interfacing in between the upper and lower collars helps the classic shawl to maintain its structural integrity.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • 2 Yards Fabric
  • Pattern
  • 1 Yard Interfacing
  • Pin
  • Iron

Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise, with the finished side of the fabric touching each other. Place the back of the garment along the fold and the front next to the selvage (the fabric’s finished edge). Next, arrange the bottom or underside of the collar parallel to the selvage. Pin the patterns down before cutting them out with a pair of scissors.

Lay out the interfacing fabric and fold it lengthwise so that the finished edges are together. Place the interfacing pattern piece along the selvage, before pinning and cutting it out.

Pin the front and back of the garment along the shoulder and side seams. Sew these seams one-half inch away from the edge. Secure the interfacing to the front of the garment, laying it along the wrong side of the fabric. Line up the interfacing and pin it along the lapel’s edge. Then, pin the top of the collar, along with interfacing, at the back seam, before sewing them one-half inch away from the edge.

Place the two front facings together with the right side of the fabric touching. Pin the garment along the back seam and sew the two pieces together, one-half inch away from the fabric’s edge.

Position the bottom collar over the top collar — with the right side of the fabrics touching —and pin collar together along the periphery. As a result the garment’s top collar (which is also the lapel) should be sandwiched between the interfacing and the bottom collar.

Sew the around the perimeter of the shawl collar, through the three layers of fabric, about one-quarter inch away from the fabric’s edge. Flip the collar inside out, so that the bottom collar, which was on top, is covering the interfacing. The seam allowance should be inside the collar. Iron the collar, slightly rolling the top edge of the collar over to the bottom, which will help conceal the seam.

Finish the collar by sewing it to the garment’s back neckline. Start by folding the bottom edge of the top collar under one-quarter inch, pinning it to the front of the back neckline. Next, fold the same edge of the bottom collar under one-quarter inch and pin it to the back of the neckline. As a result the neckline should be sandwiched in between the two folded collar pieces. Top stitch along the top collar’s, one-eighth inch away from the fold. This stitch line should secure the top and bottom collar to the neckline, finishing the shawl collar.


  • The bottom collar pattern is usually one-eighth inch smaller than the upper collar, which helps the collar to roll.

    Usually the seam allowance for the bodice of the garment is one-half inch, while the allowance for the collar is one-quarter inch. However, double check the seam allowance, which is often indicated by dashed lines on the pattern.