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How to Update a Too-Big Collar

5 Vintage Summer Outfits to Try
How to Turn a Thrifted Dress into a Top

I seem to be on a collared dress kick lately, don’t I?

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How to repurpose a too big collar before
But y tho?

Whether I’m removing the collar from a dress, or refashioning a collared dress into a top, or taking in a dress from the front to hide a really juvenile-looking collar, I can’t seem to stay away from them!

This collar, however, was a doozy.

dress with big collar close up

Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

But I don’t hate everything about this dress, or even that collar. Celadon green is one of my favorite colors, and that decorative stitching on the collar is actually quite pretty.

I can work with it.

Priority #1 was to address that too-big collar.

I grabbed my seam ripper and got to work unpicking it from the neckline.

unpicking too big collar from neckline of dress

Other items were removed as well.

removed shoulder pads
removed sleeves
Sleeve me alone, okay?
removed fake under layer
No fake under layers on my watch!
removed buttons
Farewell functionless buttons!
cutting of side ties of dress
Later, side tie thingies!

I fiddled around with the original collar, figuring out how much I wanted to keep for my new dress.

laying out collar for repurpose
This’ll work, right?

Once I found a position I liked for my collar, I snipped off two matching pieces.

cut off corners of original collar
Looking better already!

Then, I pinned them between the two layers of fabric from the neckline.

I’m basically just returning the collar to its original location, but in a different form.

pinning repurposed collar on to dress
Make sure to face it the right way!

If you’re playing along at home, make sure to keep in mind the collar is going to be folded over at the end, so the wrong side is going to be facing out.

I stitched the neckline back down and my new collar was complete!

stitching new collar into neckline
Stitch it down!

However, my work was far from done!

The sleeves were removed, but I really wanted to make the shoulders narrower.

My new French Curve came to the rescue!

using french curve to shorten shoulder of dress
Mon dieu!

I’ve never played around with one of these before, but I’ve got to say I’m already a fan! As the name suggests, it’s used to connect points to create a true curve, which is incredibly helpful for pattern drafting (which I don’t do) or alterations (more my speed).

Be on lookout for a french curve how to post in the near future!

After my new armholes were chalked out, I cut them out.

cutting new armhole

I folded the raw edges under, then pinned them.

new arm hole pinned
Hello new arm hole!

Then, I stitched them down.

stitching arm hole
You will be much comfier for a humid SC day!

I went a little wild with my french curve and made the armholes slightly too big. Luckily, this wasn’t an issue as I needed to take in the sides.

I put my dress on my dress form and pinned the sides, measuring to make sure they were even.

dress pinned on dress form
Just a lil bit!

Then, I ran each side through my machine!

taking in sides of dress
We’re almost done, I promise!

After I cut off the excess fabric and tried my new dress on, I still wasn’t quite happy with the fit. The armholes were sort of gapey, and the top sat a little too low.

So, I took the top of the dress in from the shoulders!

First, I pinned each shoulder where I’d be stitching.

pinned shoulders of dress
I know…this is a finicky process, isn’t it?

Then, I carefully and slowwwwwly stitched them down. Since the fabric was super thick here, I didn’t want to break a needle!

Carfully stitching down shoulder
A slow and careful whirrrr!

I grabbed those side tie thingies from earlier and stitched them together to make (what else?) a sash!

stitching sash for dress
The final step!

And just like that, my new dress was reborn!

How to Repurpose a Too-Big Collar after
Not too shabs, I say!

I styled my new dress with my favorite pink TOMS and a coordinating glass of Rosé!

updated collared dress after
Come a little closer!
updated collared dress after closeup
Nope! Too Close!

So there you go! Hopefully, this post will encourage you to see those dowdy gigantic collars in a new way!


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