dress refashion with a peter pan collar

I have recently started wearing things with collars. They used to feel too formal for my style, but that is changing (though I don’t actually think I am getting more formal – ha), so I decided it was time for me to make something for myself with a demure little Peter Pan styling. A friend recently gave me a few cast-offs with the idea that i could change them up somehow to suit me, so that is what I did here.

I started with this basic and fine dress. It is a sort of stretchy and heavy fabric with a side zip. I keep trying to wear it, but every time I do, I end up taking it off. Mostly the neckline was too high for me and it made me feel itchy.

So, I cut the neckline lower.





I do this by putting on the dress and making a chalk mark where I want the plunge to reach. First, the front of the dress was folded in half so the shoulder seams met. Cutting from that center fold through both layers of fabric will make a mirror image. I eyeballed the curve and tried it on again to see if I liked it. I did.


To design the pattern piece for the collar, slide a piece of paper between the front and back of the dress and trace the neckline. I cut off the corners because I couldn’t get it to fit with those angled shoulders, but I needed to reattach them after to get a color thickness that I liked. I penciled a line onto the paper along that cut neckline – there was a facing that kept trying to pop out, but I wanted to keep it, so I tucked it in and then later it got sewed up again when I attached the collar.


Since I wanted a very understated collar, I made it 1.5″ wide.  I do like how it came out, but I think  next time I will add a half inch – especially since I completely forgot about seam allowance (I stitched some pretty tiny seams).

 With the front collar folded in half, I cut an arch to create the Peter Pan styling – eyeballed, as usual. I figured if I messed up, it was only paper and I could do it again.


The same was done with the back of the dress, but I didn’t cut an arch into it. I tried taping these pieces together to create one pattern, but I didn’t take into account that the curvature of the neckline would create a pattern piece that couldn’t lie flat. Keeping the front separate from the back, I added 1/2″ seam allowance at the shoulder lines and cut two of each piece on the bias.

2013-01-17 14.16.03 - Copy - Copy



there are two front collars above and they are stacked so the right sides are facing. I did this with the back pieces as well, and then stitched them up along the bottom edge.


Then I folded the right side out and gave them a good pressing.


Before attaching to the neckline of the dress, I sewed them together at the shoulder seams with right sides together. The top edge of the collar pieces are still raw and open.

Attach the collar to the neckline of the dress, just as it will be when finished – backside of collar against the front of the dress. Match shoulder seams and pin in place.


Using a tiny zig zag or a straight stitch, stitch in place about 1/8″ from the neckline opening. There will be a raw edge here when you are done.

Now comes the time to bind the raw edge. I decided not to use bias tape, but to try this flexi-lacey hem tape instead – I wanted the texture – and it worked fine.

2013-01-17 16.29.03 - Copy - Copy


Simply folded over the raw edge, I used a small zig zag stitch to attach it, and when I got to the end, I folded it under 1/2″ and stitched it in place – overlapping with the other raw end, at the shoulder seam.

2013-01-17 16.31.48 - Copy - Copy



The dress is a little big on me so the collar flipped up a little when i put it on. To help this problem, and to add extra design, I embroidered along the edges and tacked it down. I truly would want it like this anyway, so my little fix turned out great. But, alas, the dress is still too big on me and this is what the neckline did:

2013-01-18 09.45.03 - Copy - Copy


I think it bugged my husband more than it bugged me, but since you’re watching, I thought I would go the next step and make it better – we are all constantly learning from our mistakes, isn’t that right?

So, I brought the center of the collar together a little and added a button. This also created a small and lovely pleat down the center – added bonus.




First, I tacked this fold together and then I sewed on the button with the same thread.




There. I still don’t love the dress, it turns out. I thought it was the neckline that made it a little boxy on me, but it just is a little big. I do like it a heck of a lot more, however. The neckline is nice! The button added a lot too.


I won’t be wearing it anytime soon, since it is 13 degrees out right now!!



This entry was posted by nicoleblum.

One thought on “dress refashion with a peter pan collar

  1. i think it turned out great! i have some similar items that i never wear because they’re collarless, and i don’t wear anything w/out a collar unless i’m wearing a sweater or something over it. i will definitely try this to see if i can make some of these unwearables into something more appealing. thanx!

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