The Convertible Collar

The convertible collar offers a bit more structure to a shirt or blouse than the Peter Pan, but is not as tailored as a banded shirt collar.  It can be worn open or closed (hence the name), and looks very nice in a contrast fabric.

blouse with convertible collar worn open

Worn open, the collar creates a lapel for a tailored, almost jacket-like opening.  It sits open much more elegantly than a traditional, tailored shirt collar, yet does not appear too casual.

It is, however, the collar used on camp shirts, often made of brightly colored prints (Hawaiian shirts use the convertible collar, for example).

Worn closed, it make look a bit like a Peter Pan. But unlike the Peter Pan, this collar rolls at the neck and does not lay flat against the body of the blouse.

convertible collar worn closed

Drafting the Convertible Collar

how to measure the neckline of the pattern

Start by tracing your blouse neckline and placing a mark 1" from the center front.  This is where the collar will end; it does not overlap at center front. This will also help to create the lapel when worn open.

Then measure the front neck from that point to the shoulder (record the measurement), and measure the back neck from center back to the shoulder (record that measurement, too).

drafting the convertible collar
  • On a separate piece of pattern or craft paper, draw a line (AB) that is the length of the front and back neck measurements combined (the sum of the front and the back measurements). "A" will be the center back, so measure from "A" , the length of the back neckline and make a mark.  This will become a notch that identifies the shoulder seam.
  • From A, draw a line perpendicular (at a 90 degree angle) up 2 1/2" to "C".  This is the width of your collar.  Draw a similar line from "B" to "D" (2 1/2" up, squared to line AB). Draw line CD (the top edge of your collar).
  • Mark a point 1/2" up from point "B" along BD. Draw a gently curved line from that point back to point "A".  This is your new neckline.
  • Mark another point 3/4" from point "D". Draw a line between the two new points; this is the front edge and point of the collar.
finished pattern for convertible collar

If you mirror this draft (or trace it on folded paper, with the fold along AC, the center back line), it will look like the pattern above.  Be sure to mark your shoulders and center back; it's much easier to sew with markings.

This collar, you'll notice, does not follow the shape of the neckline and is, in fact, almost straight.  That is what allows the collar to fold nicely and stand up near the neck, rather than laying flat against the blouse.

There are several more steps to making this pattern than a simple Peter Pan, but it's not hard, and it looks so nice!

You'll find MUCH more information about collars and necklines in the in-depth tutorial, A Beginner's Guide to Necklines and Collars.  Learn to draft cowl necklines, shawl collars, stand collars, shirt collars, scoop necklines, squared necklines - and variations of all of these! 

Check out the Beginner's Guide to Necklines and Collars now!

More Collars and Necklines

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