Chiffon Jacket With Dramatic Shawl Collar

Originally posted on my personal blog on 14 November 2011
Someone asked me about this chiffon draped jacket, so I thought I would put together a tutorial on how to create a similar garment using Garment Designer.

I started with a Standard Top, using the Oversized style with Sloped shoulders. The neck is Shawl Collar, Basic Shawl. I used sloped shoulders. The sleeves are Attached, Kimono 2.

I first adjusted the curve of the kimono sleeve to get a smoother line where the sleeve joins the body by nudging the curve control points.

Before going any further, I switched off F/B symmetry. I also checked my dimension units in the Project Options – I will be using Inches, Decimal for this project.

To make a deep inverted box pleat at the centre back, I selected the centre back seam and added an Extension of 3 inches.

I then switched my attention to the centre front, moving the centre front seam outwards to make a very wide collar. I displayed dimensions so I could watch how wide I was making it, adding 15in to the width of the hem. The shawl collar became a very strange shape but I ignored this for the moment.

I checked the seam length of the back neckline and the collar, then made the neckline vertical by moving the point at the top of the collar, keeping the seam length the same. (I got a warning message during this operation to remind me that the two seamlines needed to be the same.)

I then adjusted the collar itself to give me a straight front edge and a right angle at the top. This involved moving both ends and both control points for the shawl collar.

I decided I wanted the length of the jacket a little lower than my hipline so I adjusted the Top Length to 32. I dragged the bottom point of the centre front down to get the dramatic point at the bottom of the collar.

I added seam allowances all round both pattern pieces – I will make a folded and topstitched edge around the edges. As the pattern pieces are so wide, there will need to be a centre back seam. Before trimming the back neckline from the printed pattern, remember to fold the box pleat in place behind the neckline and trim all 3 layers together

I used French seams on my chiffon, though this isn’t suitable for the back neck/collar seam. This can be clipped then bound with a bias strip instead.
Sew in this order:

  • Two fronts at the centre back of the collar.
  • Stay stitch and clip the corners where the collar meets the front shoulder.
  • Make a tuck in the collar at right angles to the centre back seam This is 2in wide, i.e. 1in finished width, and is centred 3 ¼ in from the back neck edge of the collar. (You can use a facing on this line to mark the position if desired). It should extend across the back neck and about 2 in in front of the shoulder.
  • Two backs down the back.
  • Two backs at the centre back to waist level, making the box pleat. The box pleat is sewn together to about waist level, but is supported from the neckline rather than trimmed away.
  • Sleeve/shoulder/back neck, catching the box pleat and the bias strip into the back neck seam.
  • Underarm/side.
  • Sew loops on the front points at the hem, and put buttons on the centre of the shoulders to allow for draping of the fronts.