How to Sew a Lapel Collar (with facings)

Lapel collars are tricky, there's no way around it, at least if it's your first time sewing one. My main tip is to have very clear in your mind which pattern pieces do you need to create this type of bodice and practising using leftover fabric or scraps until you get the best results.

Tutorial: sew a lapel collar with Maple

For this step-by-step tutorial I am going to use the Maple Dress sewing pattern as an example, as well as the instructions and video I posted on the CocoWawa Crafts YouTube channelIn this case, I will be using the front and back bodice pieces, the upper and lower collar and the front and back facing pieces.

Steps for a perfect lapel collar

1. Pick up your top and bottom collar pieces (E, F) and apply interfacing to the top collar piece (E). Now, take the two bottom collar pieces (F) and with right sides together pin and stitch them along the shorter sides to create the centre seam using a 1cm seam allowance. Press that seam open.

2. The next step is to pick up the two front facing pieces (C) and the back facing piece (D). Apply interfacing (only if the fabric is specially thin) and with right sides together, pin and stitch using 1cm seam allowance to create a whole piece, along the shoulder seams. Press seams open.

Finish the raw / edge of the facing with your overlocker, zigzag stitch or pinking scissors. (You can do this step when you finish the collar, but I recommend doing it now). Another option is to fold the facing raw edge under by a couple of centimetres, pressing and stitching.

3. Now, all of your pieces are ready to construct the tailored or double breasted collar. Start by taking the top collar interfaced piece (E) and the facing you have just stitched in the previous step. Make sure you have transferred all of your notches and annotations to the fabric pieces using chalk, fabric pen or your preferred method.

Pin the top collar and facing right sides together matching the two ‘Xs’. Stitch in between the two marks using a 1cm seam allowance. Backstitch on both sides. (Drawing below and min. 2.57 on the YouTube tutorial).

4. Clip the facing seam allowance at the second dot to allow pivoting. Now stitch between the second dot on the left side and second dot on the right side (finishing at the same point, on the opposite side, where you started the previous step), clipping again the facing.

Don’t pin the collar in this step because it will be easier to sew if you work the collar shape along the facing. Press the seams open. (Min. 3.30 on our YouTube tutorial).

5. Now do exactly the same with the bottom collar (F) and the front and back bodice pieces you constructed already in previous steps. (Min. 4.50 on our YouTube tutorial).

6. At this point you have to stitch the top collar to the bottom collar, right sides together, and matching notches, along the outer curve, using a 1cm seam allowance. Clip the curve to make it lie flat and grade it a bit so it is less bulky (Min. 5.08 on our YouTube tutorial).


7. Continue by pinning from waist, all along lapels and side of collar on one side and repeating in the other with right sides together. Make sure your stitching is sharp on the lapels so they have a good definition. Use a 1cm seam allowance. (Min. 6.03 on our YouTube tutorial).

8. Turn everything to the right side. Understitch on the facing side and catching the seam underneath where possible as in some parts the stitches might be seen. Here you can also alternatively sew the collar seams together. Press collars, bodice, lapels and facing.

To secure the lining to the bodice, pin along the shoulder seam. Stitch-in-the-ditch from the right side. Now give it all another good press!

TIP: If you feel that the closure at the front is gaping a bit or you feel it is a bit low, you can hand stitch the two lapels together on the inside, only if you can get out of your dress without using the actual buttons or add a small sew-on snap.

And here you can see the result on the actual Maple Dress samples I made when launching the pattern and some more technical drawings :)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Find more inspiration to make your own Maple on the blog and don't forget to practice your lapel collar before cutting onto your beautiful fabric!

Happy sewing,


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.