So this project has been on the back burner for a while and I'm thrilled to finally share it with you. I had trouble trouble figuring out how to make the collar lie smoothly around the neck's curve (my butterfly collar is only a half collar), but Abby at Sew Much Ado had a post today about peter pan collars that solved my dilemma - fold the shirt in half from front to back. Duh! It was definitely a V8 moment.
The basic idea is to add one layer of raw-edged knit fabric in the shape of a peter pan collar. The collar is lightweight enough that it lies smoothly without pulling the shirt. It's a great way to spruce up a lackluster t-shirt!
Note: my collar was made from a very light, fluttery rayon knit. (They were leftovers from this project. Yeah, it's not a true red - more of a deep cranberry red.)
Here's the shirt I started with - it was still in nice condition, I just didn't wear it much anymore. The length had shrunk up a bit, but I thought it could still be cute tucked into a high-waisted skirt. But it needed something to make it pop....
As I learned from Abby, fold the shirt in half from back to front. This will help your collar curve properly around your neck.
I lined up the shoulder seams on top of each other.
Trace the neckline curve onto a piece of freezer paper.
If you have any wobbles in your line, now is the time to fix them.
From the curved line, complete the collar shape as you desire. I wanted mine to taper and cross in the back (see later pictures), so I extended it a bit further than the original line. Shape is purely a matter of preference - you could do any shape (not just peter pan). I'm working on similar t-shirt with a large, wing-shaped collar. Your finished collar will be about 1/4" shorter (from bottom to top edge) than the pattern piece, so plan accordingly.
Iron the freezer paper to your fabric and cut. When pressing the freezer paper, be careful of pulling the fabric. You don't want to stretch the fabric as you press down!
When cutting out the pieces, be careful of keeping the edges as pretty as possible - that's going to be your final edge. Trim anything unsightly.
Repeat. (If your knit is the same on both sides, there's no need to make a mirror image pattern piece. Just flip one cut out piece over.)
Now you're ready to sew. Mark the center front and back of your t-shirt with pins.
From the front center, pin the top of the collar to the inside of the shirt.
The rest of the collar should fold over to the outside of the shirt. Your stitching will be underneath, hidden from sight.
Stitch around the neckline using a stretch stitch.
This was what I meant by the collar crossing in the back.
The knotted tie is completely optional. You could leave the collar unadorned, make a cute bow, or place a row of buttons. Your choice!
To form the tie, I cut a strip roughly 18" x 2" and tapered the ends.
Tie a knot in the center.
Hand stitch into place. Voila!
So happy to be finished with this project! Now that t-shirt can no longer cause me pangs of guilt when I look at my refashioning pile.