How to Draft a Peter Pan Collar (for any pattern!)

So, it’s no secret that I love the Geranium Dress.  But lately I have been loving the vintage style little girl dresses.  The ones that hit mid-thigh and require little bloomers.  I love the silhouette because, well, it’s adorable.  Also, because the short length makes it easy for little girls to run, jump, and climb.  My youngest needs clothing that lets her keep up with her older siblings.

I also love peter pan collars.  For babies, toddlers, little girls, adults…they are pretty spectacular as far as collars go.  I did some googling to try to figure out how to do go about this.  Lucky for me, I found a fantastic tutorial by Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing (here!!).  It’s the jackpot of tutorials because it’s a three series video tutorial that walks you through how to draft a peter pan collar for your existing pattern.

I took photos along the way, but this is simply me following the basic gist of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing methodology (except less precise).

First, take your pattern and line up the front and back pieces, making sure to account for the seam allowance at the shoulder seam.  The pencil lines are the seam allowances on the pattern.

First Step (Large)

Next,  I marked out the width of the collar.  For my 18-24 month pattern, I made the collar about 1 1/4 inches.  I also marked where the buttonholes were on the pattern, and made sure I ended my collar before them, so they wouldn’t overlap back there.  So in this step, I have the width mapped out, the seam allowance for the stop, and the start and stop of the length of the collar.


The final step was to draw in my curve for the front and back of the pater pan collar, and add in then add in the seam allowance.  I free-handed it, but wish I had a french curve for this part of the process.   The finished proportions of the collar are shades, and the seam allowances are dashed.


Cut it out…and…voila, you have a peter pan collar pattern piece.  Hold it up to your pattern to see if it looks about right…

final (Large)

The next steps aren’t photographed, but I cut out two of these pattern pieces for the two upper collars, then two slightly smaller for the under collars.  The gist here is that making the under collar a bit smaller than the upper collar will hide the seam.  I cut out some lightweight fusible interfacing to attach to the wrong side of the upper collars and then matched the lower seams up and sewed wrong sides together.  I turned them right side out, and pressed, and sandwiched the collar between the bodice and lining when it came time to sew them together per pattern directions.  Make sense?

The only other alteration to the pattern at this point, is I used one piece for the skirt, the full bolt width of fabric with one seam down the back.  I eyeballed the length to hit pretty short as I was going for that vintage vibe.

Oh–and the fabric!  It’s more fabric that I bought at a little fabric store while out of town.  I was thinking Easter dresses, and wanted to mix and match color or pattern a little bit.  I was drawn to this section of stripes and chevrons.  I love that the stripes aren’t uniform, they look a little like wood grain.  And who doesn’t love chevron right now?  Lucky for me, it is also this week’s theme at Project Run & Play, which gave me a little extra motivation to finish it this week, in the middle of packing, unpacking, and re-packing for our little Spring Break overnights.

I took photos early the next day, and since the dress was for my runs-from-the-camera toddler, I tried to ‘trick’ her by posing in a different room.  But I eventually propped her up in front of the chalkboard with a couple of crackers in hand.  Daddy helped.  So without further ado, here’s my take on the most addictive pattern to date…

1 (Large)

L2 (Large)

I love the silhouette of the dress, it’s shown perfectly below.  The collar is standing out a bit, which it doesn’t in real life, although I may tack it down with little stitches.  This is my first experience with peter pan collars, so I’m not sure if that is an actual thing people do, or if there is some other way to make sure it lays nicely.  Helpful tips are always (always!) appreciated in the comments, so fire away.L4 (Large)

L5 (Large)

In the summer, this will be paired with little bloomers, but since it was in the 20’s with a windchill much lower than that, we paired it with jeans.  Versatility, check!

L6 (Large)

And that’s it.  This was my favorite project to date, simply because of the thrill of drafting that little collar.  I don’t see myself as being much of a pattern drafter, I much prefer to use the patterns offered up by all the talented ladies out there, but it is nice to be able to add little touches like these when the desire hits.

The payoff is in the cute.

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  • Reply StraightGrain April 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Really beautiful! I love the Geranium, and I love it even more with a peter pan collar.
    And I think I can help you out with your problem. The collar is standing up a bit not because you did something wrong, but because the instructions don’t seem to mention that when drawing children’s collars (and maybe adults’ too, I’m not sure) you should put the front and back bodice pieces together with just a bit of overlap at the outer side (how much depends on the size you’re making). I’m abroad until tomorrow, but if you send me a little email, I can send you a scan with excellent instructions (by Winifred Aldrich, the authority in pattern drafting) this weekend. I’ve used them a couple of times already, and they ALWAYS give the perfect collar :-) – an.

  • Reply meg April 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    this is exactly what I needed. thank you so much! and that second (tiny bit drool-y) shot of your daughter is adorable!!

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Meg, thank you. I helped you out (?), now that’s a thrill :).

  • Reply Michaela April 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    What a sweet dress for a sweet little face! The Peter Pan collar is just perfect for this dress!

  • Reply Fiona April 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Gorgeous! I love those little vintage style dresses too. Nice job on the Peter Pan collar! Your wee girl looks so sweet in it :)

  • Reply Amy April 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Oh. My. Word. I absolutely LOVE this! It’s my favorite creation of yours so far. I bought a knock off version on the geranium dress pattern for $3. It totally did not fit Clara at all!! Ugh. I need to invest in the real deal. :O)

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks Amy :) you should buy the pattern!! Two cute styles and Rae’s patterns are always full of step-by-step photos and hints and tips, I love them.

  • Reply Sally April 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I just love the look of this dress…the colors, style, everything. And the look on your daughters face in the second picture is priceless.

  • Reply Ash P April 4, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I love that this dress looks so modern but has vintage styling!! Cute cute cute!!! Great work! :)

    -Ash P.

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 4, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Yes, thank you! That’s exactly what I was going for :)

  • Reply Elizabeth April 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I love this! Not quite sure how I feel about peter pan collars but I love how it looks with this geranium dress!

  • Reply Meghan April 5, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Oh my goodness! I love the addition of the Peter Pan collar. I think I just might need to try it on my next geranium….because I too love that pattern ;) Love your fabric selection and your little model is just so cute!

  • Reply Yeka April 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Lovely dress… and peter pan collar is so cute. I love it!

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      Thank you!! I definitely have a little thing for these collars :)

  • Reply Maria April 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Beautiful dress and the peter pan collar adds more beauty! Love the fabric too!

  • Reply Marnae April 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Such a sweet dress! I love the subtle chevron especially with the stripes. My favorite in the pool :)

  • Reply Simple Simon and Co April 8, 2013 at 5:47 am

    I LOVE the addition of the collar. SO SO great. I love it…and your photos and your fabric choice. It’s all great!

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Thank you!! I’m a huge fan of SimpleSimon&Co :)

      • Reply sanae April 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

        This is absolutely gorgeous, Monica! Love love – the addition of the Peter Pan collar definitely stepped it up :-)

        • Reply adirondackinspired April 9, 2013 at 12:10 am

          Thanks so much Sanae! I was ridiculously thrilled with that little collar…

  • Reply Tracy April 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I love Lily. In any dress….but this one is super cute.

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      I need to make a pair of bloomers still, I’m looking forward to seeing her in it this summer. Hopefully she doesn’t hit a growth spurt.

  • Reply Erin April 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    This is so so darling…. I love those photos- she’s a beauty! And I’m a geranium lover too. So many adorable versions out there!

    • Reply adirondackinspired April 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks! I do have to heavily bribe her to get these shots…ha.

  • Reply Twin Geraniums | The Powell Family April 18, 2013 at 12:36 am

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  • Reply eunice June 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I love this,I wish I can make something like this

  • Reply Sherry October 20, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you so much. This is just what I needed to finish my grand daughters Halloween costumes.

  • Reply An Autumn Geranium | adirondack inspired November 12, 2013 at 9:19 am

    […] is this pattern.  Again.  See here (and here and here).  I love it.  There are a few ways to mix and match the pattern, but this is […]

  • Reply sewing: boat neck tutorial and a Lady Skater - imagine gnats March 11, 2014 at 7:02 am

    […] added a peter pan collar by using the method I talked about in this post. Well, I made half a peter pan collar and just put it on the front. Half the work with the full […]

  • Reply Simple tunic or dress pattern | June 29, 2015 at 7:16 am

    […] are some great tutorials out there for drafting your own (I promise it’s not that tricky). This tutorial by Monica of Adirondack Inspired shows a great […]

  • Reply sankar February 4, 2016 at 9:19 am

    it is very useful for me to make a dress.

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