Make yourself a Frilly Billie!

We have all seen the wave of frilly collars that have been hitting the (online) shops and turning up all over our Instagram feeds. These collars vary in size and shape, from petite and pretty to oversized statements, but there is a common theme to all of them; frills. Whilst you can go out and buy a ready to wear top with this season’s trend attached, why not use up some scrap fabric and spend an afternoon crafting one that is exactly the way you want it to be?

All you will need to make your very own frilly collared jumper is:

- A jumper sewing pattern, traced off in your size (we used Billie by TATB)

- 0.5 m cotton fabric (we used our Broderie Anglaise Cotton)

- 1.5m sweatshirt/ knit fabric for the main jumper

- 1m bias binding

- tracing paper or other pattern paper

Drafting the collar pattern pieces.

  1. Lay the front bodice pattern onto the tracing paper. Trace around the neckline and mark the centre front and shoulder points. Repeat this for the back pattern piece on another piece of tracing paper.

  2. Decide how wide you would like your collar to be. You can do this by lying a tape measure on your shoulder to see where you want the collar to fall.

  3. Draw a second line, the desired distance away from the neckline. You can do this either by using a French curve, or by drawing a series of small dash marks at the desired distance all the way along the collar. You can then join up these dash marks. Repeat for both the front and back pieces.

  4. At the centre back, draw a line at 90 degrees from the neckline to join up with the outer line.

  5. At the centre front, draw a line at a slight angle to make a point. You can extend this line and then blend it into the out line if you would like a more pronounced collar shape.

  6. The pattern piece will already include seam allowance at the shoulder, usually 15mm, which we won’t need. To get rid of this, overlap the front and back pattern pieces at the shoulder by 15mm and tape together. You now have a roughly semi-circular collar piece. You will also need to add seam allowance around the other three edges (not the inner curve). We used 10mm on our pattern pieces.

  7. To draft the pattern piece for the ruffle, you will need to measure the outer circumference of the collar. Multiply this by 1.5. This is the length of the rectangle that you will need to cut. To get the width, double the desired width of the frill that you would like. Then add 1cm to this width. For example:

The outer collar measures 45cm. Times this by 1.5 = 67.5 cm

We want our frill to be 1cm wide. Double this and add 1cm = 3cm

Sewing the collar.

  1. You will need to cut four of the collar pieces and two of the ruffle pieces to make up your collar.

  2. Take the ruffle pieces and iron them in half, matching the long edges.

  3. Sew a gathering stitch 0.5cm from the raw edge

  4. Gather the ruffle up to roughly the same length as the outer collar.

  5. Starting from the centre back, pin the ruffle so that the raw edges match the outer edge of the collar.

  6. At the corners, pivot and carefully fold the excess out of the way, tucking it into the corner.

  7. Adjust the gathers as you go so that they are even all the way along. Pivot at the front collar point again.

  8. Sew this in place with a basting stitch, directly onto of the gathering stitch.

  9. Add the second collar piece on top of this, sandwiching the ruffle in the centre. Carefully sew around the edge, on top of the existing stitching, being careful not to catch the free edge of the ruffle in your stitching.

  10. Trim the collar points and trim the seam allowance down to half. Turn the collar out to the right side and give it a good press. Use a basting stitch, secure the open raw edges at the neckline together. Repeat these steps to create the other collar.

Attaching the collar.

  1. Sew the shoulder seams of the jumper you are making.

  2. Find the centre back and create a slit, about 10cm long. This is necessary to allow your head to pass through the neckline once the collar is sewn on, as it will no longer stretch.

  3. Finish the edge of this opening, either by overlocking or zig-zagging the raw edge. Fold over the edge of the back opening by a few mm and sew in place.

  4. With the wrong side of the collar facing the right side of the jumper;

  5. Find the centre front of the jumper and line up the centre front collar pieces with it. Line up the centre back of the collars with the opening that you have just created.

  6. Pin in between these two points, easing in any fullness in the jumper.

  7. Sew the collar in place, 0.5mm from the raw edge.

Finishing the neckline.

  1. Pin the bias binding around the neckline, matching the fold with the stitching securing the collar to the jumper. Sew in place.

  2. Trim the seam allowance down to half its width and clip into the corners.

  3. Fold the bias binding to the inside so that the seam is also rolled to the inside.

  4. Pin in place to the jumper, being careful to move the collar out of the way.

  5. Fold the ends of the binding over the edges of the collar to tuck away any raw edges.

  6. Sew the binding to the jumper. This line of stitching will be underneath the collar and so should not be visible when the garment is worn.

  7. Give everything a final press.

  8. Sew a thread button loop (there are lots of resources for how to do this online) and attach a button at the top of the back opening.

The finished product!

Other options for jazzing up your frilly collars.

If you love this look and therefore having your collar attached to just one jumper doesn't work for you, then why not make it as a detachable collar. In order to do this, make the two collar halves exactly as directed, but instead of sewing these to the jumper, sandwich them in the middle of a piece of bias binding, leaving long tails at the centre front that you can tie in a bow.

You can add embellishments to your collar such as pearls and beads. It is easiest to do this whilst the collar pieces are flat, before they are attached to the jumper.

Fabric choices for Billie

L-R Charcoal Cloque Jersey, Petrol Blue Cloque Jersey, Blush Sweatshirt, Ex-Designer Teal Sweatshirt, Grey Rib Knit, Foil Sweatshirt

Fabric choices for the collar

L-R: Navy polka dot viscose (coming soon!), Jaquard Weave Cotton Summer Blue, White Broderie Anglaise, White Double Gauze, Marlowe Stripe Denim, Pink Double Gauze.

Make sure you tag us in any of your frilly makes, we'd love to see them!

Stay safe and happy sewing,

Alex and the Sew Creative team x

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