collar roll height3 Patternmaking: Collar Roll Height

The first year I worked in technical design, I did not work in the sweaters, knits, and intimates department – jackets and coats was my category. Collars, lapels, chest pockets, cuffs, and epaulets (there are several ways to spell those darn tabs!) are what I measured day in and day out. Just a side story, I still have (and hang as display) the chest piece I had the pleasure of ripping out of a Brooks Brothers jacket. We were knocking off inspired by the construction of Brooks Brothers’ jackets that my department made it a mission to duplicate it as much as possible. Ha! Production almost placed our heads under the guillotine when the cost sheets for the samples came in.

The number one problem we had to fix when the samples arrived was the collars. The plastic bag would open, the garment would be placed on the form, and the tech, in this case her name was Alla (I was her assistant), would walk around the form to take a gander at the fit and the construction. When she (Alla) viewed the garment from the back, eighty percent of the time, the neck seam would be visible. That’s like nails on a chalkboard to a jacket/coat technical designer. Normally, when we sent what is called a “tech pack” to the manufacturers (essentially a booklet telling them how to make the garment – details on construction, fabric, trims, measurements), we would specify three point of measurement (called POMs) for the collar – collar height (from neck seam to collar outer edge), neckband/collar band height (at CB and at front edge), and collar roll height (from fold to collar outer edge). The fitting error – the neck seam being visible – was so common that it got to the point where we would only specify one measurement when sending our tech packs – collar height – and write, in capital letters – NECK SEAM MUST NOT BE VISIBLE. By only specifying ONE measurement, we were saying, “we don’t care what the other measurement are – just make sure the neck seam IS NOT VISIBLE!”

You’d think that after repeated slaps on the wrist, the manufacturers would get the picture. Nope. And the correction for this is so simple!

First of all, let’s talk numbers – on a normal notched collar jacket/coat, it is standard that a collar should extend below the neck seam 1/8”-1/4” and if the height of the collar is 3” (from neck seam to outer edge), then the collar roll height must be AT LEAST 1 5/8” in order to cover the neck seam. Does this make sense?

Now for the correction – let’s pretend that a model is wearing a jacket that has a collar that DOES NOT COVER THE NECK SEAM. If the fit technician (or whatever you want to call the person examining/fixing the garment) were to cut from the collar’s outer edge to the neck seam at several points and open the collar, the collar roll height would decrease and the collar would cover the neck seam, depending on how much each slash was opened. Essentially, this is the same thing you do when you manipulate a notched/normal collar pattern into a peter pan collar – you are slashing and opening it until the collar’s inner edge mimics the neckline and the collar’s roll height is 0″ (peter pan collar do not roll – they lay flat).

Another way of looking at it is that you are making the length of the collar’s outer edge LONGER. On a collar, there are 2 curves – the inner curve (neckline) and the outer curve (the collar’s outer edge). If the outer curve is not long enough to cover the length of the neckline where the collar’s edge hits, the collar will ‘hike up’ or ‘ride up.’ All that is needed to correct this is to lengthen the line of the outer curve.

The same can be said for the opposite. If the collar extends below the neck seam too much (3/8″+), then slash and close the collar in the same manner as shown in the diagram.

Does this make sense?


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