Carolyn Pajamas : Sewing the Collar & Lapels – a Photo Tutorial type thingy!

I’ve sewn two pairs of Carolyn PJ’s to date with a third pair in my sewing queue. I think it’s fair to say my love for this pattern has been well documented both here on my blog and over in my Instagram feed! A few of you have commented that you’re keen to sew them up too but are perhaps a little daunted at the prospect of constructing the notched collar/lapel. I know I certainly was at the start!

So I took photos of the main steps in the process of sewing the collar and lapel when I made my second set, which I thought I’d share here in case anybody else would find it useful. And, let’s be honest, as an aide-memoire to myself in case my ageing/befuddled brain forgets everything by the time I get around to the third pair!  Seriously! Certainly it’s not meant as a substitute for the pattern instructions or the really useful post on the Closet Case Files blog, which are both really excellent. I guess I’m hoping this just aides what you will find there; I’m a very visual person so the more photos or diagrams from different perspectives that I can study when approaching a new technique, then all the better! If you’re the same, then this is for you! :-))

Enough waffling, let’s sew already!

1. You’ve already part constructed the collar. Now comes the part where you join the bottom collar to the shirt. Take care to match notches and circles. Just take it slowly, stop occasionally with your needle down, lift your presser foot and adjust your fabric as you sew so your seam is nice and neat.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas closet case files sewalong

2. At the centre back neckline, you want to make sure that your top collar slightly overlaps your just-sewn seam so it’s completely hidden. Topstitch.

Collar lapels Carolyn Pajamas pyjamas

3. Pin and baste each side shirt neckline/top-collar seams.

Sewalong tutorial closet case files collar lapels

4. Once you’ve finished the raw outside (straighter) edge of your lapel facings as directed in the pattern instructions, pin lapels to shirt fronts, right sides together, being ultra careful to ensure you are again matching circles. Pin and sew from the bottom. You will need to curve your lapel when you reach the top to join your previously basted side neckline/collar seams. Make sure you STOP sewing when you reach the shoulder seam.

Closet case files sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas

5. Notch and grade seams and turn right side out. When you press make sure your seam lines are pressed away from the visual front to the underside. Remember, on your lapel, this changes at the point where the first button will go. use your button guide pattern piece to determine where this is.

Sewalong tutorial Carolyn pajamas pyjamas

6. Then wrap under the raw edge of the remaining lapel ‘flap’, placing it over, and matching up with, the line of the shoulder seam (securing in place with WonderTape helps), then stitch in the ditch from the outside. It’s also worth noting that when you sewed your shoulder seams earlier on in the construction process, the pattern instructions don’t mention finishing the seam. But, do! 

Carolyn collar shoulder seam.jpg

Tada!!!! All done!!! You will enclose the lapel facings and topstitch around the entire edge of the lapels and collar at the very end (if you’ve got an edgestitch or stitch in the ditch foot, all the better!)  There’s nothing else fiddly or head-scratchy with this pattern, honest!

Let me know, was this in any way useful?!

If you’re wondering how to pattern match the cuffed breast pocket of View B & C, I also have a tutorial on that here.

Until next time,

Sarah X

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12 thoughts on “Carolyn Pajamas : Sewing the Collar & Lapels – a Photo Tutorial type thingy!”

  1. Thank you thank you thank you!! Just making these as a gift for MIL and got myself all confused until I found this blog post! Now to j St wo k out what to do with the piping 😂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. just looking at this as CC sewalong had me all confused. tomorrow I’m using your pictures as they actually make sense. xxx


  3. […] You’d be forgiven for thinking, as a co-host of #sewtogetherforsummer, that I’ve  sewn a dozen shirtdresses before but…no. The Challenge was very much designed around the idea of encouraging us to dig deep into our pattern stashes and surface with a project kept on a back-burner for far too long. I’m certainly no exception – the closest thing I’d even sewn to a shirt, prior to this, was the top of the Carolyn Pajamas ! […]


  4. I just hope I haven’t made it sound more complicated than it is! I’m sure you could do it with your eyes closed! Probably standing on your head and with your hands clasped behind your back too! I’m sooooo impressed with your maternity jeans hack! Xx


  5. I am just getting to this! You did a great job explaining everything. I will definitely be referring to this when I finally get to this pattern 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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