Fashion Fix || Collar Edition

As promised, here is one of many upcoming tutorials on upcycling, designing, altering and fixing your clothes. Here, my dad had a Ted Baker jacket where the top collar had a rip in the leather. I hope he doesn't read this as I've fixed it for his birthday...

So, as I am working with leather I needed to use a teflon machine foot and leather needle. I'm sorry if these are speacialist items, but if you have a cotton collar that has ripped or any other woven fabric, this tutorial will still be useful! You will also need: 

  • Colour matched cotton (as the under collar was a different colour I needed two thread colours, one for the bobbin, one for the needle) 
  • Seam Ripper
  • Sewing machine (unless you're patient enough to hand stitch!)
  • Fusible Interfacing
  • Scissors (I used a rotary cutter when working with leather, but scissors are fine for other fabrics, if using a rotary cutter, you will also require a cutting mat)
  • Replacement fabric (it doesn't even have to match the original depending what look you're going for)
  • Pins
  • Iron

S t e p   o n e

Get your seam ripper and unpick the collar from the body of the garment.

T I P    ||   If you pick every third stitch you'll be able to gently pull the piece away from the fabric (and save time, which is a blessing in this industry) though be careful not to cause further damage to the fabric.

Take your time at the start of the stitching line where backstitching has been used to secure the fabric in place. 

s t e p   t w o

Once you have the collar unpicked and removed from garment, put the rest of the item to one side. 

Then proceed to unpick the top collar (the brown damaged leather in this case) from the under collar (the light tan fabric) and pick out all the threads so you have a clean piece of cloth to work with moving forward.

S t e p   t h r e e


I chose to fuse both the under collar and the top collar due to the flimsy fabric though this isn't always necessary and you can fuse just one piece. 

Lay your collar out on the interfacing and cut to size. I then trim around 0.5cm down from the edges as the fusing is not required in the seam allowance and this cuts down on bulk.

Press and add heat with an iron though do not use steam in order to fix the fusing to the fabric.

S t e p   f o u r

Then cut your replacement collar piece to size. 

T I P   ||   Rather than buy new fabric (and certainly to avoid buying leather) I instead used leather from a coat that once belonged to my Mum. Not only is it unused and of impeccable quality being soft to the touch, but it also adds a sentimental value to this jacket for my Dad. Another great reason to recycle. 

S t e p   f i v e


Once your piece is cut out (as you can see I used a rotary cutter and cutting mat when working with leather though scissors are fine) repeat the fusing process. 

S t e p   s i x


This is where I ensured my machine had been equipped with a teflon foot and leather needle with the bobbin thread (the bottom thread) and needle thread being matched appropriately. 

T I P   ||   A teflon foot is used when working with trickier fabrics that are likely to 'stick' such as suede, vinyl, leather or laminated fabrics. You can get them for domestic machines as well as industrial.

S t e p   s e v e n

When using leather, unless proceeding with confidence and care, it is important you fix your pieces in place. To do this you can use copydex. Do not use pins. 

T I P   ||   With leather, once a needle or point penetrates the skin you are left with irreversible perforations which is why we must get it right first time. 

Here, I have just taken my time to line the pieces up (right sides together). As the collar had been trimmed in original construction to reduce bulk my seam allowance was narrow, following the original stitch line. 

S T E P   E I G H T

Once you have sewn the pieces together turn the collar through so all the seams are now enclosed (this is called bagging out) and press with an iron. Here I have used a scrap piece of fabric to lay over the leather in order to prevent damage.  

I have then gone back to the machine and top stitched with a 1cm seam allowance. You can, at this stage edge stitch as well if you like depending on your decorative preference. This also neatens the final look.

Here you can see the effect of matching the two thread colours. The top collar is matched to chocolate brown and the under collar is equally as neat and aesthetically pleasing. 

S t e p   N i n e

When fixing the collar in place to the garment I have used pins. But note how I have secured it in a way that does not damage the leather on show. Take care and attention when securing the collar.

If you are working with woven fabrics this wont matter so much and you can just ensure you've lined the collar up correctly. Stitch in place.

S t e p   t e n

You can see at the beginning we have unpicked some of the stitching on the strap fastening in order to remove the collar. If you have a detail like this on your garment be sure to go over it with the machine so all areas of your item are secure and as they should be.

Remove all loose threads at the end and give the garment another final press with the iron.

And there you have your fixed collar, good as new, potentially with an upcycled and sentimental touch.

The leather is now of higher quality and this technique can be used time and time again should you need to maintain your clothing. There was no need to discard of this jacket due to a small fault in the collar and my Dad can continue to wear it for years to come.