Tuesday 3 November 2020

Trends: Sewing a Peter Pan Collar with Frill Trim Detail & Keyhole Back

The Peter Pan collar from our childhoods has boomeranged as one of the biggest trends of this year.. For me this was definitely more a nostalgia sew than following a trend, and I was in the mood for teaching myself something new - I've only sewn regular shirt collars before. For this dress I used a secondhand screen printed silk I found back home in Finland - it's got such a luxurious feel. Of course working with a less flimsy material like linen or cotton would be an easier choice if it's your first time with a collar, but I've found lately I prefer projects that take a while to finish and have complexity/challenges. I'm over the easy sew.

I'm gonna show here also how I constructed the top with the keyhole back, if you're here for the collar only, just scroll down. Same method could be used to add a collar to an existing top with a keyhole back.

Tutorials take a lot of time & effort to create, and I choose to make mine available for free. If you enjoy this guide, you can support me with a donation that feels right for you, here.


Main dress fabric (quantity depends on the type of dress/top you're making, I used 5 m of 90 cm wide silk for this dress)  |  Interfacing  Scissors  |  Thread & Sewing machine  |  Pins  |  Button  |  Not pictured: bias tape to finish the neckline 


I. To construct the top part of my dress, I first cut my pieces (I did the keyhole in the back by making the back fully lined, but you could also use this facing method instead). 
I also made a small piece of ribbon for the button loop (for that you could also use round elastic).
II. I first pinned the loop in place, right next to the center back where the keyhole would go, about 1.5 cm down from the neckline.
.. And pinned my lining to prepare to sew the keyhole V. I made this more complicated than it needs to be since I had a very limited amount of lining fabric, and had to make it out of two pieces. If your lining is just one piece, you'd just pin the back piece and the lining piece right sides facing, mark the center back and go ahead and sew your V.
III. Here's the main fabric view after I sewed the V and cut it open:
IV. And after flipping right side out and pressing, I had my keyhole done. I also sewed the lining and the main fabric together at shoulders, arm holes and sides to make it all easier to work with.
V. Next I pinned my front and back piece shoulders together, right sides facing, sewed and finished with my serger (or zig-zag)..
.. And pressed the seam allowances towards the back piece, sewing them flat on the right side for neat seams.


I. To get ready to trace my collar neckline curve, I first folded the top in half like so. I placed it over my interfacing, and traced the semi-circle of the neckline.
.. Then I continued to trace the collar. First I marked the desired width of the collar out from the neckline curve, connected those markings to create the curve of the collar, and then adjusted the front with the signature Peter Pan rounded shape.
II. I then cut the collar half out and tried it on over the top. At this point I trimmed just a bit off the width, leaving me with a 10 cm wide collar. Repeated the same to cut my second collar piece.
III. Next I placed my collar interfacings on my fabric and ironed to fuse. If your fabric has a stripe pattern, make sure both pieces are placed symmetrically against the stripes.
IV. I cut the collars out with a 0.5 or so allowance all around.
And then used the interfaced piece to trace two more pieces for the lining. Be sure to trace these as mirror images of each other.
V. To make my trim, I measured the length it needed to cover (indicated with the white line)..
.. And cut two strips of fabric 4 cm wide. For the ruffle fullness you see, I did a 2.2X length against the collar edge length - for me 110 cm.
VI. I folded the strip in half width-wise and sewed the ends, trimmed the corners..
.. And turned right side out to press the entire strip in half, so I had both ends finished like this. Repeated for other strip.
VII. I sewed a basting stitch (longest stitch on your machine) along the raw edge of both strips..
.. And then pulled on the bobbin thread to gather them enough to match the collar edge they needed to cover. Pinned both in place, raw edge aligning with collar edge. Note you need to leave a seam allowance at both ends, to be able to attach the lining.
I then sewed them in place and pressed with my iron:
VIII. And I was ready to pin on my lining pieces, and sew all around. Be careful at the points where the trim ends, not to sew over the end of the trim. It helps to pin it folded away from where you will be sewing.
IX. After turning the collar right side out and pressing, I was pretty happy with the result. I placed it onto the neckline for a final confirmation of the size..
.. And then went ahead and pinned the two sides of the collar in place along the neckline.
X. To finish the neckline nice & clean, I took a piece of bias tape and pinned it over the collar, folding the edges over itself. Then sewed along the ditch of the fold in the bias tape.
Finally, I flipped the bias tape onto the reverse and pinned in place there, sewing along the edge to secure.
That seam is not visible at the front since the collar overlap covers it nicely. Last bit was to add my button to the back of the neck.
For the rest of this dress, I did tied up bishop sleeves and a tiered hem with fully lined ruffle details. I might do a separate post on this sleeve eventually.. 



  1. do you have a tutorial for the whole dress? It's amazing!

    1. Thank you! For this one no - just focused on the collar bit:)


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