As someone who does not have a background in sewing, there was a lot I had to teach myself about how to make costumes look the way they should. One of the things I had to learn was how to create those gravity-defying pieces of clothing that anime characters wear.
Create a standing collar for your cosplay by using a combination of interfacing and wire piping. Make the collar stiff and sturdy using thick interfacing, then shape the fabric by sewing some wire into the outer seam of the collar.
I’ll be honest, my technique for creating gravity-defying collars is not seamstress-approved. It is not the technical, correct way of doing things, but it gets the job done and is fairly simple so any beginner can try it. This basic technique is one I’ve used mostly on standing collars, however, it can also be applied to flared coats and capes to give them a shape.
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How to create a gravity-defying collar
To create a standing anime collar, we are going to add some interfacing and wire to your costume collar. You can use this technique with just about any pattern you purchase, or you can create your own custom collar pattern.
Supplies you will need:
- Your fabric
- Thick interfacing
- 12 gauge jewelry wire
- An iron
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine (optional)
What is interfacing?
Since this is something I did not know about when I first started cosplaying, I figure I’ll give you a simple explanation to help you understand what you’re doing and know what products to purchase.
Interfacing is used to stiffen pieces of fabric. Usually, it will be areas that have a higher chance of tearing, such as on sleeve cuffs, the strip of buttons on a jacket, and collars. It is used to add stability to clothing, making it have a firm appearance and more easily avoid wear and tear.
Choosing your interfacing
Interfacing can be anything from a very thin layer that adds a small amount of shape to a flowing fabric, to a thick layer that is barely bendable. If you are making a collar that you want to stand upright for more than 1-2 inches, I recommend using one of the thicker interfacing options.
You are also going to see sew-in or fusible options when purchasing interfacing. Fusible interfacing has one side that is covered in tiny little dots. These are glue dots that will fuse to the fabric when you iron the interfacing. In general, I recommend using fusible interfacing. It’s much easier to work with overall, especially when dealing with thick interfacing.
Step 1: Cut out your collar and interfacing
To start out, simply cut your pieces out of your costume’s fabric and the interfacing:
- Cut 2 pieces of the collar out of your costume fabric. Whether you are following a sewing pattern or you created your own collar design, make sure to cut out two of the collar pieces so that you can sandwich the interfacing between them.
- Cut 1 piece of the interfacing. This will be sewn or fused in between the two collar pieces, so you only need one.
- Trim ¼ inch off the interfacing. If you are using thick interfacing, cut about ¼ around the entire border of the piece. This is so that you can sew the collar together without having to sew through the thick interfacing.
Step 2: Sew or iron your interfacing to the inside of your collar piece
For the most part, I recommend using fusible interfacing, especially if you’re using something that is very thick. However, if you choose, you can sew your interfacing in place.
To iron your interfacing:
- Iron your fabric collar pieces.
- Line up the interfacing with the inside (the wrong side) of one of the collar pieces. Make sure the little glue dots on the interfacing are facing down, toward the fabric.
- Get a slightly damp cloth and put it over top of the interfacing. I usually use a scrap piece of fabric that’s large enough to cover the collar. You don’t want it to be soaking wet, but the moisture will help to keep this cloth from burning in the next step.
- Press and hold the iron for 30 seconds. Start at one end of the collar and hold the iron down. Then lift it and move to the next spot until you’ve gone over the whole collar. Check the collar and repeat on any parts where the fabric and interfacing have not fully fused.
Step 3: Sew your collar together
Now, you simply want to sew your collar together as usual:
- With the right sides together (so you’re looking at the inside of your collar), sew your pieces together. Do not sew the bottom edge of the collar pieces.
- Leave a very small gap between the interfacing layer and your seam. This will give you a little space to insert the wire.
- Flip the collar right side out. Use a pin to pull the corners of your collar to make them pointy.
- Iron your collar piece to flatten the seam. Now you are left with your basic collar piece.
Step 4: Add wire and stitch it in place
Depending on the size and shape of your collar, you may not need to add wire. In general, I recommend using wire along your seam if you are making a collar that comes up past your chin, or if you want a flared look to your collar. Otherwise, you can skip this step and move on to step 5.
- Measure out your wire. Lay it along the outer seam of your collar to cut the correct length. Add 1-2 inches on either end to use when attaching your collar to your shirt.
- Pin the wire in place on the inside of the collar. Make sure it’s laying flat against the fabric.
- Add some stitches to hold the wire. You can sew along the entire inside of the wire, but I find adding a few stitches every couple of inches is sufficient.
Step 5: Attach your collar to the rest of your garment
Now that your collar is done, you just need to attach it to the rest of your shirt (or coat). If you are using a pattern, you can switch back to following the instructions provided with the pattern packaging. Simply tuck the extra wires down the front seam of the garment to add stability to the collar.
If you don’t have a pattern to follow, this is the general way to attach your collar:
- Sew the outer layer of the collar to the garment. If your shirt or coat has a lining, you’re only sewing the outer layer of that garment to the outer layer of the collar.
- Tuck the wire down the front seam and stitch in place. This will make the collar more stable along the front of the collar neckline.
- Fold the inner layer of the collar. It’s best practice to fold and iron this layer before pinning it down.
- Sew the last seam. You can use a hidden stitch here if you want to, but I tend to sew through all layers of the collar even though it will be visible on the outside of the garment.
Now all you have to do is bend the wire to shape your collar however you would like! The best thing is, this type of collar is completely machine washable (as long as your fabric is too). However, you do want to put it on a gentle setting so that the wire does not come loose.
Altering the look for other garments with a flared look
If you want to use this technique for longer, more flowing garments (like a trench coat or cloak), I recommend using a thinner interfacing, and a thicker wire. The thinner interfacing will still allow your garment to have a more natural, flowing look. The thicker wire will be able to hold a heavier load of fabric in place.