Make a Peter Pan Collar in Eight Easy Steps

Peter Pan collars are too charming. Maybe it’s because they remind me of my little girl clothes of the past, or even because they are named after a boy who can fly and is friends with fairies. Regardless, I have never been able to walk away with my credit card in tact once I spot one. With tuition and rent bills filling my mailbox, however, I have learned to put down the hanger, and leave the store Peter-Pan-less. My indulgent behaviour in check, I came up with a more practical approach to achieving this darling look. Borrowing tips and tricks from various do-it-yourself guides (and after a few interrogations of my fashion design friends), I came up with my own recipe for adding a little Peter to any garment. Professionals please keep in mind that this is a girl with little garment-making know-how, describing to like-minded folk, the simplest way (in her eyes) to achieve a DIY collar.

Materials: Fabric for collar, interfacing, thread, paper, pencil, fabric scissors, an iron

Step 1: Trace the Neckline of the garment that you wish to Peter-ize. For this I used just a regular blank piece of paper and pencil. I stuck the paper inside the dress and aligned it with the shoulder seams, then I traced away. This will give you the neckline on the front of the dress. Repeat with the back of the dress so that you have the shape of both the front and back. Once you have both front and back necklines, cut and paste them together so that you have an oval-like shape. You now have a starting place!

Step 2: Using your imaginary neckline for size, do a rough sketch of what you want the collar to look like, on another blank sheet of paper. For this part I drew a few different variations, cut each out, and tried them on the dress to see which size I liked best. There is nothing worse then getting to the end stretch and realizing you dont like the size. Once you have a shape you like, in the words of Joey Gladstone, “Cut it out!”

Step 3: Now is the exciting part, or if you’re like me, the nerve-wracking part. Pin your pattern to the fabric and cut! Okay. Before you do this, take a deep breath and remember one crucial thing: leave a seam allowance (this means leave about an inch or inch and a half of fabric around both the outside and inside of your pattern, so you have a little something to work with). Before removing the paper pattern though, I like to just dot around the pattern itself onto the actual fabric, so that I have a perfect guideline of where I need to be sewing. Repeat this step on both your fabric that you chose for your collar, and the interfacing.
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Do It Yo-Self: The Organic Necklace

Doing things yourself never gets old. Though my boyfriend could talk your ear off about the fact that I would rather stick a rusty fork in my eye than pay a trained professional to perform a task I can easily do (after reading a wikipedia article) myself, I would also like to attest to that uplifting and euphoric feeling that accompanies a job well done. Unfortunately, DIY projects often entail an unforeseen problem, a slight glitch — like fabric that is not quite long enough, or outdated tools, perhaps even a string of beads that comes apart over your parents’ shag rug — the kind that was all the rage in 70s home décor — rendering you a blubbering ball of frustration (tears). Perhaps you think briefly about punching another person in the face — anyone would do — but you put down the knitting needle, leave the sewing bench, and take a breather. Like any good journey, doing-it-yourself involves ups and downs which ultimately make the final product that much more satisfying.

Admittedly, the initial start-up costs of buying beads, clasps, and those little do-hickeys that connect the beads to the clasps can be a bit daunting. Yes, you will have to spend a bit of hard-earned coin to make some magic happen, but keep in mind the first investment is always the worst. Personally I would much rather spend $20 on crafting materials than a night on the town. And in the interest of honesty, I will add that handmade accessories always make me look much more put together than a few rounds of gin and tonics.

So without further ado, the object of my week’s DIY affection: The Organic Necklace

I toss this “organic” term in there audaciously simply because I can, and hey, aren’t you intrigued? What could be organic about a necklace? Well this one is made out of wood and silver, and I am pretty sure Mother Nature gave us both those ingredients. Thank you m’lady.

1) I began by laying out all my materials and tools. This is a good way to check if you are missing anything crucial.

Is that an issue of Worn in the background?! Why yes it is.

A closer look at the main ingredients: wooden beads, chain, silver doodads

2) Next I eyeballed a length of chain. I knew that I would be adding additional strands, so I made the first length of chain a bit shorter than I wanted the finished product to be. I splurged and bought chain that is actually silver plated, nickel-free so that I don’t have an allergic reaction. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing pure silver until I win the gosh darn lottery.

3) I threaded the wooden beads onto some pliable wire and finished the ends in a loop. I then connected the wire loops to the chain using a small ring — for this step you will need the pliers.

When the first string of beads was all finished, the necklace looked like this:

4) The next step is incredibly crucial. Pour chocolate-covered almonds into a bowl and photograph it only after you have eaten a considerable portion. This way, it does not look like you started with so many and ended with so few.

In the end I really got in the groove and made not one, not two, but three necklaces! Each one is slightly different, but they also look lovely all together. The techniques for making each one was the same, and really, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to make jewelry.

It was very affirming to hear from the Obamas and Queen Elizabeth such praise as, “The necklace matches my diamond-encrusted crown so nicely,” and “Your jewelry helps me lead America in groundbreaking style.”

Come on now Barack, I’m blushing.

- Carmen Vicente