How to Adapt a Collar for Bridging

Michié Mooney teaches an old-fashioned technique of bridging using a holiday suit for baby boy.

A cut of snowman ribbon dictated the entire direction of Michié Mooney’s grandson’s first Christmas outfit several years ago. First it set the color scheme – black featherwale corduroy would be both dashing and easy care. Second, it helped her land on bridging as a collar treatment – piping seemed too plain and lace competed with the ribbon.

“Bridging is a very old technique used to join strips of fabrics or laces together,” Michié said. “I first saw it on a baby outfit I received for my eldest son, but almost 20 years passed before I ran across instructions in an old sewing book and was able to teach myself how to do it. No one should have to wait that long to revisit this classic treatment, so I want to share this beautiful stitch along with the tips and hints I have learned through trial and error. Once I started putting my grandson’s suit together I realized how perfect it was to have the stark contrast of white bridging against the black suit fabric; it also enhanced the white of the snowman in the ribbon without competing against it.”

Follow Michié’s tutorial below, as featured in our November/December 2012 issue of Sew Beautiful (#141), to create bridging by hand and adapt a collar for bridging. This technique is perfect to use on heirloom garments year round!


Materials List (for garment as shown)

  • Pattern
  • Fabric
    • Black featherwale corduroy from Fabric Finders
    • White Classic Cotton
  • Notions
    • Vintage loomed snowman ribbon
    • Interfacing (medium weight)
    • Medium weight cotton/polyester blend or Hand Quilting Thread (for bridging)
  • Tools
    • 1/4-inch tube turner
    • Hand sewing needle
    • Water-soluble glue stick
    • Temporary spray adhesive
    • Water-soluble stabilizer
    • 100 size universal needle

Adapting a Collar for Bridging

A collar can be adapted to fit bridging with a few changes to the pattern.

1. Trace off collar piece onto pattern paper. Measure 1/4 inch inside the outer collar edge (not neckline) and trace new cutting line. Cut out new collar piece (fig.1).

2. Using a wash-away marking pen, trace off new (smaller) collar piece, twice (right and left) on wrong side of garment fabric block, positioning on grainline as pattern instructs. Trace off stitching line of outer collar edge, typically a 1/2- to 1/4-inch seam allowance; check pattern instructions.

3. Place traced collar block to same size block of lining fabric right sides together and matching grainline; pin. Sew directly on stitching line for both collars. Cut out collars on pattern tracing lines, trim if narrower seam allowance is desired, clip curves, turn right side out and press.

Bias Tube

1. Cut two 1-inch-wide bias strips of fabric long enough to fit around outer edge of each collar (fig. 2). Fold bias strip lengthwise and stitch a little less than 1/4 inch from folded edge. Trim seam to 1/8 inch (fig. 3). Turn bias strip right side out using a tube turner (fig. 4). Press tube flat.

Preparing for Stitching

1. Working with one collar at a time, cut a piece of interfacing about 3 inches larger than collar. Pin and baste collar to interfacing. Pin and baste one bias tube around outer edge of collar leaving 1/8-inch space between collar and bias tube (fig. 5). Press to set bias shape.

Bridging Stitch

1. All stitches should be about 1/8 inch apart and three to four fabric threads from finished edges. Stitches are staggered. Example: B is halfway between A and C.

2. Thread hand sewing needle and knot end of thread. Being careful not to stitch through interfacing, bring needle between collar and collar lining and out at point A.

3. Needle should be pointing toward next stitch and thread should be under needle for each stitch.

4. Insert needle through point B, with needle on top of thread; pull through (fig. 6). Insert needle through point C and continue stitching (fig. 7).

5. Continue stitching pattern around collar and tie off between collar and collar lining. Remove interfacing and repeat with second collar (fig. 8).

HINT: The stitches should be slightly closer together on the collar edge and slightly farther apart on the bias tube, so that the stitches are moving uniformly around the collar.

6. To tie off thread, remove a few basting stitches from interfacing to allow access between collar and collar lining. Insert needle into collar and tie off inside. To start a new thread, insert needle between collar and collar lining and bring needle out from the inside.

7. Attach collars to garment following pattern instructions.

Michié Mooney’s passion for sewing started over 30 years ago with the arrival of her first child. Her hobby became a business in 2000 when she launched the Creations by Michié line of sewing patterns and books. The patterns reflect the classic styles that she enjoyed sewing for her children and now grandchildren. Michié’s patterns are carried by many heirloom shops or may be ordered online at

Want more ideas from Michie? Here’s her tutorial on adding embellished double pintucks to a baby bubble.

Check out the November/December 2012 issue of Sew Beautiful for more ideas and inspiration. Better yet, grab the Sew Beautiful 2012 Collection CD for all seven issues from the 2012 calendar year! The full-color electronic versions of these magazines include easy-to-navigate tables of contents, easy-to-print patterns, how-to articles, designer details, and all the tips and techniques that Sew Beautiful is known for.



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