Transplanting a polo shirt collar onto a regular t-shirt

Ribbing for knit shirt necklines and sleeves as always bugged me a bit. Most of my knits are recycled from old and thrifted t-shirts, but it's difficult to reclaimed the ribbed necks. Mostly because they are too small after you cut it off the shirt and too worn and sun damaged. Buying new ribbing is usually difficult as my local fabric stores usually stock only 100% polyester scratchy stuff my children hate. I guess many people do not make t-shirts any more (I know, you can get two for $5 at Old Navy or Walmart - we can talk about this later :) Typically I try to use a thicker knit t-shirt with quite a bit of stretch, but it's not as great. I can't imagine why I never though of it before, but looking at a polo shirt the other day as it lay on my chopping block I thought, 'well, that will work.'

Polo shirt collars are much stiffer than you generally want ribbing to be and too thick to sew in folded, at least on a small child's shirt. Generally they are finished on three sides. I decided that all this wasn't a disadvantage at all if I altered slightly how the polo collar turned ribbing was sewn onto the shirt.

With the finished edge coming down around the neck, it changes the look of a basic t-shirt a bit. I kind of like it. It's certainly worth not having to fool around with trying to find non-scratchy ribbing to suit the kids.

Here is what I did:

The polo shirt,

Chop, chop!

The recipient shirt was all ready and the neckline divided into fourths, just like I usually do when sewing in ribbing.

The polo collar was cut to the appropriate length and evened out in width (polo shirt collars are not cut into perfect rectangles). When cutting the collar, I took into account the amount of stretch in the collar as well as how wide I wanted the collar to be. A wider collar gives more of a turtle neck look. I was very careful to maintain the finished edge of the collar (the bit in white).

The collar was sewn into a loop and divided into fourths.

With the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the shirt, the raw edge of the collar was sewn to the shirt.

Which looked like this when it was turned up:

To finish, I folded down the edge of the collar to the outside of the shirt,

and stitched it down, with the stitches running just below the seam (I actually turned up the seam allowance on the neck seam before I stitched past so I could get as close to the actual seam as possible).


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  1. That's great! Just like the buffalo, I can use ALL parts of the shirt! I use long sleeves to make baby pants, the chest to make little shirts and t-shirt dresses, and now the collar has a use too. Thanks so much!

  2. thanks, I have a few of them laying around too. BTW what a cytue ;-)

  3. Brilliant!! I knew there was a reason I wasn't throwing those polo collars away!

    I blogged about your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  4. Ahh, clever! Much nicer too, I'm not a huge fan of knit collars.
    Yours has tipped the balance!

  5. How neat! Thank you so much for sharing how you did that! You made it look so easy too!

    Come link your cute tute at my party: Thursday's Treasures!!

  6. I love that idea! Thank you for sharing. I have struggled with ribbed collars for years so I'm always up for trying something else. BTW, I, too, know that Hel-Mart and Old Navy have very inexpensive tshirts in large quantities. Their items almost seem disposable, that they are made to be worn once or twice, then thrown away. Is that why to tend to shun their come-hither prices? It is way more fun to be frugal to the bone, isn't it?!