I've always loved huge, dramatic collars on clothing. I think they are great statement pieces in and of themselves. Circus Couture has always been a fantastic avenue for me to try something new and for this year I chose to do a big, statement collar.
I don't have many photos of the process, but below are the steps and materials I used. HUGE thanks to David Tapia for the construction advice.
50 yards Millinery Wire Heavy Weight (white) from Richard the Thread (I only used about half of this wire)
hand sewing needles
white strip LEDs
white taffeta fabric
white sequin mesh fabric
a lot of time and patience
Using the wire I shaped the collar on my dress form. (I used masking tape to hold where the wires joined as I created the shape.) This can be a frustrating process as you're constantly stepping back to see that the collar is not symmetrical and then reshaping it.
Once I got the shape the way I wanted it I wrapped all intersections of the millinery wire with floral wire. (I just put this over the masking tape.) Then I covered the floral wire with the floral tape so the sharp edges of the wires weren't poking through. I made sure to put a lot of masking tape, floral wire, and even more floral tape along the bottom where the collar rested on my model's neck so it'll be more comfortable.
Once the wire portion of the collar was strong and secure I draped buckram over it and hand-stitched the buckram to the collar. (I used silamide and stitched cross-stitches over the wire joins.) This is a very long process, but the more you stitch it the stronger the collar will be. I did NOT want this thing falling apart from being manhandled too much.
Once all the buckram was on (I added it to both sides of the millinery wire for extra durability) I applied the LED strips. Instead of gluing the strips to the buckram I chose to hand stitch them in with silamide. The LEDs continued from the front to the back of the collar so I ran the LED wires along the bottom edge of the collar. (Once the fabric is on this wire won't be noticeable at all.)
I then laid the white taffeta fabric over the collar to create a pattern which I then used to cut out the white sequin mesh fabric. I flat lined these two fabric pieces together before stitching the top of the collar by machine, flipped it right side out and inserted the collar. I then hand stitched the rest of the collar closed.
Originally I had sewn a pocked on the front of the collar for the LED battery pack so it wouldn't be seen behind my model's head. However, that made the weight of the collar too much and as it was only attached to the corset by straps. Instead I placed the battery pack for the collar in the back of the corset and had the wire wrap down her back.
Fashion & costumes.