Then I remembered that a mandarin collar curves down in the front. Rounding off the square front would take away some cloth right where I want to be rid of it.
To figure out how to make that shape I got out the main book I use for reference:
Pattermaking For Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. In the chapter on collars, she shows how to make a pattern for it.
Of course, like all patterns, it needs to be modified to work with handwoven cloth. I needed to add an extra allowance for the bulky cloth on the top seam and for the flat felled seam connecting it to the garment.
Since I had to do another terrycloth test, I decided to try shortening this one as well as rounding the corners. What a pain that was! The shorter the collar gets, the less room there is for error. I had to pin it almost every inch to get it to behave.
It came out just as I wanted it and let me know that I do want the collar rounded and that I do not want it that short. The proportion to the rest of the ruana would make a tiny collar feel timid.
Instead of sewing another whole test, I decided that using my final cardboard curve template to cut and topstitch the existing square collar would be good enough. Even though my curves didn't match, I liked the result. It was very hard to cut into my expensive cloth without the absolute certainty that would have come from sewing just one more test, but I didn't want to take another hour to cut and sew another towel over such a minor change.
So I cut my cloth and the collar turned out fine.
The last thing to do before cutting the neck hole was to make sure it was placed carefully. Since I can make the back of the collar match the main body of the cloth, I want to be sure to cut it so that happens.
I did it and the final garment turned out beautifully. I'll list it tomorrow and notify the people who inspired me to design it. Woohoo!