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How to fold Litzen
By Brad Hubbard and Alois Jelen


Litzen (or "collar tabs" as they're often called) are among the most difficult pieces of insignia to get right and as a result the ones that are usually incorrectly applied on reproduction uniforms.  It takes a good deal of patience & practice to get the hang of, especially when you're not doing it over and over all day long as the workers in German uniform factories did during WWII.

This article focuses exclusively on folding and pressing the Litzen to prepare them for sewing.
F
or a more complete and in-depth look at thier placement and application on tunics, see this article: 
Heer Tunic Insignia Application Guide

Step 1: Lay Litzen on a smooth surface and iron flat if it is not already.

Step 2: Identify the angle created by the ends of the two outer bars.  Fold & iron the edges of the Litzen back to match that angle so that both edges are parallel with the ends of the outer bars and each other.  The angle should ideally intersect with or be very close to the pointed ends of the center bar.

Step 3: Cut the strings so there are roughly equal amounts on either end.

Step 4: Flip it over. Fold back the edges ironed back in Step 2 so you have room to work.  Using the crease created from ironing in Step 2 as a guide and working one at a time, pull each group of strings inward to form a straight angle extending from the edge of the fold line to where the loose strings begin.  While holding them down, iron the angle flat one set of strings at a time.  It's tricky - be careful not to burn yourself!
TIP: If you're having a lot of trouble with this section (it's the hardest part) it can be helpful to put a tiny dab of clear Elmer's glue on your pointer finger and literally press down on the edge of the angle you're trying to create.  Careful though, if you use too much it will soak through to the front and stain your insignia.

Step 5: With the strings ironed down, identify the corner of the insignia that stuck out when laid face up back in Step 3. Fold and iron it back at the same angle created when you pulled the string inward in Step 4.
TIP: It's better to fold over a little too much of the corner than too little in this step.

Step 6: Inspect to ensure that none of the folded edges or strings can be seen when the Litzen is flipped over to the right side.  Everything should be cleanly folded, tucked, and pressed toward the reverse.  It's common to spend extra time on this step tucking little bits and pieces in and pressing them.
TIP: Press - don't drag - the iron over the insignia or you'll end up undoing other parts.

Step 7: Repeat with the other side.  Once both are cleanly folded, you're ready to sew them on.  See our Heer Tunic Insignia Application Guide for a detailed look at how to properly apply Litzen to a tunic.


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