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Shirt Self-Education: Collar, Chapter 1

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

You have to put on the collar before you can get to the sleeve and then the cuff. With that in mind, and in the interest of educating myself in the area of men's shirt collars, I took it upon myself to rip into one of Mr H's old shirts.

Now, I certainly have no expert knowledge to apply to an analysis of what I rip. I've made a few dozen shirts using standard home-sewing methods, and, of course, read DP Coffin's Shirtmaking book, along with anything else I come across on the subject. I can, however, go at it with an understanding that the manufacturer has probably made many thousands of shirts, and is interested in speed, accuracy, and efficient use of materials. So, while both Mr H and I have been happy enough with our shirts, there's always room for improvement, right?



There are about 10 of these photographs, so I'll show you some of them today and some later. Here's the sacrificial shirt. It's an inexpensive department store shirt of the type that suited Mr H just fine before I started making them for him...

The collar prior to ripping.

Before ever touching the shirt with the seam ripper, I notice several things:

  1. There's no topstitching on the overlap side of the CF band. Only the buttonholes hold that part together. I checked several other RTW shirts, and they are all this way.
  2. The underlap side of the band is topstitched and is narrower than the overlap.
  3. The buttonholes are about 5/8ths inch for 3/8ths inch buttons. That's probably why Mr H always complains about my buttonholes being too tight.
  4. The inner collar and stand are heavily interfaced.
  5. The outer collar and stand are not interfaced.
  6. The inner collar has an extra row of topstitching like the cuff that I linked you to yesterday. (See pt 2 of that article.)
  7. I slipped my finger nail around the edges to see if I could tell which were edgestitched and which were stitched, turned, and topstitched. I could.
  8. The topstitching at the upper edge of the collar band stops at the seam allowance along the neck edge.
  9. There is an extra row of stitching visible at the neck edge on the inside. This would seem to indicate that the outer collar band had been sewn to the neck edge first.
  10. This shirt has no external pocket for collar stay. It feels as if there is one sewn into the collar.

The inner collar:
The Inner collar prior to ripping.

and the outer collar:
The Outer collar prior to ripping.