Big aha moment yesterday after copious research by my skeletal weekend staff yielded important shirt collar-related information. Come play detective with me.
1. You make a detachable collar shirt pattern dating from the Thirties. The neck band, which is attached to the shirt, is narrow, and a snug 14 - 14 1/2 inches. It looks like this:
2. You assume (the instructions are about as clear as Beowulf) that the collar must fit inside the band, like this:
3. But the collar stand (which they call the collar band -- don't tell David Coffin), and is stitched to the collar, is ever so slightly longer than the band on the shirt, and wider.
4. You later find these photos of shirts that seem remarkably similar to your own.
Wise readers, what would you conclude? You have five seconds.
Yes! You got it! The detachable collar-and-stand is meant to fit on the outside of the band. This is why the instructions tell you to put a buttonhole on the outer side of the collar band so the button doesn't make contact with your neck -- ergo, something outside the collar band (i.e., the collar stand) is being buttoned into the collar band.
This was back in the day when men didn't own a lot of shirts. The outside collar meant you could easily turn a work shirt into something you could wear, say, to church. As far as keeping the band clean, the stand sits taller on the neck than the band, so any dirt forming a ring on the collar would be on the top of the stand.
Why was this so difficult?
I tried it and it all makes sense. I cheated in one little way: I put a button at the neck of the collar stand so the stud attaching the collar band wouldn't have to go through all four layers.
I'm still not quite done with the shirt -- there's a whole lot of rolled hemming to do -- but here's how things stand (so to speak) as of 5 am this morning. Without collar:
I just love the cut of this shirt. The armhole is cut high and the whole look is trim and narrow. I'm already thinking about making it again now that I'm no longer stumbling in the dark. I skipped the French cuffs, by the way -- not a fan.
I'll take more photos of the shirt when I've completed it but I wanted to share this breakthrough with you ASAP. You shouldn't lose sleep over my problems.
Friends, that's it. I hope you're enjoying your weekend and sewing furiously -- as in excitedly, not angrily.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!