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Jan 16, 2011

I (collar) Stand Corrected or "Dubarry 1939 men's shirt breakthrough"



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:





With 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. 

Have a happy Sunday and see you on the morrow!

34 comments:

  1. Handsome, dapper, and smart! Happy Sunday Peter!

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  2. Another triumph Peter!
    Thanks for the heads-up on the sew-along pattern, I've just ordered it from sewbox.co.uk and have a 200 threadcount cotton eagerly awaiting construction - roll on February.
    Have a good day

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  3. Hurray!! I'm glad you figured it out!! That *is* a beautiful fit!!

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  4. Good thing you remembered to attach suspenders + to your pajama bottoms - I would have been offended by your casual attire otherwise.

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  5. It's a gorgeous shirt Peter. the collar is perfect. What did you decide to use for interfacing on it?

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  6. Gorgeous! And so educational, too!

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  7. It makes sense now that you put it that way. Looks really good, even at 5am (on a Sunday? why, oh why?). Even if we get the impression you wear suspender with pajama pants..

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  8. It's a nice looking shirt. Can you wear the shirt without an attached collar, like a collarless band?

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  9. First, I'm a new follower, and I'm madly in love with your blog, your projects, your wit and your gorgeous hands! Second, those striped pants you're wearing in the photos above, need to leave your house and come to mine.
    Third, I'm so glad you figured out the detachable collar so I didn't have to! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Lovely. I'm digging the fit of this, it's inspiring me to get down to business and make a dress shirt for The Hubby. He has ridiculously broad shoulders but an itty-bitty waist so nothing off the rack fits him.

    And I think that detachable collar is genius.

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  11. Great shirt, Peter and glad the mystery of the collar band is now solved. On the other hand, it was not just men's shirts that had this feature. My mom was a nurse in the 30s and 40s and her uniforms (she was in Scotland; perhaps US nurse uniforms were different) not only featured detachable collars but also detachable cuffs. The uniforms (unlike US nurse uniforms) were a medium blue; she once told me she had two sets of collars and cuffs that the hospital laundry use to wash, starch and iron for her: ones that matched the uniform and ones in white. She also had a scarf sort of nurse's cap (totally unlike US nurse caps which she always felt were stupid and useless because they did not cover the hair for cleanliness issues, again that came in either medium blue or white and was also washed, starched and ironed very stiff so that it stood out, almost like a nun's wimple, over her hair and out the back of her head. But the whole detachable collar/cuffs thing on men's shirts also was a way to extend the life of the shirt itself since the collar and cuffs were the parts that wore out the fastest.

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  12. very nice! And it makes a lot of sense. I've run into quite a few toddlers' dresses that feature detachable collars. I have never actually finished one that way and sewed them in place instead. I assume it was either for similar reasons or to make one dress into two.

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  13. I am making a Burda pattern for the sew along; it's a vintage looking shirt, with a tuxedo inset and no collar. But! This makes me think I should make a separate collar to go with it. I love how yours turned out-inspiring and smart.

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  14. Love the shirt. And the PJs add to the 30s look (well, at first glance). But, what are you doing up at 5am in the middle of winter? Does Michael snore? Do you go to bed at 8pm? Or is it all that chihuahua ear flapping that gets you out of bed?

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  15. I am loving the whole look you presented this a.m. Also loving(and very grateful!) for the info, because like you, I wasn't making sense of it all!

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  16. It looks lovely. And while I suspect my husband would never consent to a detachable collar shirt, the mystery was driving me mad, so I'm glad for the update!

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  17. I found a big box of detachable collars last time I went thrifting. Every molecule in my body screamed to buy them but it seemed a little ridiculous.

    I like your shirt, collarless looks like an amish farmer. In the best way possible.

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  18. The shirt has a nice fit. I'm not a big fan of today's loose, saggy fit clothing.

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  19. Great job- AS ALWAYS! Also, I really enjoyed your "Superman" pose in your photos. :)

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  20. Looks great on your boyish figure. How's the sleeve length? I don't know what is considered "correct" but I assume the wearer's comfort must play into that.

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  21. Love your shirt - both with and without the collar. I think you have got the fit spot on - classic lines, and the trim narrow look is very flattering. A gentleman shouldn't be swamped by his shirt!

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  22. I've caved, I'll be joining your Negroni shirt Sew-Along. Pattern has been ordered and I'm going to fetch some 100% cotton plaid flannel from Fabricland. I know I'll be behind but I'll catch up quickly as I usually finish a project in a weekend. Will work on DH's coat until I get the pattern.

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  23. LOVE THE BLOG DUDE. GREAT WORK. THANKS FOR SHARING.

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  24. great blog, where can I find long collared 30s shirt patterns , please answer.

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    Replies
    1. The best places to look are eBay and Etsy. Look often: they turn up eventually.

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  25. im a shirt maker but cant find patterns for these types of shirts

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  26. hey I am looking for collar pattern piece templates..
    if you could please email me some cindangula@gmail.com just the drawing outline pattern piece, i can work out size as im trying to make detachable collars for a Uni project

    thank you

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  27. I was looking at old family photos (farming in UK) and working in a shirt without the collar attached was commonplace.

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  28. Just stumbled on your blog while looking for info on collerless shirts and detachable collars. I need to make one for a costume I'm making. You've just cleared up a question I had about if the collar goes outside or inside as I'm drafting this from scratch.

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