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Jun 11, 2019

Sewing the "Italian Collar" Vintage Shirt Pattern!


Readers, I don't really know why this style shirt collar was often referred to as "Italian" during its years of popularity in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

You may remember that I sewed a shirt with this style collar a few years ago.  For some reason the Butterick pattern I used then resulted in an extremely roomy shirt, almost too roomy.  I am happy to report that the Italian collar-style shirt pattern I purchased recently (up top) on eBay has much less design ease.  It's actually quite trim for a pattern of this era.


Simplicity 3875 probably dates from around 1961 or so.  You might be curious to see the pattern pieces for the front.  They're somewhat unusual.  The bottom half of the front facing is cut in one with the front and folded under.  The top half of the front facing piece is drafted to include the under collar.  It is joined to the folded facing about 1/3 down the shirt front.  You have to sew that joining seam carefully (especially where it pivots from vertical to horizontal) and clip into the seam allowance carefully too or you're going to have a hole in the front of your shirt.  If I recall correctly, the Butterick pattern I used on the other Italian collar shirt had a completely separate front facing.



For this shirt I used a fabric remnant left over from a project from a few years back.  I barely had enough fabric and had to make my inside yoke and under collar out of a different fabric. Luckily, I still had the matching thread I'd purchased at Sil Thread.




Aside from that front facing thing, the shirt was easy to sew and I really like the way it turned out.  It's a very sporty, summery look.


Here are a few more details:

There's a side vent, which is nice to have on shirt you don't tuck in; it's more flattering around the hips.


Like so many men's casual shirts, there are back side pleats below the back yoke,  a few inches in from each sleeve.


I did my best to match the pattern across the front.  The buttons are vintage gray plastic ones from my stash.


The only change I made to the pattern was to fold out 1" of ease in the sleeve.  My professor at FIT who taught men's shirtmaking stated explicitly that in a men's shirt like this one, or any garment where the sleeve is inserted flat, there is no need for extra ease.  (Naturally, a wool jacket would be a whole other story.)


And that's it!

Readers, have you ever sewn an Italian collar shirt--or even heard of one?

Have a great day, everybody, and happy sewing!

15 comments:

  1. Flattering and fun! You could have been a Jansen model.

    Your button collection/stash could make the petty among us show their true colors. I, of course, am admiring (you have a designer's eye).

    Now, how this garment did not get absconded by a certain husband of yours, we'll never know (dead bolt on the closet?). By the by, does he ever get a star turn, again, in this blog?

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  2. Don't remember hearing about the Italian collar, but I love it. Not sure I'd like sewing that front facing, however. You have made a beautiful shirt; looks great on you.

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  3. This is lovely and the fabric choices and buttons are sublime. Never come across an "Italian " collar either but I have never sewn a man's shirt. It look fabulous on. Xx

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  4. Brian in AlbertaJune 11, 2019 at 7:39 PM

    The Italian collar is new to me but I like it a lot. Any chance on seeing it with a casual jacket over top? Something like a Harrington fie example.

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  5. Love the shirt, the collar (tho that first button might be too high on someone not as fit as you!) I am amazed that you managed to match the stripe of the printed emblems despite having very little fabric! Whew!
    Looks great,
    Nancy

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  6. I have an Armani (who is Italian) linen shirt with such a collar. David Page Coffin has examples in his book on shirts. I’ve not ventured into making one.

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  7. sure...had lots of them when I was a kid growing up in the 50's...always loved that look...I have that same pattern, but not yet made one.....yours looks terrific & love your fabric........

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  8. Wow. Learn something new! This is actually my favorite collar. But I have always had a tough time finding it in shirts that fit me. I think they look really nice with a silk tie since they don't have a lot of bulk. I never knew that's what this collar was called until now. Thanks.

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  9. Sewing pattern for our 1974 high school mixed chorus uniform described it as having an "Italian collar." Dress closed up the back, with a split back collar. The bodice fronts did extend up into a facing/lapel, inset as is the collar on your pattern.

    I dimly remember it as being semi-hellish to construct, but the result was very comfortable -- and flattering to any number of body shapes. Simplicity 5728, made famous by Tanit-Isis in her blog.

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  10. Love this. FYI, Merchant & Mills has a dress pattern with a similar front facing. As a novice sewer, it had me scratching my head. Once done, it looked good and fits really well. Re sleeve ease: Almost every pattern I've sewn for women's shirts/dresses has way too much ease, leading to the dreaded puffy sleeve cap. I'll try the fold-over fix next time.

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    Replies
    1. You can also slash to the sleeve hem and take the ease mainly out of the cap itself rather than folding a straight line down the full length of the sleeve.

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    2. Nice! I was going to mention your resulting sleeve didn’t look too tight as a result of your alteration, and your second mention is one that would probably be a great option.

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  11. Wow! That is a very nice looking shirt. Not too loose, not too snug.You do very nice work!

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  12. pages 98-111 of David Page Coffin's book the Shirtmaking Workbook, Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources concentrates on collars. All kinds and shapes of collars and their necklines. The chapter on Combinations, or Italian Collars starts on page 98 with many downloads possible from the website that accompanies this book. I really like the Italian collar. You need this book, Peter. It is available on Amazon with many buying options.

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    Replies
    1. I was just reading it last night -- it's in my collection (and I'm included in it, p. 77)!

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