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Oct 1, 2010

Replacing a mens shirt collar -- it CAN be done!

Friends, I've always liked this white shirt I stitched for myself in November 2009 and planned to wear to the dreaded event you know where -- now tomorrow, OMG!

Which reminds me: I must make an appointment at the beauty shop...

I was wanting to wear this lovely white shirt tomorrow -- you know the story -- but I had to do something about the collar.  The interfacing hadn't fused well and the collar was visibly puckered.

So I replaced it!  Here's how.

With my seam ripper, I carefully removed the collar stand and attached collar.  Have you ever seen anything yuckier-looking?  The shame...

I then ironed the now-collarless shirt.  The old edgestitching along the neck was still intact.  This is important to keep the area from stretching.

I still had some of the white shirting left, luckily.  (I'd recently dumped a big bag of fabric scraps and was happy to discover this wasn't among of them.)  I experimented with some interfacings I have, but the heavier one was too much like the one that hadn't fused successfully the first time, and the weft-weight one showed through the very fine fabric.

This shirting is so extremely tightly woven it's difficult to get a pin through.  I decided to interface with another layer of my fabric.

I start on the collar: cutting, stitching, trimming, turning, pressing, and topstitching.

I then sew my inside collar band (the side without the interfacing -- the interfaced side will become the outside band) to the inside of the shirt: right side of band to wrong side of shirt.

Separate from the shirt, I attach my finished collar to the outside band along the top: right side of collar band to wrong of collar (which is how they will appear on the completed shirt).

I then stitch the two collar bands together as I would a shirt cuff, and turn.

To finish, I topstitch along the outer edge of the collar band.  Sometimes I go around the whole collar band, sometimes I don't (don't tell David Coffin!).

I then add button and buttonhole (this hole will be horizontal, not vertical like those on the buttonhole placket).

Voilá -- much improved!

I feel so much happier with the new collar, friends, and more confident.

Today I just have to hem my corduroy pants...

and get myself mentally psyched for the big event!

Any questions about the collar?  Last-minute fashion tips?

Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. The new collar looks even better than the first. Well done!

    Last minute fashion tips? None. Just go and enjoy yourself! You might want to leave those scary scissors at home, though. ;-)

  2. Enjoy, enjoy...I had an absolute blast at my 30th. There is something magical and youthful about hearing the old songs, seeing the old friends and drinking...which I could not do in high least legally...but it adds a whole knew depth to the dreaded affair.

  3. I apologize for preparing to wander a bit off topic here, because the collar looks great and I struggled with collar stands for a loooong time, but I'd appreciate a future tutorial on finishing the hem of the foot (post reunion, of course). I'm *this* close to being able to compose a shirt myself, but can't roll a hem to save my life, even with a rolled hem foot, David Coffin's book, and google. Those little unfinished edges always peek out at me so mischievously and I wonder if you've struggled with the same problem.

  4. Well done & a resurrected shirt to boot.

  5. Have a great time! I think you've gotten more than enough (conflicting) fashion advice on here the last few days. The new collar looks fab, not that the old one looked that terrible. One of these days I'll tackle a collar with a stand. Or maybe not, since my husband prefers his shirts with just the stand, no roll collar at all. Anyway ;). Have a great time!

  6. Two things about a rolled hem on a shirt:

    Using a rolled hem foot is, imo, not worth the effort. Rolled hem feet work great on straight edges: the bottom of a mens shirt is generally NOT straight, plus you're going to be hitting seams along the way, requiring you to start and stop again.

    I do the rolled hem on a shirt like this: I roll a roughly 1/8 inch hem by hand and stitch. I press it. Then I do it again. That's it!

    It looks fine and it is SO much easier. Let's face it, most of the time the hem's going to be tucked in your pants.

    Hope that helps.

  7. It looks fantastic! Enjoy the event!

  8. Oh yeah, that helps a lot! I was gradually moving in that direction, but was still trying to roll everything and then stitch once. Your method sounds so much easier. I'll give it a shot tonight.


  9. Peter, you really are good with shirts, making them and remaking them. You should set up a side business of custom shirts.

  10. I have been wanting to redo some shirt collars-sometimes the points are just not right or too narrow. Now I can't wait to start. Thanks a lot. I love recycling my clothes.

  11. I haven't had time to comment lately, but I've been following along. I think your final outfit looks great --it suits you perfectly!

    I remember my mother mentioning how men's shirt collars would be removed, turned over, and restitched when the top became worn to prolong the life of the shirt --Depression Era sewing.

    Have fun at the big event!

  12. Looks fantastic, as usual with your sewing skills :) And I also agree, no more fashion tips for you...just go, be the Peter we love and have a great time!

  13. OMG. It's like magic! Amazing!

  14. Hand hem the corduroy pants. They'll look more expensive (and better) that way.

  15. Nice save on the shirt. If this is a reunion number more than 20, be prepared to find a bunch of old people hanging around, and wonder who they are and where the younger crowd to which you so obviously belong has gone! Even at 20 years out, you begin to wonder how some people have aged so poorly. Enjoy yourself!

  16. That shirt looks really nice. I like your topstitching. You did a great job! Have fun and don't forget your camera!

  17. Lovely work. The self-interfacing (if that's what you'd call it) was a great idea. I'm beginning to wonder if fusible interfacing is really a bad idea on shirt collars. I've had similar puckering experiences and re-pressing only produces newly horrible bubbly bits. I used lightweight non-fusible interfacing on a cotton voile mandarin collar recently and was much happier with the results.
    Have fun at your reunion!

  18. Well done! I think that getting a shirt collar and stand just right is a really tricky job but you have clearly mastered the art. You're going to look great - have a lovely time and don't forget we want to hear all about it!

  19. You look great. Go wow them :-).

  20. Peter, just listed a shirt pattern you might like in your size

  21. It's a bit like dressing for the prom all over again, isn't it? Ha.

    Have a great time!

  22. Well done - I'm terrible at fixing things!
    You can't go wrong with a white shirt and that smile of yours - have fun!

  23. I've turned a few collars on my husband's RTW shirts. I wish they had done as good a job as you have done on that collar. Love reading your stuff. You are actually teaching me new things.

  24. nicely done! i'll keep i mind that it's possible;)

  25. Thank. It makes me feel great when I read all these stories. It helps me from hopelessness and make me more stronger to fly… thank… for everything.

  26. I have a favorite native pattern flannel shirt whose collar and cuffs have worn badly. I would like to replace them with a leather(diedb. Living in Tulsa, Ok, where can I go to learn how to do this myself, or where can I find someone to do this for me?

  27. My thanks, and a tip on interfacing substitutes! The thanks: I needed to make a collar and very wide lapels for a from-scratch cosplay outfit for my son. So Google sent me here, and this post saved me probably two days of trial and error. Hooray!

    The tip: I've never had good results with interfacing either, so I tried buckram instead (the collar and lapels for the piece HAD to be very stiff). It worked *wonderfully.* It doesn't seem to be widely available in fabric stores, but you can get it online for pretty cheap.

    Again, thanks for this post!


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