Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!

Feb 5, 2011

Men's Shirt Sew-Along 5 -- Collars and Cuffs and (belch) Interfacing

Goodness, is it Saturday already?

I hope you didn't think you were going to get the weekend off like on those other blogs.  I suppose you'll expect me to sing Do Re Mi and put on marionette shows, too.  (I would be open to a play clothes-from-curtains sew-along, however.)  Let's focus, people!

OK, today we're going to interface and do some more sewing.

Our goals today are:

1. Interface what needs interfacing

2. Stitch our cuffs together

3.  Craft our collar

1. There's not a whole lot that needs interfacing in the Negroni shirt pattern -- top of cuffs, top of collar, and facings. 

NOTE: If you've read the "Learn from my mistakes!" section of the Flickr group, you know that I used my shirt fabric to interface my facings and they came out a bit too heavy  (my muslin fabric is similar weight to quilting cotton).  The outer edges were also too thick when I enclosed them.  Keep this in mind.  You may not need to interface your facings.  It really depends on the weight of your fabric.  Regardless, there's a tutorial on how to get a clean finished edge on the facings using interfacing and avoid having to fold the edge over twice and stitch.  You can find it here.

I'm not going to go into detail about interfacing, a topic I've covered recently.  If you want to fuse, fuse, if you want to use sew-in or self fabric, do that.  Do what works and if you're not sure what works, experiment.  One rule that seems to apply is that cheap fusibles aren't worth the effort.  How do you know if yours is a cheap fusible?  When in doubt, avoid, perhaps.

I attached the interfacing (in this case, another layer of my fabric) to the facing by stitching at 1/8", safely within the seam allowance.  If you're trying this and the layers are not stitching together neatly, try a good dry pressing first or a walking foot.  Or -- heaven forbid -- hand baste.   As you know, there is a tendency for our presser foot to push the top layer of fabric toward us and the feed dogs to pull the bottom layer away, resulting in some mismatching of layers.  A walking foot can help to eliminate or reduce this problem if you're experiencing it (I didn't with my treadle.).

I used black woven interfacing for the outer layer (the visible layer facing out on the completed shirt) of my collar.  I have come to the conclusion that this interfacing sucks and am dumping it all.  It's too stiff.

Now I stitch my collar pieces together, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER around three sides (see instructions).  The collar has a normal 5/8" seam allowance.   After stitching, I trim the seam allowances.  Trim close to the corners and clip rounded edges up to but not beyond the stitch line: we're going to be turning the collar right side out.  A wooden point turner can help here but if you don't have one you can improvise with a letter opener.  Like the pocket flaps, we want to shape the corner over the point turner, not jab the turner into the corner.  Jab hard enough and that point turner is going to poke right through guaranteed.

Now press.  Remember that we want the edge of the top collar to go an itty bit beyond the edge of the under collar.   Since I'm using a different fabric for the bottom (and it's red!), this is essential.  I find it helps to press with the top collar on top and make sure you can't see any of the seam as you press along the edge.  You might have to tug a bit on the bottom layer to pull it away.  Whatever it takes.

Now topstitch neatly at 1/4".  Here's my completed collar:

The side you left open can now be stitched closed, just keep the stitching at less than the  5/8" seam allowance you'll use when you attach collar to shirt.

3. Finally, let's stitch our cuffs together.  I interfaced the outer cuff with another layer of fabric, stitching in the seam allowance at 1/8", just as I did for my facings.

Now stitch inner and outer layer, with RIGHT SIDES together, using a 3/8" seam allowance. 

BUT FIRST, FIRST FIRST, turn the top edge of what will be the OUTSIDE of the cuff (this will be the interfaced piece if you interfaced), down 3/8".  You'll realize why this is important when we attach the cuffs to our sleeves.

You should end up with something like this.

Sew-Alongers, fence-sitters, and rubber neckers, that's it for today.  As always I am here to answer your questions and reply to your comments.  We're going to start putting this baby together tomorrow.

As always, work at your own pace and don't beat yourself up if it your results aren't perfect.   We're here to learn.

Happy -- and successful -- sewing, everybody!


  1. *squeal*
    those pictures of the 3/8" seam allowance, with the ruler... and the cute fabrics.... this is why I sew.
    Precision is so hot.

    Peter, you are so good at explaining things!

  2. Great photos. One trick I use to make cuffs is to attach the top cuff to the sleeve first then assemble the cuff with the bottom cuff. This way you are guaranteed for an exact fit.

  3. As a rubbernecker, I appreciate the detailed descriptions and photos. The photos are very good illustrations of what you are describing. Great job!

  4. Looking good! It's cool that you're sewing this with your treadle.

    Does the Negroni have separate upper and lower collar pieces?

    Back to Ye Olde Sewing Chamber to stuff me some britches. ;-)

  5. I am having a great time sewing along with you Peter. Thanks so much! And I absolutely love "The Sound of Music", that was one of my favorite scenes, along with 16 going on 17 song. Happy sewing to you too!


    ps I'm glad to not take a break on the weekend, I was wondering about what you were going to do. : )

  6. Did you use your point presser with clapper to press the collar? Is it worth the price?

  7. Thanks, all!

    Anonymous, honestly, for a cotton shirt you don't need a point presser with clapper. I haven't used mine at all on this project.

  8. my son calvin did a dance to the lonely goatherd when he was in third grade. only it was to a re-mixed version by lora munro. it was awesome.

    this video starts with do-re-mi, but the lonely goatherd starts at 3:30

    (i have not made ANY progress on my shirt!)

  9. I'm just sitting down to do my cuffs and collar!

  10. Perhaps some would like a post about why the yokes on some mens shirts have a seam down the middle. My husband has had a shirt about 20 years, a good quality oxford cotton, from Nordstrom's, a store here on the west coast, I bought it at a thrift store. The stitching is excellent, I have never had to clip a thread or replace a button in all this time, and it has been worn and washed constantly over the twenty years. The only thing is that the yoke has this seam down the middle and it has bothered me as to why they did that. And the seam is not the usual 5/8 inch, but much wider.

  11. Hi Peter,

    Great posts so far - thank you! Are you going to post a tutorial on how to convert the one-piece collar to a collar stand and collar? I am quite keen to learn how to do this and seem to remember that you were going to do this?

    Thanks again!!

  12. Finished my plackets today and, following Sarai's instructions, attached the sleeves (loved how she presses 1/4" on the sleeve head before attaching, worked beautifully!) and did a little embroidery. It was a good day!

  13. Rachel, I'll be covering that as soon as we finish with the Negroni muslin.

  14. Thanks Peter. Do you think I should make the muslin using the one-piece collar, or leave the shirt collar-less for the time being?

  15. Rachel, why don't you give the one-piece collar a try. It makes a very cute shirt.

  16. More great stuff thanks Peter. If the pattern does not include separate upper and under collar pieces, you can simply trim a wee bit off the upper collar piece at the long side that will be stitched to the under collar. Press as you describe, and line up the unsewn edges for basting together before you topstitch. The seam has no option but to roll a little to the under collar

  17. Do you have any suggestions for adding pockets for "collar stays" or "collar tabs"? Just doing preliminary research now on copying my husband's london bespoke shirts......thanks!!!

    1. I'm pretty sure those are covered in David Coffin's Shirtmaking book, if you want to give that a look. It's a great resource to have.

  18. I really like your instructions. You explain everything very clearly and the pictures are amazingly helpful. Thank You :)

  19. What would you say is the best interlining for collars and cuffs? What do companies like Charvet use?

    1. That's an excellent question. A lot of sewers swear by the interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I don't know what high-end shirtmakers use but it would be interesting to find out!

  20. Hi I am a rubber necker and love reading this sew along as I mentally sew my negroni. You are so funny! Just reading this is rewarding. Maybe someday I'll actually get to the shirt.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails