Category Archives: Patterns, vintage

Finished collar


You can see how the collar stays and additional fabric in the undercollar points (from the patch described below) give a nice appearance to the collar – no more curling collar tips! I’m pleased with the way this turned out. I used Palmer/Pletsch Sheer interfacing on both collars and bands. The end result is crisp without being boardy. I’ve had excellent results with this interfacing over the years. I only wish it were available by the bolt.

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Collar stays

My vintage pattern calls for buttonholes in the under collar to accommodate the collar stays. I really don’t like that idea. Instead I like to use what I refer to as the patch method. It is neat, easy and adds more body and weight to the points of the collar – especially helpful in a large collar such as this. What I do is fold a piece of the fashion fabric in half on grain. I then place it across the under collar with the fold at the stay opening, trimming away any excess around the collar. To reduce some of the bulk in the very tip of the point I trim about 3/4″ across the point from the underlayer only. Do not trim anything from the upper layer. If you do, it will show later. After stitching the channels for the stays, the under collar is ready to be sewn to the upper collar.

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Neck Sizes


When I taught shirt-making I was often asked how to change the neck size of a pattern – usually how to increase the size. We are so used to simply adding on to a pattern in order to grade it up yet that is exactly the opposite of what must be done to increase the neck size. If you were to simply add on to the neck edge it would become smaller as you can see from the pattern here. In order to increase the neck size you must make the opening larger by removing material. Little or nothing is removed at the back neck edge as neck size does not increase in that area. Of course, the easiest thing to do is buy a pattern that has cutting lines for various neck sizes like Kwik-Sew 2777 that is shown here. However, that doesn’t always fit in with our plans, does it? If you make a lot of shirts you can cheat a bit by making templates from a pattern such as this. It works and it’s easy to do.

Once you’ve made the neck opening larger you will need to increase the length of the stand and collar. I like to walk the neck edge along the stand to see how much extra length I’ll need. On my son’s shirt I needed an extra 2″ so I slashed the stand in four places and added 1/2″ at each slash. I knew I’d need 2″ in the collar as well but I walked the collar along the stand just to be sure. A typical shirt collar runs from center front to center front but you’ll want to check your pattern in case it’s different from the norm.

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Filed under Alterations, Fabric, Patterns, vintage, Tutorials

My Son’s Prom Shirt


My son wants a 1970s-style shirt to wear to the prom. I found a couple of vintage patterns on Ebay. The one pictured here is the one we’ve decided to use as we both like the lines and fit. Unfortunately, it isn’t his size – he’s a 38 with a 16 1/2 neck – so I’m grading it up. I’ve done the tissue-fitting and am taking time off today to make the alterations and cut a quick muslin. He will be home from practice around 7:00 tonight so hopefully I can cut the shirt out tonight and sew it up tomorrow. Prom is on Saturday night and he has a game on Friday night – oh, and then there’s WORK – so I don’t have much free time. But I’m not worried. Once I have the fit down, it’ll only take a couple of hours to make the shirt. Groovy, huh?

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