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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Collar stays

Even here at Santa's workshop our minds wander to other topics.

Like the shirts we are going to be making in the New Year with this load of white fabric brought across the Canadian border by various family members in various suitcases.

The more I think about it the more I am interested in the differences between a shirt made for a man and a shirt sewn by a woman for herself.

I made a shirt in the spring for my sartorial son in DC. He said all the right things but told me that the next one should have collar stays.

OK, why do you think a man's dress shirt has collar stays? To keep the points crisp, right? To add more to the body of the interfacing?


It seems that the point of the stay is to hold the collar up and close to your neck when you aren't wearing a tie (which I don't). Interesting isn't it?

Now I think of it your average tailored shirt on me can look sort of sloppy as in Exhibit Unstiffed from this website 

Food for thought isn't it? Santa never stops thinking.


Karin said...

This is a new use for collar stays to me! My husband works in a conservative environment and never removes his tie at work. He uses collar stays to keep everything looking crisp and tickety-boo.

Sigrid said...

There was a discussion about a Knip Mode pattern a few weeks ago on PR. It lead me to find this variation of a collar stay (no hardware needed. I placed a picture in my picture album:

Debbie Cook said...

My son came home from USMC boot camp a couple of weeks ago (gone again now, sigh!) and during his visit, I learned about a collar stay I had never seen before. It may actually be old, like pre-WWII, I don't know. Anyway, it's sort of like a safety pin bent into an L. No clasp end, but the circle-y joint in the middle, if you can imagine. It's actually *stuck* into the collar, without that little stay "pocket" you see on men's shirts. Then the unstuck other end is twisted around under the collar and rests at the seam of collar and stand.

I know this is probably as clear as mud. Oh wait ... Google to the rescue:


Rose said...

Hmmm...This definitely is something to consider. My collar looked like the unstiffed one in the picture. My workmanship was so poor that that I threw the shirt in the bin and then took it out again a couple of days later. I have enough fabric to make another collar and stand. The ucky one is off the shirt. I need the practice anyway....after I finish playing Santa. I may just add a collar stay while I'm practicing.

Alison said...

The collar stays (in the images you linked to) have a magnet that keeps the collar in that position, it took me a while to figure it out, but by looking around on that website, it became clear.

Most collar stays are not held in place by magnets, and while they do keep collar points tidy, do not hold the collar in any particular orientation...

Barbara said...

Thank you for your comments and Sigrid for the link. Also Debbie was was very interested in your Marine collar stay, which interested me because when I think of the Marines, I think of those high close collars. And Alison you are right the magnets are weird, but don't any kind of stay hold a collar up a bit?

Debbie Cook said...

Yes, the dress blues have those high collars. But those are not worn every day, even though they look so nice! ;-) In their "regular" uniforms, they wear khaki shirts and ties, with olive green pants. It's those shirts that get the stays. Like these: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/DutyDressEnlisted.jpg

Barbara said...

This is so interesting Debbie thanks for the links. To tell you the truth whenever I think of the US Marines I think of those collars, good to know how it is done.

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wiljee said...

I've been making my own shirts for over fifty years and always used collar stays until about thirty years ago when they became hard to find but I have found some on Ebay and will use them again, I had forgotten how to make the channel in the under collar, however, there is plenty of help online - so my new ones shall have stays, they do give a good finish to the collars..Will

Robert Hookano said...

I also agree with Alison's point as "Most collar stays are not held in place by magnets, and while they do keep collar points tidy". A Hula or sports collar stay is one of the best options that you may consider to make your collar crisp with using any magnet. simply peel and stick it beneath the collar to keep your shirt collars straight all day long.