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I am a mother, a 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 book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Choose your poison - three collar methods to choose from

Right now I am working on Hot Patterns' Boxy Blouse.

Yes, I know I announced recently that I don't look good in things without shape, but what can I do? You can see what I am up against here.

Someone asked me recently what the purpose was in sewing so many white shirts, particularly when some may not be hits, as in misses.

Well there are many reasons, prime being because I feel like it, but in a sense they can be viewed as a series of muslins. I mean if I can come out of this with a couple of excellent shirt or blouse patterns and have nailed some techniques through practice, trail and error and more error, well I am ahead.

I have lots of nice fabric that would make nice shirts if I just had a pattern ...

Now not everything I wear will be to work, in fact with my work going to go part-time as in 2 days a week come the spring (that doesn't count prep which will still be done at the dining room table) my life is going to be more home-based. So clothes I will wear everyday are going to be just as much in my mind as those I wear in the classroom.

The Boxy Blouse looked to me as a good casual blouse. It has a dart and if I keep it as short as the style I will avoid the pillow case look of Tom Jones version 1.

Also the only real detail of any effort in it is the collar and I want to concentrate on that.

As far as I can see there are three shirt collar methods out there, if you exclude the hand-sewn down method most patterns suggest. Each method has it's variations but basically each keeps to the same approach.

It seems to me that in deciding what method works for you, you need to come to terms with the kind of sewer you are and where your own personal points of tension are.

The truth is not every sewer likes, or succeeds, with the same approach.

There is no one best method for anything.

So what you have to do is zero in on which tricky area you are best dispositioned to deal with.

Here are the choices:

1. The roll-it-out-of-the-way, all the action is in the curved edge of the band seam a.k.a. Burrito method: this works best with thin shirting fabrics because you want a tiny roll not a sausage roll, and IMO good hand-eye coordination.  Gigi favours this method which speaks for itself. Here is Gigi's version. I have used this method on men's shirts in the past and it worked well.

2. The slot-it-on method, all the action is depends on that front bump where the band meets the front: Used by Pam from Off the Cuff, and beautifully described and detailed here for us by Lisa here. This is the easiest method to conceptualize and depends on real precision sewing. Good one if you have a strong  left side to your brain. I used this method on my first white shirt.

3. The drop-in-the-collar method, a la Debbie and Belinda: in some ways a relative of the Burrito method but you just push the front out of the way for the curve sewing which is just for the short seam of the band curve,rather than making a tight roll or sewing a bit on the neckline seam too as you do in method one.  What distinguishes this approach is that the last thing you do is drop the collar into the band which diverts some of the action there. Since this is a method I haven't tried I am going to try that one with the Boxy Shirt.

Results in later.


L.R. Shimer said...

YWhat you said about muslins is what keeps me interested in the project that I keep starting to call “The Great White” project. We’re making wearable muslins.

The project has gotten me to fit in just a little more sewing in an unusually busy period in my life, because I'm doing more design thinking and planning than normal. It’s got me wanting to clear the decks of a final few projects so that I can be up to my elbows in (literally) white muslin. I have enough muslin for at least the first two shirts, and what is prettier and more delicate than a simple white muslin shirt.

Since I began to focus on this, the notes apps on my ipod is full of entries that start out ‘sewing’. Right now I’m focusing on sleeves. What do I really do with the sleeves on my shirts? I ROLL THEM UP, either ¾ length or to the elbow, depending on my activity.

So for my first shirt I’m going to try gathering a ¾ length sleeve to an open elastic inserted cuff with two buttons – one for each length. If it doesn’t work, then I either cut the sleeve shorter or try a plain cuff band. Hey – it’s MUSLIN. I could even cut the cuff out of some other material entirely – say that’s a fun idea!

Just need to finish the red toile (stash!) vest, lined with a red plaid (stash !) leftover , and long straight apron (remainder of the toile), the ipod bag (more stash!) and some other small project I can’t quite place… currently on the machine.

That muslin is coming out sooooo soon.

Anonymous said...

The HP shirt will only be boxy if you use a fabric with lots of body - it won't be if you use something softer.
I'll be interested to see how it turns out. I like that the picture shows it's not too long.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for a really interesting post. I will be reading those tutorials carefully against the next time I make a shirt.

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