Of course it was an exhibition about mostly menswear - the preppy Ivy League style that has influenced so many North American designers. Think of the L.L. Bean ladies or anyone who ever declares there can never be too many white shirts.
It was pretty interesting as a retrospective of American classic design influences but...
Hold the phone
Guess what I found out?
Now before I go on my rant let me give you a pre-rant.
I have long thought that home sewers are asked by pattern instructions, books, and their own female sense that it has to be me not them that finds this hard, to do the impossible.
The built-in unachievable makes good sewers feel like bad people.
To my mind this has to stop.
I have been developing this opinion ever since an industrial sewing machine guy told me that the only reason tailoring details like welt pockets and keyhole buttonholes looked good in ready-to-wear was because they were executed with giant machines that worked vertically, and didn't try to move the fabric along with a presser foot.
Back on topic.
A lot of us have struggled with stand collars and more specifically with that last little buttonhole right in the curved part of the stand. You know that one that drives your blood pressure up and you know you are going to unpick a couple of times and then decide that no one will ever notice anyway.
Well the question is - how achievable is this?
Well down at F.I.T. I was at source and saw how the original Oxford cloth type shirts were made in the days before they were sent off to Taiwan and computerized factories.
Well guess what?
The shirts I saw had:
- Wider button bands about 2"
- Squared not curved collar stand ends. No tricky curves to sew.
- Collars that were set a full 1 1/2" in from the end of the stand. Makes sense actually for wearing with a tie.
- Buttonholes that were made a full 3/4" in from the end of the collar stand and therefore were nowhere near all those layers that gum up your buttonhole stitching!
The thing is that these collars and stands looked completely terrific and from a sewing point of view would be a piece of cake.
Here is my drawn-on-my-purse illustration, note that both are supposed to be drawings of a collar on a stand, even though the bottom one looks like a convertible collar. I was too excited to remember to draw in the neckline seam.
Well folks what do you think of this?