Note everyone in my family is tall. My middle son, pictured on the left here, is about 6'1" and he looks shorter than the other two, my son-in-law in the middle (6'5"), and my youngest, on the right (6'4"). At 5'9" I am their "little mommy."
There are about 53 different methods for doing this particular high risk sewing job out there and I have tried them all.
The hand method is nice and easy to do but can get a little messy around that visible front join. The burrito method has many variations but I personally find wrestling all that fabric into a tiny area, squishing a collar in the process, more work than I want to do - also I like to breathe and the burrito method requires the breath holding stamina of a synchronized swimmer.
Additionally I have several principles of construction that I like to stick to in the interest of quality control and nerve saving.
- Keep it hand sized as long as possible. This is because you are sewing with your hands. Hauling large pieces around under a needle is not for me. I can only focus on what I can see. This is why I don't quilt or do home dec sewing.
- Do as much as possible to each unit before moving on. It's nice to sign off on something, preferably a hand sized something, before you do the next thing.
- Try to keep what you have to sew something you can see rather than the presto chango method where you sew blind and hope when you turn it right side out it will be brilliant.
- Break up big ambitious seams into shorter achievable seams.
The easiest method IMO, and shared by Liesl apparently, is this one:
1. Sew the collar up, top stitch and press. Put it aside for now. Hand sized and signed off on.
2. Sew on collar band to the neckline.
3. Sew the other collar band to the neckline over the first stitching. You can see what you are doing.
4. Fold the shirt body out of the way at a 45 degree angle and pin it to the front of the shirt, isolating the ends of the bands so the shirt won't get caught in them. Less fabric to work with than the collar attached method of the traditional burrito.
5. Stitch the ends of the band only on each side and pivot and sew a bit to join the top of the bands together to about where the collar would fit in. No need to get too stressed about this, the space you leave for the collar can be a little big, just not too small - eventual top-stitching will close this off anyway. Do a little trimming after you have had a quality control look at your stitching and redone it or fixed it up as necessary.
6. Turn and press the band, tucking under the seam allowances of the opening and pressing them under.
7. Slip the collar into the opening and sew it to the band that will be against the neck. If you find this tricky to do right to the ends don't stress, again you can catch this later. Just do what you can do.
8. Working from the outside back of the shirt, pin, baste, glue baste or adhesive sewing tape (my choice) the remaining seam allowance to the underside of the collar and stitch down catching it in topstitching all around the band. If this scares you the other option is to hand sew the band seam allowance down and then top stitch.
Here is what the band on the underside of the collar looks like before it is sewn down on two of the shirts:
And here are pictures of one finished shirt collar all neatly attached done by a breathing sewist:
So great pattern, great construction methods, happy shirt wearers.