There are many ways to stitch a stand collar on a shirt. There are some great instructions already written by many wonderful sewers and teachers. And I am sure those methods are correct and work well, particularly for folks who make a lot of shirts and have the whole thing down.
The thing is that not everyone sews a whole lot of shirts, regularly at least, and not to practice makes perfect stage, undoubtedly because the I-am-so-fed-up-with-this-thing I am going to pitch it in the corner stage comes first.
A lot of us sew a lot of different things in our sewing lives. Shirts only come around the rotation every now and then, unfortunately, often in the shape of gifts for men, when we are under extra pressure not to screw up.
Also not everyone wants to concentrate all that hard every step of the way. Some of us would rather sew something relaxing that makes us feel pleased with ourselves.
Both these things describe me, or they have for a long time in my sewing life. As a result, I have worked out a way to tackle the dreaded shirt collar and stand in a system that has placed an extremely high priority on not stressing me out, while still producing a very good result.
I often take this approach when I am trying to make my own sewing easier. Usually I start by figuring out ahead of time what disasters I can see coming, and then try to figure out a way to avoid them.
So let's start with what can go wrong. Tell me if I have forgotten anything:
1. The collar is off centre, meaning the space between where the collar ends and that curvy part of the band are different on each side. Your male wearer will always notice this first thing.
3. The collar band is all lumpy with little bumps that no matter how hard you try to trim out are still there, up until the time you trim so closely you open up the seam.
4. The shapes of the curves at the ends of the band are different. One may be OK but if it is, the price you have paid for this is that the other one is all wobbly. You know one end of the band is a curve and the other one sort of squarish.
5. Topstitching around the collar band is next to impossible. See #3, bumps, and #4, different shapes. Despite your blood pressure doubling, yourself squinting, and all the advice you have read about hump jumpers and cardboard templates under your belt, and despite trying really, really hard and going slow, by the end of it you are pretty sure your stitching looks like the dog did it.
6. When you are finished you notice that you missed a bit and there is some unstitched, frayed fabric hanging out of the end of the collar.
7. You also notice too that the collar band doesn't line up quite with the edge of the front plackets, like the shirts hanging in your husband's closet all do.
Finally, and this is the most important thing to my mind, the whole process is just no fun.
It's sewing, which you love, but there is nothing to enjoy here. You already have your seam ripper handy.
No one can do this you decide, or - the one thing I don't want any sewer to ever think - they just must be better at sewing that you are.
You feel powerless.
You may even have trimmed the seam allowances to 1/4" like the experts said you should to make it easier. You may even have trimmed them again to 1/8" like they advised, right up to the point your seam frayed away.
You tried really hard to do what you were told.
But who really can make this work while those tiny bits of fabric disappear under a moving needle, where you no longer can see them, and over moving feed dogs, while you try to rotate an entire shirt (worse still if it is stuffed burrito style into the collar - take about lumps and bumps)?
Well I can tell you not a lot of people can make a success of all of this. And certainly not folks who only sew shirts every now and then. And particularly not those trying to make a shirt on December 23 for someone they really love.
So what is a person to do?
Try an easier way.
And I will show you that tomorrow.