Copying processes #2

I was glad to see the enthusiastic comments in response to my first post. Similarly, I’m glad you all are realizing that the clothing police will not come and get you if you deconstruct a thrift store item. By the way, I did a search on “clothing police” and found no such entity exists. I’m almost disappointed. My inner civilly disobedient self had been flattering myself thinking I’d been thumbing my nose at authority but rather, find that with seam ripper in hand, I’ve been stabbing myself in the nose.

Anyway, below you’ll see a photo of a very simple feature, one that does not require deconstruction -good thing too, my husband likes this shirt.

From just a design perspective, the complementary colored twill tape sewn into the neckline is a nice splash of color that will display nicely on a hanger. While the design detail is nice on an otherwise basic man’s shirt, this twill tape finish makes this back neckline easier to finish off sewing-wise if you don’t have the automated equipment that large companies do. Basically, you’d sew this in as you would if using a facing and that tiny bit of twill tape can cover a multitude of sewing sins.

The second detail I like about this shirt is shown below and believe me, a quick glance isn’t going to impress anybody so no, you’re not missing the point.

The detail is not obvious. What you can’t see is that the collar tips are being held in place with a button. It’s just that the button is underneath the collar. Below is a picture of the collar with the button fastened.

I don’t know about you but I thought this was a clever finish making this shirt a great value. By that I mean that this shirt is obviously not intended to be worn with a tie but the shirt maker knows that short collar tips like this one will flip up and curl if not held with a button. If a guy is looking for something casual but not wanting to get a shirt that ends up wearing slovenly, this is a great feature. It’s subtle. Speaking of subtlety, these are precisely the things an industry person notices which is why nobody needs a bull horn to proclaim product quality. Little details like this scream quality better than anything else ever could. Below you’ll see what the underside of that collar looks like.

As always, this is a feature that will need to be built into the pattern and the photo above gives you an idea of how you might go about doing that. Now, since this is a new shirt and this may be a proprietary design feature (I don’t know), I’m not someone who would copy this feature for another customer. I mean, I would do it for myself in my own personal sewing projects but I wouldn’t ever put something like this out there for other people to use (sorry).

There’s only one thing about this shirt that is a problem and it relates to process (doesn’t it always?). Okay, you may not know this but garments that will be sold garment washed are not finished before they’re washed. What I mean is that the garment is washed before the button holes and buttons are sewn. The garments are sent out, washed, pressed, then returned for final finishing which means sewing the button holes and buttons and then tagging and final inspection. That’s the way it works. However with this shirt, that couldn’t have been done at least not on the underside of the collar. Rather, first the under collar button stand pleat was formed (the only hint I’ll give you), then the button hole was sewn and only then was the under collar joined to the top collar et cetera.

Regardless of this example, I brought up the issue of garment washing first, then sewing button holes so that you’d know that you’ll need to do it this way too. If you’re not certain this is worth the hassle, do up two samples one pre-washed, one not and then re-wash both and the results should convince you. If you make your button holes after garment washing, the button holes will be cleaner and more stable and you won’t need to worry about hole shrinkage to the same extent. In other words, while your threads may shrink in subsequent washings, they’ll shrink far less than they would had the garment itself not been pre-shrunk. This will prevent your button holes from ending up too small once your customer has washed the item a couple of times.

I would make one improvement to the under collar feature and that would be to fuse the button hole area of the under collar button stand. The button hole on this shirt is a bit limp without the reinforcement. But then, it’s on the underside so who’s to know? Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. It’s more likely that other areas of the garment may fail well before that button hole rips through. By the way, those are the sorts of decisions that people need to think about when building in their product quality features. If you’re making finely made single-needle tailored shirts for $200 a pop, you may want to do this. Otherwise, maybe not.

Copying processes
Copying processes #2
Copying processes #3
Copying processes #4
Copying processes #5
I couldn’t make this up if I tried

Get New Posts by Email


  1. yay! these details are the kind I always notice, too. I just saw an expensive women’s shirt that I thought was particularly nice, and coudn’t figure out why at first–until I noticed that the collar was understitched instead of topstitched. It was so clean and pretty that way!

    I plan to incorporate details like this in my somewhat-fictional line–not only do they speak “quality” to the industry, they speak “I care about how you feel in this garment” to the consumer.

  2. Jess says:

    “since this is a new shirt and this may be a proprietary design feature”

    What does that mean exactly? Are processes/designs ever patented and exclusive to some manufacturers? How do we know what to stay away from if that’s true?

  3. Copying processes #3

    Jess wrote in comments: “since this is a new shirt and this may be a proprietary design feature” What does that mean exactly? Are processes/designs ever patented and exclusive to some manufacturers? How do we know what to stay away…

  4. patricia s says:

    Very interesting collar. I didn’t understand it when written up in creative machine yahoo group, but your pictures were worth a thousand words….
    About washing before you put in buttonholes…
    does that still apply if you prewash your fabric before the garment is cut and sewn? I prewash my fabric, preshrink my interfacting, everything before I cut.
    Pat in Georgetown

  5. Kathleen says:

    About washing before you put in buttonholes… does that still apply if you prewash your fabric before the garment is cut and sewn?

    I also pre-wash goods. There’s no pat answer (depends on the fabric and project) but I usually garment wash before applying button holes anyway. Fabric or garments rarely shrink up enough with one wash/dry cycle. Two, garment washing *melds* the garment. Doing buttonholes after it has melded, is to most eyes, usually an unidentifiable quality but it lends a clean look.

  6. Katharine says:

    I have seen this collar underbutton detail on other shirts (most likely thrift store finds) so I am not sure you need to hesitate to disseminate it. I doubt I saw it on this exact make of shirt.

    Thanks for your very informative posts!

    P.S. When I saw it it may not have been created with the exact same shape of underlying layer, parallel to the collar end.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.