The Sewing Place

Quality to aim for when making shirts


Quality to aim for when making shirts
« on: June 27, 2019, 14:03:17 PM »
Some pointers that set custom made shirts apart from mass produced factory made shirts.

The article doesn't cover how the techniques used to make the neckband, front bands and sleeve plackets can make a difference but there are still plenty of points to consider.


Re: Quality to aim for when making shirts
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2019, 17:43:52 PM »
Craftsy/Blueprint has a class by David Page Coffin that is an excellent start to MTM/bespoke sewing shirts.

Lot of it is just little details.  The two most common button plackets are French and Standard, which is what he called American.  It's mostly banded or not.  No bands is more formal.

Cuffs are pretty standard, 1, 2 or french cuff in order of formality.  One of the ways that these techniques make a difference is the width of the cuff.  If you have short arms (something me, my dad and SO have) then a smaller cuff is necessary for a visual lengthening of the arm.  I typically make 1 3/4" cuffs, but my arm is 3" smaller then it needs to be and need a more feminine cut...but it has to be wide because of wider shoulders but I also have very small wrists.  My dad was built like a square Dutchman, medium/slight build and had broad shoulders, Popeye arms and well built back and needed a 2"...slightly smaller then a "regular" cuff, but not as small as it could have been for his size.  My SO is taller, 5'11", slight shoulders (mine are actually broader), but is barrel chested and while a little heavy in the belly, is still solid in the legs and upper shoulders and neck and needs a smaller cuff then standard.  While I make him a 2", at his choice, he also could do a 1 3/4" or 1 1/2" (all of these are finished size) and it would look better.

Sleeve width is also something to take into account as is the way the cuff fits on the wrist.  Italian shirts are more snug then Europe, and Americans wear them typically looser then everyone else.  Sleeve plackets is also based on how long, or short, your arm is.  Roughly, this is 6" long and about 1" wide...but can be changed to suit the length of the arm as well.  And usually in bespoke and MTM is it shorter, or not there at all.

The gauntlet (which is what the sleeve placket is called) was historically done when men rolled their shirts to get to work.  Gauntlet buttons were not there in the 20s-50s or so...something that seemingly seemed to get done when they made RTW fit the most men as humanly possible, and increased the placket to be super long.  Saying that, if you make a longer gauntlet, then you must have the button, but often men who get these will prefer a shorter one and no button.  However, this placket is there to roll the sleeves up and keep the cuff flat AND to make ironing easier of the cuff, so that it can be properly pressed, necessary with no interfacing or sewn in.  Some tailors will keep this standard on the shirt and offer no choice on size or removal, but a quality shirt will always have the gauntlet button there since it keeps the shirt from flapping about.  This is something makers and wearers of these shirts actually argue about: is the placket necessary, is the button needed...etc. 

In the end, most of this is just simply preference.  There is no right or wrong way to make a MTM or bespoke shirt as long as it is well fitted and sewn correctly.


Re: Quality to aim for when making shirts
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2019, 13:08:30 PM »
Loved this @Morgan !  Never knew there was so much to learn about a shirt.

Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Re: Quality to aim for when making shirts
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 17:28:34 PM »
Such an interesting read, both Morgan's and Kwaaked's.
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !