Friday, April 19, 2013

A better collar.

If you're sick of reading my yammerings about interfacing, click away now . . .

You may remember that the lovely shirt I made for Hubby had some interfacing problems, i.e. the fusible kept coming un-fused. 


I tried to re-fuse it, but sadly, every time I washed the shirt, it would un-fuse again.  It took me a good 15 minutes to iron this shirt - three times what it normally takes - just to get it looking somewhat presentable.  And with each wash the situation got worse.  It was time to make a new collar.

While I was at it, I changed the shape of the collar.  After Hubby wore the shirt, he told me he felt the collar points were too long, and I had to agree with him.  I hadn't really noticed it at first, but after he mentioned it, I compared the pattern piece to his RTW shirts, and the collar really was quite exaggerated. 

The original collar.

Neither of us are up on men's fashion so we're not sure what the current look is, although he did spot a similar shirt collar the other day at Armani.  Still, he needs to feel comfortable in his shirt, so I reduced the size quite a bit.  This one matches the RTW shirts he's been used to.

The new collar.

I think I mentioned the other day that I ordered a few different interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply.  In my pink shirt, I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium, and felt it was a little stiffer than I wanted for my own collar.  So yesterday I made 4 collar pieces:  two in each fabric (the white of the old shirt and the yellow of the new shirt I'm making), one with Pro-Sheer Medium and one with ProWoven Shirt-Crisp.  Then I held all the pieces of each collar (upper, under and stay slot) together to see how they felt.

Fashion Sewing Supply lists Shirt-Crisp as a crisp but not super-stiff collar interfacing.  I found it to be lighter in weight than the interfacing from my local fabric shop which I used on the first shirt.  It did apply somewhat easier than my previous interfacing, but I still had to go over each area several times to get it to fuse.  The directions say that some fabrics will fuse more easily without steam; I tried it both ways on the same collar, so I'm not really sure which one did the trick!  I think I've got a stable collar now, but only a run through the washer and dryer will tell me for sure.


I had a lengthy discussion with a lady at the fabric store last week who told me that fusible interfacings are not meant to be washed and dried, and that men's shirts should ONLY be made with sew-in interfacing.  I'm not really sure I agree with her, but time will tell.  I'm contemplating taking apart one of Hubby's RTW shirts to see how it's done.  I hesitate to use sew-in interfacing because I don't want the bulk in the seam allowances and can't figure out how to do it with the seam allowances trimmed!  Basting, I guess.  Sigh.  Any ideas from you shirt-makers out there?

Meanwhile, here's the collar for the new shirt, to give you an idea of the stiffness:


17 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks like one stiff collar! I'm curious to see what the wash reveals, and ever so grateful that you are going through this process because when I find the perfect shirt pattern and make myself a work shirt, I'll be taking your lead on the interfacing - so thanks for leading the way.

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. I'm hoping that all this is useful information rather than drudgery!

      I know there's a big element of personal preference with this kind of thing, but it just seems that there's so little information out there about who uses what, and when, that I thought I'd add my two cents worth. If it helps someone, I'm very happy about that!

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  2. Ugh, how frustrating. I hope something works out since that shirt is so great! Thanks for reporting on your interfacing experience; I'm always interested as I have all but given up on fusible interfacing because of this very problem. I've had great luck with sew-in interfacing (usually muslin or self fabric), but I don't make anything that really requires serious interfacing. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. I've never had any problems with fusibles that require lower temps to fuse - it just seems to be these high-temp ones. I'll definitely report on what I find out!

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  3. Oh what a pain to have to go back and redo the collar! Better to have a garment that's just as you both want it though... So, out of curiosity, which interfacing did you use the first time?? I just ordered some new-to-me fusibles as well, the one that Jen (Grainline) recommended in her blog a while back, but haven't gotten the chance to test them yet. The fusibles-not-meant-to-be-washed-&-dried thing, I *really really* hope that's not true... Maybe it's just a CYA thing since the one she sold you was inferior... ?

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    1. It wasn't so bad - I was in a mood for exploring, so that helped!

      I really hope it's not true too. The lady who told me that didn't work there - she was another customer. But she seemed to have some very definite ideas about everything. It doesn't make sense to me that a fusible meant for shirt collars might not be machine wash- and dry-able - you have to clean the shirt! And I'm certainly not about to dry clean them!

      The one I bought from my local shop was sold off an unmarked bolt, and the sales people just called it "shirt interfacing." It had no instructions attached. When I went back last week to ask them if they had any tips to make it work better, none of them really knew anything about it - that's how the other customer got into the conversation.

      I haven't actually taken apart a RTW shirt collar yet, but I've been feeling them and trying to pull the layers apart from the outside, and I really think their outer collars are interfaced with a fusible: I can separate the layers on the under collar, but not on the top collar. So there's got to be a way. I just have to find out what it is!

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    2. Yeah, there have to be fusibles that work well with washing/drying... I guess whether they're available to the home sewist is probably the question! The ones I bought said "dry clean only" as well, but Jen said she washes them without a problem. Hmmmm....

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  4. Interesting. I've had trouble fusing interfacing onto some fabrics too - I'll try the steam/no steam method before going down the sewn on route ....

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    1. I discovered something after the fact: the instructions for my new interfacing say that the fabric should be washed and dried first without using any fabric softeners. Ooops! Now I'm wondering if I used a softener sheet, of if I accidentally left one in the dryer? Those things coat the fabric and will keep the interfacing from adhering!

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  5. Crazy at how many options there are. The collar looks real sharp.

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    1. Too many options! It's a lot to wade through!

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  6. i have yet to try a sew-in for collars, etc. if i recall, david coffin suggests using fabric glue to hold these things in place during construction. it may very well be a fabric softener or even detergent problem. on a side note, we've recently begun making our own powdered laundry detergent (from the book "the naturally clean home" by karyn siegel-maier). it's my understanding that regular detergents can have so many synthetics in them that it's almost impossible to actually rinse it all out. this could certainly make it difficult for fusibles to adhere! i usually pre-wash my fabrics with very little detergent since the goal is more about reducing shrinkage than actually cleaning the fabric. don't know if that helps any, but hopefully the new interfacing works for you! i'm curious to see how it goes since i haven't splurged for any yet...

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    1. These are all excellent ideas, Lisa! Thank you so much!

      I also use a little detergent when I prewash, and I sometimes toss the fabric in with other laundry to save water. I guess I should try running it through with no detergent at all. And I've recently learned about Steam-a-Seam, etc. so I may try that with a sew-in. And it looks like I'd better buy a stick of fabric glue!

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  7. I'm sure I've read that commercial garments that are meant to be machine-washed use fusible interfacing.
    How annoying that yours wouldn't stick! I don't wear my me-made clothes enough to have washed them much... eep, I hope my interfacing isn't a ticking time-bomb!

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    1. Same for me: the things I make for myself don't get washed as much (because they don't get worn much!) and I don't use a lot of interfacing in them anyway. When I do, it's usually tricot, which I haven't had any trouble at all with.

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  8. I hope this collar works well and stays fused! I've had good luck with the interfacing I got from Fashion Sewing Supply, so hopefully it will play nice in this shirt!

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    1. Well, the yellow one has been washed and dried now and it's holding. Fingers crossed for the white one!

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