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Men's Shirt -- Top Stitching the Collar Stand
Problems with gathers during top stitching
trbittner
trbittner
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Date: 12/27/10 10:21 AM

Hi,

I've been working on men's shirts for some time and run into the following the problem consistently -

When top stitching my collar stand to my shirt, even after infusing the entire area with lots of steam, I frequently (though not always) have about a 3/8 inch overlap that winds up gathering somewhere on the stand, making the whole thing look unsightly.

This happens when I attach the collar to the stand and then the stand to the shirt and when I build the stand to the shirt and then attempt to attach the collar to the stand, so it's independent of my stand attachment method.

I suspect that, when topstitching, I'm letting the a straight seam curve a little bit, causing it to gather, but no method of construction seems to work for me to keep it in line. I've tried basting, glue basting, and pinning, but the the pucker always appears.

I haven't seen anyone else complain about this on the web, so I'm hoping it's just a simple technical detail that's eluding me.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
Todd

Karla Kizer
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Subject: Mens Shirt -- Top Stitching the Collar Stand Date: 12/27/10 10:38 AM

I suspect that it's because you are topstitching a thick sandwish - and part of it was already slightly eased when the collar was attached to one layer of the stand. Try folding everything into place without ironing (no pressure and dragging with the wieght of the iron) - just fold under the raw edge, finger-press it, and hit it with a blast of steam. Once it's cooled, fold back the raw edge and put a strip a 1/4" Steam-a-Seam there; refold and press it into place. Once it's cooled, you can topstitch without stress.

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trbittner
trbittner
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In reply to Karla Kizer


Date: 12/28/10 11:18 AM

Thanks for the tip. I'll try it out.

Nancy K
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In reply to Karla Kizer


Date: 12/28/10 1:41 PM

A little glue stick that is pressed until dry will also work very well and it washes out which I prefer. The feed dog and the presser foot don't move at the same speed and can cause fabric creep which is why you are having this issue.

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Karla Kizer
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In reply to Nancy K


Date: 12/28/10 1:49 PM

I agree, and if I were one of the lucky individuals who could manage to keep a fresh, sticky, unshriveled glue stick available, that's what I'd use, too.

------
“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” -Robert Heinlein and Ann's father. Thanks for the reminder, Ann.

Where are we going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

Matthew 25:40 (New International Version)
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'



trbittner
trbittner
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Date: 1/13/11 1:29 PM

Thanks again for the help. I used the glue and pins (and even basting!) before and ran into the same gathering problem, but it's probably because I over-pressed everything first.

I went back and made a few test collars and stands and was pretty successful with the following method:

Stitch both stands to the shirt, ala David Page Coffin's method, rather than build the collar as a whole and try and attach it to the shirt.

Press the stand pieces up (away from the shirt) to get the edges to match. I think this was the crucial step I was missing. After doing this I had a much easier time.

After sewing the collar to the collar stand and sewing the collar stand corners, finger press the unfinished edge into position and steam, but don't press, the edge to get it into place.

Edge/Top stitch. At this point the fabric appears to have enough natural give between the lower pressed edge of the stand and the upper finger-pressed edge to take up any slack that would have gathered.

Glue basting will probably make construction even easier, and I've been thinking about trying out a walking foot to see if it's even feed makes things easier.

Thanks again.

JTink
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In reply to trbittner


Date: 1/13/11 4:36 PM

What a timely thread. I've been working on a shirt with collar and stand for the last week. Just finished the second one. They both two had the gathers going on. I wish I weren't so darn visual. Is there a tutorial somewhere that shows attaching the band to the shirt first and then the collar to the band(s)?

trbittner
trbittner
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In reply to JTink


Date: 1/13/11 5:18 PM

Searching for 'attach collar stand' on the web may give you some more results but this link, and its 2nd part may get you started.
It's a slightly different method than what I used, but it should be more than sufficient.

I've had trouble seeing some of the details in pictures across various sites, but that just may be my color blindness. I'd also highly recommend the David Page Coffin book and the accompanying DVD, but if that proves too much of a financial investment, you should be able to get enough out of the web and a couple of practice collars.

Not that I'm the definitive expert on collars, since I was the one who started this thread, but if I can help someone else avoid some of my pain I can offer a tip:

When sewing the stand to the shirt, sew to the edge of the shirt, or a stitch beyond. It's better to a little over than a little under (otherwise the unfiished edge of the shirt can pop out).

That, combined with the comments I posted previously, have gotten me through the trickiest issues. At some point I hope to post pictures of my own travails, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Hope that helps somewhat.
-- Edited on 1/13/11 5:47 PM --

trbittner
trbittner
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Date: 1/13/11 5:21 PM

Oh, and Peter at Male Pattern Boldness is starting a men's shirt sew along, but not until February 1st. It should wind up being a wealth of information.

Peter in NYC
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Peter in NYC
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Date: 1/13/11 5:51 PM

It's me in the flesh.

I've had this problem with some fabrics. Sometimes, as has been said, it's because there are so many layers and/or the fabric has stretched with handling, or the presser foot is pushing the top layer while the feed dogs are pulling the bottom layer -- all those things.

Remember, this will not show beneath the collar (provided it's not happening in the very front. If it is, restitch so that the extra bulk is in the portion of the collar stand that is hidden by the collar. You could stitch from both ends so that the extra bulk is in the (hidden) middle.

You could try a walking foot, though I have never used one on a collar stand. I find what helps me is to press carefully beforehand, to go very slowly, and to pin carefully. Sometimes I'll tuck a bit more fabric inside the collar stand which can shorten the amount of fabric being topstitched, if that makes sense, without changing the outer collar stand width significantly.


-- Edited on 1/13/11 6:09 PM --

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