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Collar width measurement and laundering

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I had some shirts made over a year ago and the collars now feel a bit too tight. The person I spoke to had this idea of making the collars a quarter inch tighter to help ties stand up better, and I foolishly agreed to this. I am considering having the collars in the next batch made a quarter inch wider but I am wary that this will not be enough after shrinkage due to washings. I am also worried that making the collar a half inch wider will be too wide.

How much shrinkage should one expect in shirt collars? If it fits just right after the first washing, does this mean it should probably be a little wider? How many washings should you do to be sure that a shirt fits right?

If it helps, the shirts I have are in Thomas Mason goldline and silverline. The tailor has been okay and now has a good pattern for me except for this collar issue so I would love to continue patronizing this place.
post #2 of 20
Shrinkage really depends on the fabric used, as well as whether or not the maker/tailor pre-washes the fabric before finishing the shirt. I have a lot of TM silver and gold shirts (mostly from MyTailor/Hemrajani; a few from a local bespoke tailor), and in my experience, the shrinkage isn't too dramatic. Get measured again for your current neck size, then buy a size-appropriate shirt and see how it goes after 5 or 6 launderings. Definitely don't try to let people talk you into games like "a too-tight collar makes your tie stand out better," and so forth. If it's too tight for your neck, and it's cutting off a bit of circulation to your head, who really cares about how your tie looks? Collars should be snug, but comfortable. If they irritate you because of their tightness, they're too small. If they hang off you because of their looseness, they're too big. I won't bother finishing up the Goldilocks routine here, but you get my point. Buy a collar for your neck size, not for your tie.
post #3 of 20
Your shirtmaker should know how much to allow for shrinkage, are you using someone you meet in person or is this online MTM?
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
This is someone I met in person and who saw the finished product on me in person during a lengthier overseas visit to a relative.

This is also someone I do not trust to predict the fabric's shrinkage. Nice staff, but with limited knowledge. For example, they made a buttondown collar with no tie space (so the collar is pinched and crinkled above the tie knot) and with no space for a roll (so the collar points bend inward at the points and looks stretched tightly over the tie).
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
in my experience, the shrinkage isn't too dramatic
Are you able to quantify? This is one area where 1/8 of an inch can make a big difference.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by josepidal View Post
Are you able to quantify? This is one area where 1/8 of an inch can make a big difference.
I can't, unfortunately. I have never taken actual measurements. Ballpark guesstimate? Maybe 1/8" sounds fair. But again, so much depends on the maker and whether he does or does not pre-wash.
post #7 of 20
sounds like your problem is bigger than that. Sounds like the "tailor" is incompetent.

He is:

- not familiar with amount of cotton shrinkage
- cannot make a buttondown collar


Are you getting these shirts for free or something? Why not find somebody competent?
post #8 of 20
An eighth of an inch really doesn't make much of a difference. Really. After having tried tight collars, loose ones, and just about everything in between I've come to the conclusion that you should wear the loosest one that doesn't look sloppy.

And look at how the collar sits on your neck. The buttonhole is going to be about 3/8 to 1/2 inch across, and the button usually sits at the farthest point out in the hole. But it doesn't have to. The collarband (and the whole shirt, really) overlaps in the front and you can pull a loose collar tighter by cinching down on your tie. All you need is a little tie space.

So go bigger and get a little tie space. If your neck gets bigger or if the shirt shrinks, you'll be okay.
post #9 of 20
Also, my experience is that a collar usually shrinks 3/8" to 1/2" from the original size. If the fabric was pre-shrunk it might not shrink at all, or a little less. But that's unusual, most shirtmakers don't bother.

While the shirt's still wet, fresh out of the washing machine, you can stretch the collar band somewhat back toward its original size. You might get 1/4" or so. But you'll have to let it drip dry; if you throw it in the dryer it wont' stay stretched.
post #10 of 20
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larson McCord View Post

or move the button if you don't want to fool with a little metal thing.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee_44106 View Post
sounds like your problem is bigger than that. Sounds like the "tailor" is incompetent.

He is:

- not familiar with amount of cotton shrinkage
- cannot make a buttondown collar


Are you getting these shirts for free or something? Why not find somebody competent?

+1

Seems strange that a shirtmaker would have no idea how much to allow for shrinkage.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
I suspect the shirtmaker just does not deal with clients who wear ties. Hate tie space on my dress shirts, unfortunately.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by josepidal View Post
I suspect the shirtmaker just does not deal with clients who wear ties. Hate tie space on my dress shirts, unfortunately.



That like a car dealer who does not deal with people who put gas in their car.

FAIL
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
In fairness, the guy is a tailor in Singapore.
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