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Collar width measurement and laundering

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by josepidal, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Well-Known Member

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    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? [​IMG] 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.
     
  3. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Well-Known Member

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    Your shirtmaker should know how much to allow for shrinkage, are you using someone you meet in person or is this online MTM?
     
  4. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    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).
     
  5. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  8. Ataturk

    Ataturk Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. Ataturk

    Ataturk Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  10. Larson McCord

    Larson McCord Well-Known Member

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  11. chrisb0109

    chrisb0109 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    or move the button if you don't want to fool with a little metal thing.
     
  12. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  13. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the shirtmaker just does not deal with clients who wear ties. Hate tie space on my dress shirts, unfortunately.
     
  14. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the shirtmaker just does not deal with clients who wear ties. Hate tie space on my dress shirts, unfortunately.

    [​IMG]

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

    FAIL
     
  15. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    In fairness, the guy is a tailor in Singapore.
     
  16. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Well-Known Member

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    What are you saying?

    That quality of tailoring is so low in Singapore that this guy's got to be given such a slack?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A shitty "tailor" is a shitty tailor, doesn't matter if he is from Singapore or Nigeria or Wisconsin or Paris.
     
  17. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying that in fairness, ties are rarely worn in Singapore.
     
  18. suited&booted

    suited&booted Well-Known Member

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    I'm saying that in fairness, ties are rarely worn in Singapore.

    I have to disagree on that and about the blanket statement about the quality of tailors in Singapore.

    I'm in the oil & gas consulting business and I wear a tie 5 days a week and so do most of my profesional peers and my clients in the financial, energy and engineering business. But then again, we are mid to senior managment types. Clusters of tie wearing chaps do congeregate in certain areas of this tiny island [​IMG] . Head to the Central Business District during lunch time. Suits, ties and sweet sexy office ladies galore. Check out the local Tatler, business papers events pages and you will see heaps of men in black tie and suits. Most senior professionals have their Asian HQs in Singers and travel the region. Suits and ties are an integral part of our wardrobe.

    As for tailors, try Nani or Kevin Seah. You can search for them in this forum and see their stuff. They don't do 24 hour con jobs and their stuff are on par or better than WW Chans. I know as I have 2 suits and 3 shirts from Chan. Kevin Seah is also the official rep for the following brands in SE-Asia: Harrisons LBD, J&J Minnis, Dugdale Brothers, Thomas Fisher, Butt of Lewis Harris Tweed, Marling and Evans. I have a cotton-linen (Monti) shirt in the works with him now. Bespoke, self-cloth lined collars, thick MOP buttons with shanks.

    May I ask what con job tailor did you patronise in Singers? Lots of the so-called tailors in SE-Asia are nothing more than order takers. Your answer could be fair warning to all and I'm getting pissed off with the bad rep Singers is getting from some quarters. Definitely not on par with the big end SR, Italians, etc but definitely not down the chain as some would make you believe or wrongly experienced.
     
  19. josepidal

    josepidal Well-Known Member

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    Got it. I take it you rate their shirts as highly?

    Anyone have a guess as to how many washings it would take to reliably get a shirt to where it's shrunk all it can shrink, if at all?
     
  20. msp

    msp Member

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    I've had mine shirts made at Kevin Seah too and I must agree with suitedandbooted. Kevin seah shirts are non fused and hand shanked buttons. My shirt buttonholes are also hand sewn. How many tailors here in Singapore can you find that makes hand made buttonholes for shirts? I feel Kevin Seah will be the regarded as the top tailors from now though he is more a designer than a tailor. His selection of cloths and knowledge surpassed alot of con tailors out there who just wants to sell you cheap China made cloths and make a fast buck without the works.
     

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