OTC-011 Off The Cuff ~Sewing Style~: Contour Shirt with a "Set-Back" Collar...Design and Drafting Notes <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d10604511\x26blogName\x3dOff+The+Cuff+++++++++~Sewing+Style~\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttps://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-7200128261330671945', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Contour Shirt with a "Set-Back" Collar...Design and Drafting Notes

This shirt of my original design, is the latest made for a client who prefers a slim-cut shirt, or what is known to Tailors and Shirt-makers as a "Contour" shirt.  This contour shirt is made from cotton poplin sateen shirting fabric that has a slight ombre effect. It features a banded angle-edge pocket, a cross-cut front button placket, and sleeves with wide cross-cut plackets and an inverted box pleat at the cuffs. Additionally, the cross-cut collar has been designed so that it "sets back" on the stand about 3/4" more than usual.

So...what is a "slim-cut" (contour) shirt?   What it isn't is a precise set of steps and measurements that are set in stone.  The specs of "slim-cut" (contour) will vary depending on the designer and who is doing the drafting.  I start with with my regular shirt block with straight side seams, then I take out some of the fullness by curving the side seams.  I raise the armscye point, then finish by correcting and smoothing the new curve.  When the armscye point is raised, it makes the arm "hole" smaller, so a new sleeve with a smaller-circumference (slimmer cut!) needs to be drafted.  I draft the sleeve with almost no ease. Yes you read that right...I draft the sleeve with no more than 1/2" of ease. It just isn't necessary. Too much ease makes for a messy flat-felled sewn finish.  One other thing...I draft my Contour Shirt Back without a CB pleat.

I have not yet mentioned making slimmer/contoured changes to the shirt Front and Back at the shoulders (the yoke). That is because I already draft my regular shirt block with a natural shoulder slope and length.  My standard shirt block is not loose on the upper chest/shoulder and the sleeve does not drop of the shoulder, so it needs no adjustments when I draft a contour shirt.

You may be wondering why I have not given you precise measurements, like "raise the armscye by 1/2", or "curve the side seams in by 3/4".  I am not being secretive :)  It is because I have no idea what the specs of your existing shirt pattern may be.  You either need to copy a slim-cut shirt that you like, or make a muslin of the shirt pattern that you regularly use, and pinch out the fullness and experiment with raising the armscye point a little bit at a time. 

A good menswear drafting book helps...I highly recommend this one, it  has been my go-to reference since the early 80's-- 
Fundamentals of  Men's Fashion Design A Guide To Casual Clothes Edmund B Roberts and Gary Onishenko.  Fairchild Publications.  
 The only book reference number on my copy is: Standard Book Number-- 87005-5143
So if you are interested in this book, a search at your favorite book-seller by Title and Author may be better than using the number.

For more on sleeve cap ease, don't miss this fantastic post by renown clothing industry expert, Kathleen Fasanella.

SEWING NOTES:  Collar and Cuffs interfaced with PRO-WOVEN Shirt-CRISP Interfacing from  Fashion Sewing Supply  Buttons are the 40-count Designer Shirt Button Set in color "Choco-Toffee" from Fashion Sewing Supply.

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Blogger Mary Beth said...

Good info, Pam! I am trying to imagine what a set back collar looks and feels like. I might play around with the idea on my next foray into shirt sewing. I have the book and refer to it - it's the best out there

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were mentioned on www.patternreview.com, so expect more

9:29 AM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Mary Beth...I agree..a great timeless book...and has so much more than shirts!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bing,bing,bing! I have that book. I was just looking at it the other day and wondering if it accurately reflected ready-to-wear. Yay, now hat you have recommended it, I'm definitely going to give it a try. I made some shorts for my hubby using one of the vogue patterns, they definitely were not right. I will try drafting this time!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pamela! Dear heavens girl, we need you to write a book about the nitty gritty of making shirts! Pleeeeeeze?

11:49 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

I agree, you need to write a book, your shirt is gorgeous.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Janell said...

Like other readers, I would adore if you'd publish your own book. I love your blog and it's really helped me have a better understanding of clothing construction.

As for the book. Like all good texts, the one you've recommended appears to be holding is value at $67 used on Amazon. Do you have a secondary recommendation that is a little less of a financial investment?

4:05 PM  
Blogger Evelene S said...

Pam, I do have a question for you and it is a basic one. Do you use a commercial sewing machine? The reason I ask is that whenever I constructed a garment from patterns the side and back seams never laid flat like commercial clothes and made my garments look homemade. Would a walking foot help?

5:58 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Janelle, Unfortunately, I have no other recommendations for another book that addresses drafting men's shirt patterns. I have had this book for about 30 years...it has 87 pages of shirt-draft variations alone...not counting jackets, pants and more. I am not trying to sell books, it's just that I've had no use for another, so sorry!

Maybe some of my other readers will know of one?

5:58 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Evelene, At the moment I do not have a commercial machine in my studio...I primarily use a vintage Singer 503 to construct most of my shirts. However, it shares some features of a commercial machine, in that I can get a very heavy foot pressure that grips that fabric securely as it passes under the needle, and it holds a very steady tension (the upper and bobbin threads are perfectly balanced). It also does a *perfect* straight stitch...wonderful for top-stitching :)

Without seeing your machine or what exactly is happening when you stitch a seam, it is difficult to know what may be going wrong. Things to double-check are the tension settings, and to try using a "heavier" (increased) presser-foot pressure, a new very sharp needle, and good thread. Oh..one more thing...perhaps using a smaller/shorter stitch length will help. I stitch shirts with a setting that gives me 20 stitches per inch.

I hope that helps...a little.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Evelene S said...

Yes that helps, thank you so much for the information!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

JUST FYI-- If you do a Google search using the title of the book, you'll find used copies in the $40-$45 range.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean by the collar is set back on the stand?

2:18 AM  
Blogger Pam Erny said...

Hi Anonymous, a set-back collar has been drafted so that the ends of the collar do not meet at CF, rather they are further away (towards the back) from where they usually end. In other words, the collar is shorter in length, and more of the collar stand shows.

There is no other reason to do this other than wanting a visual design detail. I would not do this on a classic dress shirt, but the shirt I made is a "fashion" shirt...so I had some freedom to play with the details :)

7:21 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

Thanks again for another wonderful post, full of useful information. I had read the great Kathleen Fasanella post and she is another blogger that is wonderfully generous with information.
I too looked for the fundamentals of menswear design book and found it much to expensive for me. But, I found it through interlibrary loan from my local library. Most libraries have this service, and it gives you access to many many more library holdings than just your own. Your other readers may find this useful.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right, it is a good book. The first time I read the post I thanked my lucky stars the book was in the school library; that is until I went to look it up to check it out. Gone, gone, gone. It was well worn when it was last in my hands so it probably ended its useful life and the librarian retired it. Sigh. (And of course I went hunting it down to buy it!) Kepp up the great posts.

Theresa in Tucson

7:45 PM  

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