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Making a non-detachable collared shirt into a detachable collar shirt?


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#1 sause

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 12:51 PM

If one was to buy a normally attached collared shirt could it be turned into a detachable collared shirt by removing fabric above a certain point on the collar? I'm interested in switching collar styles on a single shirt, plus I like a stiff collar.

#2 Sator

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:32 PM

I doubt you would have enough fabric to form the stand up part of the tunic on a tunic shirt into which you would have to insert buttonholes. The shirt and collar on an attached collar shirt will have only enough cloth there for a seam allowance. Also the collar on a detachable has to be a size larger than the collar of the tunic shirt. Attachables are cut so that the collar and shirt neck seam are the same size.

However, if the shirt is long enough you could use some cloth from the shirt hem and add it to the neck seam once you remove the collar. You might be able to turn the shirt body into a tunic shirt that way and buy separate detachable collars from elsewhere (or make your own if you know how - I don't). You need to make sure the collar stud button holes align - very fiddly apparently. It is not an easy alteration to do. However, where there is a will....

#3 sause

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:45 PM

Sorry I might have spoken poorly. I meant to ask if a turn down collared shirt could be turned into a detachable collar shirt by removing the turn down portion and maybe a bit more? There should be enough fabric there to insert a button hole, the last time I measured it's about 1.5". Does this make more sense?

#4 Sator

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:51 PM

QUOTE (sause @ May 20 2009, 01:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry I might have spoken poorly. I meant to ask if a turn down collared shirt could be turned into a detachable collar shirt by removing the turn down portion and maybe a bit more? There should be enough fabric there to insert a button hole, the last time I measured it's about 1.5". Does this make more sense?


I took a look at a tunic shirt just now. That probably is doable, thereby turning your shirt into a tunic shirt and buying collars separately. That's how detachable shirts reputedly began. It's going to be fiddly, however, forming the button hole at the back of the tunic shirt neck band.

#5 NJS

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 10:53 PM

I have done this before - I just cut the turndown part off and poked a hole through the front in the place of the button and a second hole at the back for the back stud. You are right though - instead of going up 1/2 an inch for the collar you need to go up 1 inch. What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing - but don't tell! By the way, isn't a 'tunic shirt' just one with the lower half of the front closed - whether with or without a detachable collar?
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#6 dpcoffin

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 04:05 AM

QUOTE (NJS @ May 20 2009, 05:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have done this before - I just cut the turndown part off and poked a hole through the front in the place of the button and a second hole at the back for the back stud. You are right though - instead of going up 1/2 an inch for the collar you need to go up 1 inch. What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing - but don't tell! By the way, isn't a 'tunic shirt' just one with the lower half of the front closed - whether with or without a detachable collar?


NJS has it right; this is very do-able. First, some terminology that as far as I know is standard, and may at least be clarifying, if not:

An ordinary dress-shirt collar has a "stand" (the part with the buttonhole) and a "fall" (a term not much used) or "collar" (the turn-down part). A shirt ready for a separate collar has a "band" in place of a "stand," and obviously, no collar. Bands are typically (always?) narrower than stands, but otherwise identical, with their upper edge cut parallel to the lower edge; it's a rare stand that isn't plenty big enough to be reworked into a working band. In my shirt book I offer this diagram for converting a stand pattern into a band pattern by merely reshaping its upper edge:


A "tunic" shirt, as far as I've ever seen the term used, is one that has a single-piece front with a slashed and placketed opening that doesn't extend all the way to the hem; it's a pull-over. Formal, collarless shirts with applied bibs used often to be tunics, opening only to the bottom of the bib, but not so much these days, at least in RTW. A tunic front has no bearing on the collar the shirt may have; it only affects the cut of the front. I'm confused as to why Sator is mentioning the term in this context…?

In practice, a band converted from an existing stand (with the "fall" removed) only needs to be trimmed down enough so it isn't visible when a separate collar is buttoned to it; it doesn't need to be trimmed parallel to the neckline. I'd unpick the collar/stand seam to remove the collar but not the stand/neckline seam. Then I'd simply tuck the stand's raw edges back inside the stand making the stand more band-like, try it on with a separate collar to see that it's concealed, then topstitch to close the reshaped stand. Removing the entire stand to reshape it would be more fiddly/risky than the project demands, IMO.

dpc

#7 dpcoffin

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 06:21 AM

May I further suggest that you lash a pair of regular shirt buttons together with about a 3/8-in. thread shank, and use that at the collar in place of a metal collar stud, at least in front? MUCH less painful to wear (also suggested in my shirt book…)

#8 jcsprowls

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 08:47 AM

Part of me has to ask: "why such an extensive & invasive alteration?" Is it because you really want the style and cannot find it locally? Or, is the fit of the shirt body very flattering and you want to preserve that?

An alteration like this (opening the stand from the interior neck, opening the collar leaves seam, reseaming, trimming down and then closing the stand) will take about an hour. There's not much time difference than sewing a new shirt.

If you're in love with the shirt body, I'd suggest you speak to a shirtmaker about making a ruboff for you with the style changes you list (i.e. banded collar). I'm trying to locate brands that sell banded collars. If I can find a list of their retailers, I'll come back and edit this thread with a list.
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#9 Sator

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 09:13 AM

I agree that it is bit fiddly. It would be fine to do it yourself just for fun. However, it would be a nightmare to get someone to do it for you. The number of alterations tailors out there who would know what you are talking about are few and far between. A shirtmaker who would know what you asking for would charge almost as much for the alteration as for a new shirt. It would be much less hassle to just buy a tunic collar shirt from Bromleys:

http://www.classicwa...ess-Shirts.aspx

New and Lingwood is another source:

http://www.newandlin...tegory.php?id=9

Ede and Ravenscroft also offer tunic shirts and collars:

http://legal.edeandr...ccessories.aspx

E & R also call them "tunic shirts", BTW.

The Vintage Shirt Company offer both tunic shirts and detachable collars:

http://www.vintagesh...co.uk/index.php

Luke Eyres is a good maker of detachable collars:

http://www.luke-eyre...s/id_category/1

A lot of collars being offered for sale are from them, and it is cheaper to buy from the maker.

#10 NJS

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 01:55 AM

A reason for this exercise is to get extra life out of a shirt with a worn-out collar.
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#11 dpcoffin

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 04:49 AM

Thanks for the great links, Sator; there was a time when I would have swooned to have these sources!

Also, I see a source for the "tunic" part of your replies, though I fail to understand the use of the term, esp. when you say "the tunic on a tunic shirt," implying perhaps that a collar band is called by some a "tunic"? Is that how you're using the term, or have heard it used? I can't find any dictionary entry for "tunic" that suggests anything like that…

I wonder what terms these shirt/collar makers would use to indicate a shirt (no matter the collar style) that doesn't open all the way to the hem?

As for why a person would want to do this, as a hobbyist maker, I can completely understand, altho of course I may be totally misconstruing the OP's motives. I wanted to do it because I wanted to make the most of a single shirt or shirt-length of fabric; it seems entirely reasonable to me to buy only enough of a given (usually costly) fabric to allow a single shirt body plus a few collar variations, as opposed to buying enough to make multiple shirts. Retro-fitting a purchased shirt (likely bought because the fabric was attractive, not because of the fit) with a band seems equally feasible if your taste runs to contrast collars. When time is more available than money, all sorts of schemes others might think cock-eyed can look plausible:)

#12 jcsprowls

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE
A reason for this exercise is to get extra life out of a shirt with a worn-out collar

That's a very sound reason.

QUOTE
to buy only enough of a given (usually costly) fabric to allow a single shirt body plus a few collar variations, as opposed to buying enough to make multiple shirts.

Strategic use of materials is always prudent.


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#13 Frog in Suit

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 07:27 AM

QUOTE (dpcoffin @ May 21 2009, 08:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also, I see a source for the "tunic" part of your replies, though I fail to understand the use of the term, esp. when you say "the tunic on a tunic shirt," implying perhaps that a collar band is called by some a "tunic"? Is that how you're using the term, or have heard it used? I can't find any dictionary entry for "tunic" that suggests anything like that…

I wonder what terms these shirt/collar makers would use to indicate a shirt (no matter the collar style) that doesn't open all the way to the hem?


For what it's worth, my understanding, purely as a customer unsure.gif , is that a "tunic shirt" is indeed one which does not open all the way down. A shirt with a detachable collar is called a "neckband shirt". One can combine the two in the same shirt, of course.

Source: New & Lingwood staff, over quite a few years...

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#14 NJS

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 10:58 PM

Another shirtmaker once told me of a customer who had his tunics cut extra-long so that he needn't bother with chuddies. I forebear to name maker or customer! In some places, I believe that this is called 'going commando'.
<b></b>NJS<b></b>

#15 jcsprowls

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 02:23 AM

chuddies = underwear?

Hmph. Learned something new!

I don't know that long shirt tails are a reasonable substitute. Speaking from personal experience, without the waistand of the underwear to help hold the t-shirt smooth, the tails of the shirt are prone to riding out.

There are other solutions to that problem, though. The problem isn't the shirt. Either the trouser waistband not holding the tails in or the friction of the base layer is pulling/pushing the shirt upward.
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#16 dpcoffin

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 04:48 AM

Here's a shirt (described as a man's garment) you may find intriguing, on many levels; found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, NYC; no details of provenance:




Now what would you call that?

dpc

#17 NJS

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 10:47 AM

In some pics it's buttoning left over right and in others right over left - so maybe it's uni-sex?! Apart from that, it's in need of laundry - but it does demonstrate that our ancestors might have used one-piece shirts-n-chuddies.
<b></b>NJS<b></b>

#18 dpcoffin

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 01:42 PM

QUOTE (NJS @ May 23 2009, 05:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In some pics it's buttoning left over right and in others right over left - so maybe it's uni-sex?! Apart from that, it's in need of laundry - but it does demonstrate that our ancestors might have used one-piece shirts-n-chuddies.


Looks like I flipped the slide wrong in the last image; it's left over right in front. And no doubt it does need some laundry; better post a note to the conservators at the Met:) Most of the apparent discolorations are probably due mostly to the crappy quality of slide scans from my cheapo document scanner…

I doubt whoever wore this did so in lieu of under-drawers; I suspect a dancer.

dpc




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