Shirt Interfacing: I have Questions

…. so lets nerd out today.    With this post, I’ll turn the tables and ask your opinion about shirt interfacings; if you make button down shirts for men or women what is your preferred collar and cuff interfacing?  I have never managed to get my head wrapped around selecting the right one.  I’ve asked shirt makers, consulted books and have received different answers; the answers range from “any sturdy cotton in your stash” to “commercial fusible non-woven” and so on….

I just made this Italian cotton shirt for my handsome brother using Simplicity Pattern 8753 in the classic fit version.

J shirt3

With the impending task of applying interfacing to the collar, collar band and cuffs, I began to stress out. What interfacing should be used? I’ve made two men’s shirts before in chambray and a printed cotton where a non-woven fusible “shirt fuse” was used which was ok.  This time I decided, I’ll give a non-fusible woven cotton a try. So here are views of the cotton basted in – it seemed softer than when I used the fusible, but was willing to try it.  The end result was quite good but I couldn’t help wondering – is there another option?



Along came Janet Pray of Islander Sewing Systems and her live Facebook broadcast every Tuesday where she did a “shirt series” assisted by Jessica.  You can catch the recordings on their Facebook page.   I learned that “Light and Stable” was Janet’s favorite interfacing but that she had added two new favorites to the interfacing collection on the Islander website. They are Shirt Maker’s Choice Firm and Shirt Maker’s Choice Medium.  Of course I bought a yard of each – because that is what one does.  I am doing what Janet Pray does. 

Ok, shirtmakers, nerd out and start chiming in about your interfacing opinions. By the way, I’m a news junkie TV watcher, and have lately taken to observing shirt collars of male anchors and their guests. Some collars are extremely crisp (are they starched?) and others seem a little softer. Some collars meet perfectly in the centerfront above the necktie, while others have about ½ inch between collar ends. What’s up with these differences?

By the way, while we’re on the subject of button down shirts, I really like this one, made in the style of the commercial brand called “UnTuck It”.  Other than a shorter length, what differences can you identify between the untucked and the meant-to-be-tucked shirt? Serious question. I think I’ll order this Islander pattern (keeping an eye out for the   next sale) and give it a try.


Hey, men in my family, are you rolling your eyes (“here she goes again”)?  Or are you excited about the prospect? Hmmm?





4 thoughts on “Shirt Interfacing: I have Questions

  1. Good morning Samina! Kasey from Fashionistas… I like Fashion Sewing Supply’s line of interfacings, you can order a sample pack and they’ll list what each of their interfacings is good for, the type of result you’ll get. And for interfacings, that is the main point to consider – what do you want your finished product to feel like? A traditional crisp collar, something softer for a chambray or flannel, maybe very lightweight support for a loosely woven silk so the hand doesn’t change much?

    The modern cut shirt “Hangin’ Out” differs from traditional dress shirts in, as you noted, the length of the shirt, but is probably also cut slimmer, and made yet more-so by the addition of darts in the back. This is typical of European style dress shirts, and as the “tight” look has been popular in the US lately, more menswear patterns reflect this. The armhole may also be cut slightly smaller and higher, but that is hard to determine from the line drawings. Your Simplicity envelope-front describes the differences quite well!

    As for the collar variations you’re observing on TV, that is due to either a shape difference in the collar ends or maybe even a collar pin (not always noticeable.) When I make dress shirts for someone, I do tend to change the collar-end shape to suit the individual; it may be larger, smaller, straighter, rounded edge, rounded point, etc. And yes, some of those collars maybe pretty firm and then starched to make them yet stiffer.

    Looking forward to your next shirt project!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kasey, thank you! I learned a lot from just reading your comment! I am beginning to just now understand making mens shirts, even though I am not a beginner seamstress — heck I even owned David Coffin’s shirtmaking book and its been sitting quietly on the bookshelf for years. I think I may be on “shirt sewing roll” this year.
      Again, thanks for the input.


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