Collars with stands are one of the tasks I tend to procrastinate on when sewing. Given that I, and the people I make shirts for, do not wear them buttoned up to the top, the back and front of the topstitching, particularly around the front opening, must be bang on. I have devised this way of attaching collars with stands that works the best for me so far.

I like a 10mm seam allowance in general. It uses less fabric (I know it’s only a tiny bit), and eliminates the need for trimming a lot of the time. I know that in the garment making industry a 5mm seam allowance is applied to curves, I am not yet confident with this and find 10mm to be ok (I don’t mind trimming the curves). However, I make an exception to my 10mm rule when attaching a collar stand. I have found that a 15mm seam allowance on the neck edge, and on my collar stand, allows me to achieve much neater attachment. I follow a pretty standard method for attaching the collar unit


but I break the topstitching of the stand into two parts as I find it’s less likely my stitches will veer off the edge of the stand into the “ditch” or into the body of the garment (see first paragraph for the need for stitching to be bang on inside and outside collar opening).


– first I stitch along the edge attaching the inner collar to the neck edge, finishing seam ends by hand for a neat seam end (blue line)

– then I stitch round the curves and along the seam attached to the collar (red line)

I also vary whether the interfacing is attached to top or bottom collar depending on how I want the garment to look (formal and stiff = interfacing on top collar, less formal = interfacing on bottom collar).

I think next time I will try this method, though I will eliminate the back neck stiffening.

Other tasks I faff over;

set in sleeves on coats and jackets in stiff fabrics

buttonholes – I’m terrified my maching will screw them up with no possibility of reversing the damage when the whole garment has been finished

Related: Men’s shirt details

Drafting and making a men’s shirt