A well-fitted button-down shirt is nearly impossible to find, regardless of size or shape. Even if you are a standard size, most designers cut the armscye lower so as to fit a wider range of people, but a too-low armscye can bind and hamper movement. Since you are not trying to clothe the general public, there is no need to make a shirt to fit anyone other than you. Use this tutorial to come up with a custom basic shirt pattern that can be altered for different looks and materials. This assumes that you have already completed Part 1 (drafting the front, back, and shoulder yoke) and Part 2 (drafting the sleeves and cuffs). Part 3 will cover the collar.
Part 3: The Collar
You will need the following tools:
- Tape measure
- clear graphing ruler
- French curves or design ruler
- regular pencil and eraser
- paper, ideally with a printed graph
And the following measurements:
- Neck circumference
- Front and back neckline (from Part 1)
The standard men’s shirt collar is constructed in two parts– a band that buttons and a “blade” that folds down. A good standard collar height is 1 3/8” for the band and 1 7/8” for the blade, but this is subject to personal preference and desired style, as is the shape and angle of the blade corners. Feel free to plug in your own numbers and have fun with it!
Laying out the points:
Start by marking point A in the lower right-hand corner. Square up and out. The vertical line will be your center back fold.
Starting at point A, measure the following points out and label them:
- B: the back of the neckline
- C: half the neckline circumference
Square up 1 3/8″ (or your preferred band height) from A and B, and label the resulting points 1 and 2. Rule a line between them.
Square up 1 7/8″ (band height +1/2″) from point C to find point 3, and use the French curve to apply the front neckline measure in a gentle slope from 2 to 3.
Shaping the band:
Use your clear ruler to extend out 3/8″ from 3, and measure down from line 2-3 by 1 3/8″ (or band height). Align the ruler so that it is perpendicular with the section of curve you are measuring from. The result will be a dashed line.
Use the French curve to connect the dashes into a solid line, extending the length to match that of the front neckline, plus 1″. Make a mark at a right angle to the end of the curve as shown. Extend it 5/8″ of an inch, or just under half of the total band height.
Mark the buttonhole lined up with this line, parallel with the bottom of the front edge, 3/8″ in from the front edge. Draw a curve to close the ends.
Drafting the blade:
Copy line 1-2-3.
From the new 1, mark point D up 1 7/8″ (or alternate blade length). Square out.
Mark point E at half your neck measurement plus 2″, and rule a line from E to 3. This will produce a collar blade with corners that meet in the center front. For a larger collar spread, subtract half of your desired width when finding point E, and measure 1/4″ to 1/2″ back from point 3.
Add seam allowance to all edges apart from A-1 and 1-D, which will be placed on the fold.