Patterns of the Past: Exploring the Early 1960s Italian Collar Shirt
I’m a big fan of vintage men’s shirt patterns, and I find many of the styles—particularly the camp collar shirt—to be timeless. While most of us are familiar with the camp shirt, the Italian collar shirt style had a briefer run and is largely forgotten.
What is an Italian collar?
An Italian collar consists of a separate undercollar piece and an upper collar cut in one with the shirt facings. In his book, The Shirtmaking Workbook (Quarry Books, 2015), David Page Coffin has a chapter about this style. He also has a Pinterest board with images of shirts and shirt patterns in this, as well as related styles.
The Italian collar shows up in men’s sewing patterns in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It may have originated in Italy, though I have no proof.
I own two Italian collar shirt patterns, Simplicity 3875 and Butterick 2305. Both appear to be from the same period, judging from the artwork and the pattern price of 50 cents. I’ve made both patterns, and the style and fit are similar.
Italian collar shirt patterns compared
There are notable differences in how the shirts are constructed, however. I’m always fascinated by the different ways patterns were drafted from pattern company to pattern company, in the days when the…