Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

need help adjusting neckbands on shirts

TheKiltmaker | Posted in Fitting on

Greetings                                             2 July                 758am MST

I am a seamster, and for a guy, have pretty fair experience.  I am president of our local county Scottish American Society.  My emphasis is on Scottish costuming and apparel items.  I have made kilts, sporrans, two complete Scottish costumes for my wife, and other things as well.

I am currently working on a set of twelve matching uniform shirts for a bunch of lads and lasses who are members of a local pipe band here in south west Idaho.

I have modified a McCall’s pattern to include box-pleat pockets with scalloped edge flaps and epaulettes at the shoulders.

Four of my five “larges” can use the “large” neckband and collar combination.  One of the lads is a “large”, but has a neck like a bull.

Having stated all this………………..what do I need to do to modify the yoke and shirt fronts to accept the XXL neckband?   Which is what it will take to accommodate his large neck.

In case there should be any interest out there; I have a fair bit of experience with tartan fabric and the knowledge of Scottish tartans, and would be honored to share what I know, or help find info for anyone who needs help.





  1. stitchmd | | #1

    How many inches do you need to increase the neck band? This will have to be divided among all the intersecting seams: two shoulder seams, two front center/front placket or band seams, and probably some widening of the center back by slashing and spreading.

    Count the number of places you can increase and divide the increase by that amount, then divide that amount by half for each component, e.g. half of the measurement for each shoulder front and shoulder back. You can add a piece of pattern to each of these and taper from nothing the shoulder/sleeve junction to the extra width at the shoulder/neckband junction. Sometimes you can just borrow from the seam allowance if the difference is small enough. Add at each center front with an add on or SA the same way. At the center back you can slash down a few inches, spread by the amount you need and insert a long, narrow triangle filler.

    If your increase is too large this may throw off all your shaping and grainlines, but if it divides into small enough increases you should manage OK.

    1. User avater
      TheKiltmaker | | #5

      Thanks for getting back to me!  I appreciate the advice.  Since I posted my original message, I spoke with a friend of ours who is an accomplished seamstress and we decided to just make the neck opening bigger.  By superimposing the xxl yoke and shirt fronts of the pattern over the pieces that are cut outI was able to draw in the enlargement and cut away sufficient fabric to accommodate the larger neckband.

      My biggest problem is that I am meticulous to a fault in everything I do, and I spend too much time at it.

      Right now, I am doing the component construction of all the little pieces for these shirts.  Ten sets of collars, neckbands, two pleated front pockets with flaps and epaulettes.  Very tedious!

      Thanks again for taking the time to respond!



  2. suesew | | #2

    If you think of the neck opening as being a circular hole in a piece of fabric, you can simply cut the hole bigger. It will take some careful measuring after you have figured out how big the collar needs to be. Just cutting off a little can make the opening much bigger, so meaure carefully.

    1. User avater
      TheKiltmaker | | #6

      Greetings!                                   4 July


      This is exactly what I did.  I superimposed the "xxl" pattern sections over the pieces that were cut out, and made the necessary changes.

      Many thanks for taking the time to get back to me.

      Have a happy and safe Independence Day!



  3. leeann | | #3

    I highly recommend David Coffin's book Shirtmaking--Developing skills for fine sewing.

    He shows you in complete, but easy to understand, detail of how to drape a custom-fitting shirt--starting with the yoke.

    I found this on HamiltonBook.com recently for $5.95 (originally $29.00 or so)--I have a copy that I bought last year--excellent resource and reference.

    It sounds like with your ambition and skills (I am impressed!) this may make a nice addition to your sewing library--you can expand on the basics to do additional costuming for your lasses as well as the lads!


    1. User avater
      TheKiltmaker | | #4

      Greetings!                     July 4,2005

      Thanks for getting back to me!  My mother taught me to sew when I was a kid, then I was part of a first-ever Home Economics class for the boys  when I was a senior in High School.  That was 1972..............

      I hadn't touched  a needle or thread again until 2004 when I read a story in the paper about a Marine in Iraq who is a piper.  That caught my interest immediately, because, along with everything else I do, I play the bagpipes as well.

      In the story, he expressed that he would like to have a kilt made for him in Marpat desert camo.  That is the digital design camo.  I read the article several times, and thought........."I could do that".

      So I contacted the Pentagon the next day and eventually got in touch with this man via e-mail.  The folks at the Pentagon found me a soucre for the fabric, and I got it and made his kilt!

      He got four others as well, from other Scottish American groups and a retired Marine veterans group.

      That led to other things and now I sew quite a bit.  It isn't my day job, by any means.  I am a professional mechanic.  I repair electric motors and pumps.  Have been in the trade for 25 years.

      Thanks again for your suggestion!



      1. Elisabeth | | #7

        Kilts are popping up everywhere, traditional and modernised. My daughter's boyfriend things these are the coolest http://utilikilts.com/ Happy sewing!

        1. User avater
          TheKiltmaker | | #10

          Greetings Elisabeth,               5 July, 1003 pm MST

          I have three utility kilts to make in the near future.  One in blue denim for one of the elders in our Scottish American Society, and a "his n' her's" matched pair for my son and daughter in law.  I think I will do those in forest colors "digital" camo.  JoAnn's has some in the flat folds, and I am hoping it will go on sale soon.

          I had to turn down a kilt job for money the other day.  A gent called me as a referral from my piping teacher; to have a kilt made in his tribal tartan for a family reunion coming up soon.  I have to get the shirt project done before anything else.

          The shirts, I am making in a real nice heavy khaki  "trigger" fabric from JoAnn's.  I bought twenty yards all together and got it on sale at each purchase!  Most of the buttons came from the Pendleton Woolen Mill outlet store in Pendleton Oregon.  They had a huge basket full of buttons so my wife and I and my son scrounged through it and came up with more than enough to put on the shirts  at eleven buttons each............and at two cents each too!

          Be well, and thanks for typing to me!




      2. leeann | | #8

        Tim, thanks for sharing about the Marine! That is  awesome.

        I think the more you sew the more you realize each project is an engineering puzzle to be solved. I learn from each thing I make and am constantly trying for perfection in details as well.

        One of my favorite men in the world, my father in law, who is an engineer and before retirement owned a company that made specialty gears for airlines--and others--can fix anything, is at home on any sort of boat, and can repair and restore anything of metal or wood, can sew. He sat down one day, figured out how to use a sewing machine, and made some sails for his racing sailboat he was restoring!

        Enjoy yourself and happy sewing! You should post your kilts on patternreview.com.

        Lee Ann


        1. User avater
          TheKiltmaker | | #9

          Greetings LeeAnn,                           5 July,951pm MST

          Thanks for the note!  The shirt project is coming along well.  I have ten shirts to be completed by the first of September.

          I am president of our county Scottish American Society, and part of what I do is just give out information to people.  If someone wants to know how their family name might be of Scottish origin, I help them with that and also do a tartan search to find what they would wear should they choose to get "kitted".

          We are going to start an annual observance of national Tartan Day next year when it comes in April.  I have designed a tartan which I am going to have authenticated and registered with the World Tartan Society in Scotland. 

          Our group is going to present this to our county Sheriff department, as a token of gratitude for what they do.

          It goes back to the old tradition that once in time, the only jobs that Scottish and Irish immigrant men could get were in the police squads and firehouses.

          I have located a weaver here in Idaho who is going to do the weaving for us.  I found the four colors of wool warp thread that we are going to use, at the Pendleton mill outlet store in Pendleton Oregon a couple weeks ago.

          Thanks again for your interest!



This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All