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Returning sewer seeking help!

cyclegirl | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi! I am returning to sewing after a very long hiatus. I am having the worst time setting in a collar on a t shirt. I end up with way too much t shirt material and too little collar which results in gathering when I try to put the collar on. I know this may sound silly but I am so frustrated! If anyone has any advice on how to make it easier to set in a collar, I’m all ears! Thanks, Alicia


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Hi, Alicia,

    Amazing how annoying something as simple as a T-shirt can become, isn't it? There are probably several explanations and solutions to your problem, but the most obvious to me is that your fabric isn't behaving the way the pattern drafter had planned for when making the pattern--so maybe your neckline stretched and the neckband no longer fits, or maybe the neckband itself is just too short. The neckband should always be somewhat shorter than the neck circumference of the garment, so that it pulls in the neckline when the shirt is worn. But how much shorter depends on the fabric and its recovery.

    I don't know of a fool-proof formula for getting the right length of neckband; you might have to experiment a bit to see what works for your fabric. For a quick lesson on sewing on a neckband, go to the Threads homepage (click on Threads on the navigation bar at the top of the screen), and look under "Video Tips" for "Neck binding on a t-shirt" or something to that effect. Threads author Sarah Veblen does a great job of showing how to get a nice, smooth neckline in a stretch knit.

    Good luck, and don't let this little obstacle scare you away from sewing!


    1. GALEY | | #2

      I, too, returned to sewing after a 5-year hiatus.  I took a class sponsored by my local fabric store and learned from a company representative about the new machines, notions, etc.  Also our local library has many, many books on sewing from beginner to advanced--pattern making, etc.  I have found the Singer series books are very good to remind you of what you have always known.  Where I live the home demonstration agent (Now I think they're called Agriculture Extension Agents) offers classes on every level for a nominal fee or you can just call to ask one question.  Look in your phone book under U. S. Goverment, Department of Agriculture.  They also will send written material which is free (that is, already paid for by our tax dollars).  I have found that making t-shirts is not a good use of my skills and time.  Usually I buy t-shirts and blue jeans and sew more individual garments.  Look at women's rtw and you will find t's that have bound, but not necessarily stretch, necklines.  Learn as much as you can, and you will enjoy sewing more and more.  Keep up the good effort.

      Edited 5/14/2004 5:44 pm ET by galey

  2. SewNancy | | #3

    Some years ago I returned to sewing after a long hiatus and invested in Sandra Bezina's books.  At the time the sewing store was also renting her videos.  They were all helpful.  She has a new book out now that is well worth buying.  She covers most of the basics and it is a great basic recource.  I have a large collection of sewing and fitting books and years of Threads magazines to use as references and they are much better and clearer than the pattern instructions. 

    Good luck.


    1. cyclegirl | | #4

      Thanks so much! I'll definitely check out her books. Pattern instructions can be so frustrating and not always clear! I moved on to the capri pants I was working on and those turned out great so I am pleased with that! Alicia

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