A Guide for Sewing Professional Shirt CuffsUse a few simple techniques to create beautiful cuffs every time.
Whether you’re sewing a men’s or women’s shirt, it’s easy to overlook the cuffs. Unlike the collar or the front button placket, cuffs aren’t the first detail to get noticed. Still, it’s nice to know you’ve created the nicest cuffs you can.
I’ve learned from experience, including an excellent menswear sewing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, that by using a few simple techniques, it’s possible to create beautiful cuffs every time.
Shirt cuff corners are most commonly made squared, rounded, or notched (cut diagonally). I’m going to demonstrate rounded and notched cuffs.
Materials and fabric preparation
Each shirt cuff consists of two pieces: the inner cuff (or cuff facing) and the outer cuff.
Interfacing, generally fusible, gives the cuff extra body. I like to use a lightweight knit fusible, as I’m not a fan of stiff cuffs, and I interface only the outer cuff. Is it wrong to interface the inner and outer cuffs, or to use a stiff interfacing? Absolutely not. The crispness of the finished cuff is up to you.
My shirt will be made of a navy cotton bird print purchased in New York City’s Garment District. I’ll use this fabric solely on the outer cuff. The inner cuff will be made from a solid tan twill shirting that picks up the tan in the bird print. I love a contrasting inner cuff.
Though I am making shaped cuffs, I cut the cuff pieces initially as simple rectangles and shape them only after interfacing the outer cuff. This helps to guarantee the inner and outer cuffs are identical in size and shape.