Classic Sizing of Men’s Shirts

This gave me a headache over the weekend.

Men’s shirts are sized according to neck circumference / collar width. And I ask myself if this is really the right way to do it as it is assumed that a man with wide shoulders also has a large neck circumference and vice versa. My own experience with my partner and the boys of the band shows however, that this is not the case. Most of them need a larger collar size and a smaller shoulder size.

One of my unfinished weekend projects was to experiment with adapting the Men’s Classic Sports Shirt of Islander Sewing Systems to the luxurious body of my Personal Prince Charming. And this turned out more difficult than expected.

After thorough measurements I decided that he needs a collar in 3XL and shoulder width (and shirt size) XL. I expected something like that because his RTW shirts are either too tight at the collar or the shoulders are hanging somewhere around the elbows.

Well, to adapt the neckline of the XL shirt to the 3XL collar was not so hard, but there must be some other changes besides the neckline; because the shirt is still not fitting the way I want it to fit. The body is wide enough, but there are still some odd wrinkles in the arm area and the shirt keeps sagging towards the back, threatening to strangle DH, even though the collar per se is wide enough.

Phew, once again I got a little confused with threedimensional thinking (not my strong point). And Mr. “I am an engineer and know everything better” had a few “helpful” suggestions which only confused me more. I love him dearly, but sometimes these technical guys can just drive you nuts.

Further fitting process has been postponed to next weekend and I have booked an hour of consultation by my dear neighbour who is a men’s tailor and she will hopefully pull me out of this disaster.

But halfway through this frustrating experience I had the idea that one could possibly design a modular shirt pattern, where you could pick the pattern parts for collar and yoke independently. It would require a template to draw the neckline for the desired collar width … hm … have to think about this some more.

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3 Responses to “Classic Sizing of Men’s Shirts”

  1. BeccaA Says:

    I agree about men’s shirt sizing. DH has broad shoulders and buying/sewing by neck size results in a shirt he can’t button across the chest or move his arms in. Modular sizing of various parts sounds like a great idea.

  2. Pam ~Off The Cuff~ Says:

    That’s why, as a ShirtMaker by profession, I hand-draft shirts to the exact measurements + ease of my custom-shirt clients πŸ˜‰ Altering a shirt pattern often takes much more time than drafting one.

    • sewvintage Says:

      Pam, you’re surely right. As a professional shirtmaker you certainly have loads of experience with patternmaking, but I have up to now never made a garment from scratch w/o pattern, so this scares me a little bit πŸ˜‰
      But maybe I should just jump right in and try it. If the sewing buddy consultation next weekend fails I will take the plunge.

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