The Collar Stand and Fall

In this post I will try to examine the shape of the collar.


In my first pattern, PPD-0101,    the collar is not quite right.  I  admit that over the last few months I  put more effort into developing the software to produce a pattern based on body dimensions than I did on perfecting the pattern itself.  Also, I admit that I do not quite understand the shape of the collar itself.  So, in the pattern I produced a collar that seemed to work.   As I now have more time to spend on the pattern,  I want to understand the shape of the collar.

Several of the books I have on drafting shirts show something like the following from “Fundamentals of Men’s Fashion Design,  A Guide to Casual Clothes” by Edmund B. Roberts and Gary Onishenko, 2nd edition, 1985,  page 73:

Dress shirt collar drafting instructions
Dress shirt collar drafting instructions

They don’t say any more  than just that ”  A dress shirt has a crisp look and consists of a fall and a stand”  They do not explain the shape or how they arrived at it.

When I look at one of my few sample RTW shirts I see this:



The collar seam does have a bit of curvature. The collar stand looks completely different. This shirt does   looks similar to what I have seen In Kwik Sew Pattern 2777:

KwiK Sew Collar pattern


My impression is that the shape of the collar stand is not crucial to the fall.   I believe the shape of the collar stand has more to do with fitting the neck and that this becomes more important as  collar stand becomes larger and/or  stiffer.

To study the fall, I am going to proceed  on the assumption that  a good fall can be achieve by shaping the collar only.  I will test the different collar shapes on an un-shaped collar stand

I drafted the following three test shapes:



I then constructed the collars as normal and sewed them onto ribbon to test the shape of the fall:




And here are the results:


  • In Case A;  The fall was so tight to the collar stand that I could barely get the tie on.
  •  Case B is very good but the collar is still slightly pinched at the shoulder seam and does not flow  smoothly over the over the knot (right side of image).
  • Case C seems to be the best fitting  collar. The edge of the collar has a nice drape, the collar does not pinch at the shoulder seam and the collar passes smoothly over the knot.

What I have learned from this study is that   the curvature of the collar at the collar seam is necessary to provide the volume between the collar fall and the collar stand.  More curvature = more volume.  Now it seems to me that the back of the neck would need less volume and less curvature and the front of the neck, especially in the area of the knot,  would need more volume and more curvature.  I will consider this as I play around with the collar design a bit more.

The next challenge is to understand the shape of the collar stand.


2 thoughts on “The Collar Stand and Fall”

  1. Martin,

    I recommend you run – do not walk – to the bookstore and buy a copy of David Page Coffin’s new book, “The Shirtmaking Workbook.”. David has done the experiments you describe here and shares his results, with MANY pages of sample photos.

    (Okay, you can buy the book at Amazon, but I wanted to open with some dramatic effect.)

    1. Yes, thank you. I have his previous books and they got me sewing. I only found out a few days ago that he had a new book but I haven’t had time to get it. I will.

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