[In the fall, Jonathan Vatner, Hue staff writer, took an introductory menswear sewing class. He has been blogging about his experiences on Hue, Too.]
How many collars do I have to sew before perfecting one? Don’t ask.
Innumerable things can go wrong, and I’ve seen them all. If the collar band isn’t cut to be perfectly symmetrical, there won’t be enough free material to attach to the shirt. If the curve of the collar doesn’t match the curve of the collar band exactly, the seam won’t hold all the plys. If one of the visible stitches is off by a few millimeters, it won’t look right on the other side of the fabric. If an edgestitch falls a millimeter in either direction, the whole collar looks sloppy. And edgestitching is like riding a Segway alongside a cliff. We all know how that turned out.
Each collar takes me about two hours to cut and sew, sometimes longer. And it doesn’t become apparent what a mucked-up job I’ve done until the end. It’s incredibly dispiriting.
After making too many DOA collars, I came in last weekend to get one right. And though a few stitches fell off the seam, I must say that on the whole, it didn’t look terrible.
There comes a point when “just better than terrible” is good enough.