SEEM­INGLY UNIM­POR­TANT FEA­TURES TO CON­SIDER WHILE MAK­ING A ‘PER­FECT’ SHIRT

Stitch World - - NEWS -

An or­di­nary look­ing shirt is ac­tu­ally not at all or­di­nary when it comes to tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics. Though shirt is known as one of the most sta­ple prod­ucts since a cen­tury, it does take a lot of ef­fort on the part of the de­sign­ers and pro­duc­tion man­agers to pro­duce it. There are thou­sands of man­u­fac­tur­ers and they use count­less ways to man­u­fac­ture a shirt ac­cord­ing to their own un­der­stand­ing but the ques­tion is: Are they man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­ni­cally cor­rect? Maybe not! In last two is­sues of StitchWorld, we de­coded var­i­ous ways by which men’s shirts are made as well as the de­sign night­mares that are there for the shirt man­u­fac­tur­ers. The third ar­ti­cle in the se­ries dis­cusses few fea­tures that are mostly over­looked by the shirt man­u­fac­tur­ers and which were dis­cussed ex­ten­sively at TANTU sem­i­nar held at In­dia In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre, New Delhi re­cently.

Ashirt should be com­fort­able and should fit snugly with­out restrict­ing the move­ments of the wearer and, to achieve that com­fort level, the ex­per­tise of pat­tern mak­ers, ef­fec­tive­ness of sewing op­er­a­tors, and con­sid­er­a­tion of de­sign­ers to­wards aes­thetic com­fort in shirt play key role. A few of the most sig­nif­i­cant fea­tures in dress shirt mak­ing are ef­fec­tive back pleat con­struc­tion, sleeve pleat con­struc­tion, placket at­tach­ment and pocket at­tach­ment. How­ever it is seen that most of the man­u­fac­tur­ers over­look these im­por­tant op­er­a­tions.

Back pleat…

A per­son’s back has a nat­u­ral curve and wear­ing the wrong shirt can cause dis­com­fort through­out the day. Back pleats are cre­ated to help con­form the shirt to a spe­cific body type and give the wearer more move­ment around the shoul­ders and arms. There are num­ber of back pleat op­tions avail­able in­clud­ing box pleat at cen­tre, knife pleat on two sides and no pleat. While de­sign­ing, the pleats can be used in two dif­fer­ent ways. Some­times box pleat is stitched from back yoke till waist area just for de­sign and aes­thetic pur­pose and there is no func­tional use of this kind of pleat. On the other hand, when it comes to func­tion­al­ity, the most im­por­tant as­pect to keep in mind while mak­ing a pleat pat­tern is the yoke height. The height should not be more than the across back as when it goes be­yond that limit, there will be dif­fi­culty in move­ment, there­fore cen­tre back yoke height should be 4 to 4.5 inch for the de­sired re­sults. While dress shirts have knife pleats at sides, the casual shirts have box pleats at the cen­tre.

More­over, there are few pleats with the gath­er­ings. The pleat on ei­ther side of the back with gath­er­ing is more prefer­able in shirts with heavy shrink­age. A few of the shirts made from del­i­cate fab­rics such as cot­ton and rayon have more shrink­age. Even af­ter giv­ing all the al­lowances for shrink­age, the shirt still has the ten­dency to shrink, so in that case, gath­er­ings are given in pleats on the back.

Markedly, a clas­sic dress shirt is one that is made with­out the pleat which means that ev­ery pa­ram­e­ter and mea­sure­ment right from chest, back, bot­tom to col­lar is cor­rect. Pleats some­how give more room for tol­er­ance and for cov­er­ing up the mis­take. But, the irony is, some of the man­u­fac­tur­ers avoid con­struc­tion of back pleat con­sid­er­ing the

A clas­sic dress shirt is one that is made with­out the pleat which means that ev­ery pa­ram­e­ter and mea­sure­ment right from chest, back, bot­tom to col­lar is cor­rect. Pleats some­how give more room for tol­er­ance and for cov­er­ing up the mis­take.

fact that it re­quires im­mense level of train­ing for the fin­ish­ing op­er­a­tors and that train­ing never comes free of cost. Fail­ing to iron the crit­i­cal pleat area, the man­u­fac­tur­ers in­di­rectly make the shirt look aes­thet­i­cally bad.

Sleeve pleat…

Sleeve pleats are very sub­tle. 0.5'' fold of fab­ric at the cuff of the shirt is used to de­ter­mine the rate at which the sleeve ta­pers from the bi­cep ( sleeve width), through the el­bow, and down to the cuff cir­cum­fer­ence. The num­ber of pleats in the sleeve is con­trolled by the cus­tom shirt size pro­file. There are dif­fer­ent types of sleeve pleats such as 1- pleat, 2- pleat, 3- pleat and in­verted pleat which are close to the sleeve placket. How­ever, the man­u­fac­tur­ers still have less un­der­stand­ing of which pleat should be used un­der which sce­nario.

Nor­mally, 1- pleat method is widely used but for the cus­tomers hav­ing big fore­arms, 2- pleat method is prefer­able. For ex­am­ple, a sports­man with slightly large fore­arms gen­er­ally prefers 2- pleat shirt which gives

While driv­ing a car, a ver­ti­cal pleat stitched few inches away from the arm­hole, may ful­fil the driver’s pur­pose of flex­i­bil­ity in wrist move­ment. On the other hand, when he needs more space in his waist area for move­ment, then a box pleat may serve his pur­pose of com­fort.

him proper space for his wrist move­ment. On the other hand, 3- pleat shirt is de­signed for peo­ple

( rock climbers, wrestlers) with par­tic­u­larly very thick fore­arms and bi­ceps. It is im­por­tant for peo­ple with thick bi­ceps to have ex­tra full­ness and flex­i­bil­ity in their wrist and el­bow move­ment which is achieved by 3- pleat de­sign.

More­over, it is ob­served that these pleats are not prop­erly at­tached in a shirt as proper align­ment of the fab­ric edge with the cuff edge is not done. The man­u­fac­tur­ers need to learn that there should not be any mis­align­ment be­tween fab­ric edge and cuff edge as well as no gath­er­ings are al­lowed dur­ing stitch­ing at the join­ing area in or­der to pro­duce a qual­ity shirt.

Fur­ther­more, an­other im­por­tant as­pect to con­sider is the depth and the place­ment of the pleat. The po­si­tion should be in the cen­tre of the sleeve slit and when the wearer folds the sleeve, it should come in-be­tween the shirt slit. The sec­ond pleat should be on the half fold of the sleeve.

Placket at­tach­ment…

The shirt placket is the nar­row strip of lay­ered fab­ric that runs down the front of a men’s dress shirt. It serves three pur­poses: firstly, it plays the role of pro­vid­ing an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing pol­ish to the shirt front; sec­ondly, it helps the shirt main­tain its shape and struc­ture; and thirdly, it serves as a foun­da­tion for the but­ton­holes. There are two main types of shirt plack­ets – front placket and sleeve placket.

Is­sues that oc­cur the most while at­tach­ing plack­ets are:

a) The stan­dard width of front placket is 2.5 to 3 cm, whereas size en­larges, the placket width in­creases pro­por­tion­ally and it can go up to 4 cm. But, this stan­dard of width is not be­ing fol­lowed by the man­u­fac­tur­ers re­sult­ing in de­te­ri­o­rated qual­ity as well as low aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing shirt.

b) There are three types of align­ment in sleeve placket: cen­tre, half fold and off cen­tre. The cor­rect and the most pre­ferred way of plac­ing placket is in the cen­tre of the cuff which is again an area mostly over­looked by the man­u­fac­tur­ers.

c) The shirt man­u­fac­tur­ers also fail to ad­dress is­sues that oc­cur due to the in­cor­rect shank of the but­ton. Min­i­mum 2 to 2.5 mm shank is prefer­able which plays a key role in re­duc­ing the gap be­tween front plack­ets. Sec­ondly, but­ton wrap­ping is again a sig­nif­i­cant as­pect for but­ton se­cu­rity. If proper wrap­ping is ab­sent, shank be­comes tighter which leads to the dam­age of the but­ton.

Sim­ply put, it is al­ways ad­vis­able for the man­u­fac­tur­ers to fol­low the stan­dards in or­der to im­prove the func­tion­al­ity and de­sign of the shirt as far as plack­ets are con­cerned.

Pocket at­tach­ment…

Front placket serves three pur­poses: firstly, it plays the role of pro­vid­ing an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing pol­ish to the shirt front; sec­ondly, it helps the shirt main­tain its shape and struc­ture; and thirdly, it serves as a foun­da­tion for the but­ton­holes.

It is al­ways ad­vis­able for the man­u­fac­tur­ers to fol­low the stan­dards in or­der to im­prove the func­tion­al­ity and de­sign of the shirt as far as plack­ets are con­cerned.

Pocket at­tach­ment op­er­a­tion may seem easy but it is a time- con­sum­ing op­er­a­tion in a shirt. There are two ways of at­tach­ing a pocket in the shirt: ( i) Start sewing from the front placket side; and ( ii) Start sewing from the arm­hole side. Gen­er­ally, the first op­tion is com­monly used in most of the fac­to­ries, be­cause the spec­i­fi­ca­tion men­tions a ref­er­ence dis­tance from the front placket and the high­est shoul­der point.

Al­though it is de­bat­able which method is cor­rect, start­ing to sew from arm­hole side could be tech­ni­cally cor­rect. Be­cause while sewing from arm­hole side, the oper­a­tor ro­tates the ma­te­rial be­ing sewn in anti- clock­wise di­rec­tion, which is the nor­mal in­stinct of move­ment for any hu­man be­ing. If the pocket is sewn from front placket side, the oper­a­tor has to ro­tate the ma­te­rial in clock­wise di­rec­tion, which is against the nat­u­ral mo­tion of move­ment by any oper­a­tor, ir­re­spec­tive of whether he is right- handed or left- handed.

A shirt with no back pleat (left); and shirt with cen­tre back box pleat

Pocket at­tach­ment can be done ei­ther from front placket side or from arm­hole side (ar­rows in­di­cate sewing di­rec­tions)

Sleeve pleat types (from left to right): One Pleat, Two Pleat, Three Pleat and Three Pleat un­der­side view

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