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Can someone give me an overview of lining and fusing in shirts

8743 Views 49 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Alexander Kabbaz

Why are you so against fusing?

Trevor L. Furbay

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Properly Fusing a collar costs me more ... much more ... than making an unfused collar. It lays flatter, lasts longer, and looks crisper. Fusing coats or shirt cuffs & center plackets can be another matter entirely.

Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers
* Bespoke Shirts & Furnishings * Zimmerli Swiss Underwear **
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quote:I should elaborate: Fusing, as Alex notes, has its place, and can be done well. But, for the most part, it is used as a way to cut manufacturing costs. This is fine if it is part of a strategy to keep costs down for the consumer. But too often it's used as a way to increase the markup. If I'm going to pay premium prices, I expect premium quality in return.
Also, I find fusing hugely unpredictable. It's hard to tell how well it's been done and how well it will hold up.
I agree completely with Doc Holiday on this.

quote: The fusing is on the side of the collar that does not show, right?
Why would you prefer not to fuse the inside of - for instance - barrel cuffs? Wouldn't that simply help them retain their shape better?
No. It is on the underside of the cloth that shows. Why not on cuffs? Because cuffs actually touch you whereas collar leaves do not. I don't really want that extreme stiffness touching me. Some clients (two) insist that I fuse their cuffs. They must beat their wrists agains ricebags to build up callouses in advance.

quote:Alex, can you address the issue of collar shrinkage? Is it collar fusing that continues to shrink or other factors?
Is it improper laundering? Is it bad fusing or application techninique that causes shrinkage?
What's the deal?
I am asking about shirt collars that are 16" when new and 15" 6 months later.
Would really like to know?
Although there is a certain degree of truth to all of the factors you mention, the primary reason is not what I would call 'bad' fusing. It is improper technique. Most of the bad techniques have to do with an inherent defect in the construction of production-oriented fusing machines.

The remainder of the bad techniques are hinted at in my book. All of the bad techniques are listed in my Last Will and Testament as a gift to any of my children who go into the business. If none do, they will appear in the revised edition of the book. [}:)]

Kabbaz-Kelly & Sons Fine Custom Clothiers
* Bespoke Shirts & Furnishings * Zimmerli Swiss Underwear **
* Alex Begg Cashmere * Pantherella Socks *
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Mr. K appears to be indicating that fused shirt cuffs and center plackets may be a bad idea as opposed to just fusing the shirt collar. Why is this?
The collar leaf does not touch the skin. Only the collar band does. Fused shirt parts should not touch the skin. The are hard and can irritate.

Additionaly, it is more difficult to remove 'ring around the ___" soil from fused parts. Ring around the cuff - especially that created by gold or silver jewelry, is one of the hardest types of soil to remove; doubly difficult if the cuff is fused.

The 'fused look' is something which lends itself well to a certain type of collar; i.e.: the strong, confident, "in-charge" power look. It does not make a good casual or roll button-down collar.

In sum, the ability to properly fuse should be one of the tools in a shirtmaker's kit. It should not be the only tool nor should it always be the first choice.

None of the above applies to mass-made products where fusing is a cost-saving tool in the bean-counters' toolkits, not a device for enhancing a product.
private message said:
I was just reading with much interest your old post about fused and traditional collar types. I do not seem to recall actually seeing an unfused collar with interlining. Are traditional collars ever done with interlining? If not, why not?
All collars are made with interlining. The is the "stiffener" which makes the collar harder than the shirt. Interlinings come in many varieties:

Non-woven: A paper-like substance. Cheap.

Woven: In many grades from soft to stiff and in many price categories from cheap to very expensive.

Non-woven fusible: A paper-like substance with some kind of glue. Cheap.

Woven fusible: In many grades from soft to stiff and in many price categories from cheap to very expensive. The expensive uses a very high-grade high-temperature high-pressure polyamide molecular bonding agent. The cheap uses ... some kind of glue.
OK - So all collars are made with interlining. Are all plackets generally made with interlining as well?

Based on your post, it sounds like I should always request a woven interlining. Are there any specific types of woven interlinings that I should request or try to avoid?
Most firms make top center plackets with interlining; some do not.

As for requesting "types" of woven interlinings - it is not likely to be your choice. Woven interlinings range in price from under $1 per yard to $30-40 per yard. It is unlikely that your maker will stock any outside the quality/price range in which the firm trades.

I have a bunch of Mercer shirts and it sure feels like there is no interlining at all in the collar or cuffs, but rather two pieces of the shirt cloth sewn together.
This is almost never done for the interior seaming will show through. There may be 3 shirt fabric pieces sewn together or a very soft interlining - neither of which are acceptable in a dress shirt. Or it may have a very soft piece of non-woven fusible interlining which you probably won't be able to feel.

If you really want to know, wait until the shirts are in the discard pile and then cut the collar open.
^^ I disagree with your opinion as to what constitutes an acceptable dress shirt. In addition to the Mercers (both straight and button down collars) I have a number of Charvet MTM shirts with a medium-wide spread collar for which I specified the softest possible collars and cuffs. I beleive these too are unlined and unfused, and are as soft or softer than the Mercers (much higher quality shirtings of course).

The Charvets look great with or without a tie. I take all these shirts to a laundry that hand presses, to avoid the sometimes undesireable creasing that occurs in pressing these types of collars and cuffs. But I think this is worth it for the comfort they provide while wearing. I generally feel the choice of collars and cuffs in this context is a personal preference. Sure a stiff, fused, lined collar presses better and looks very sharp, but in my opinion they are also uncomforatable and can feel sharp against the neck and wrist as well.
As a bespoke maker, it is not I who makes the decisions about your shirt. It is you. I have made dress collars as light as you describe and, though I may not like them, I'm not the one wearing them. What I like and consider acceptable is absolutely unimportant. G. Bruce Boyer's personal collars are a fine example of your preference.

As for your liking how the collar feels, the leaf should not be touching your neck. In the arena of 'feeling' we have gone as far as to make unlined collar bands, the interior lined in silk charmeuse.
Is it pretty standard for custom shirtmakers around Ascot Chang quality and above to use decent quality woven interlinings? What about Jantzen?
Jantzen - I doubt it. The interlining would cost them more than the shirt fabric. Ascot - I don't know. Possibly.

Caveat/Fact: Most of the Asian shirtmakers source Chinese interlinings. The better interlinings are Swiss and German.
OK - If this is the case then the shirt that I am getting fitted for probably does have a woven interlining in the placket.

This probably means that the fact that the placket doesn't open up like most shirts when the top button is unbuttoned is due to the overall cut and style of the shirt - not because of a lack of interlining or poor quality interlining in the placket.
Plackets can't "open up". They are sewn down on both sides. You may be referring to a plain or French center. Most of those are not lined.

But the answer to your question is that you should as him to place the first front button 2" below the collar button instead of the traditional 3". Or have him make this collar for you (which cannot be made for dress shirts):
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