The Tailored Shirt #11: Cuffs and Hems

Dear Reader,

Today we’re tacking the cuffs and shirt-tail hems for our shirt:

  • Staystitching and Interfacing
  • Prepare and Attach Front Pocket
  • Shirt Front Bands
  • Yoke and Shoulder Seams
  • Prepare and Attach Collar and Neckband
  • Prepare Sleeve Placket
  • Attach Sleeve to Armscye, flat-fell armscye seams
  • Sew Side and Sleeve Seams (with flat-felling)
  • Prepare Cuffs
  • Pleat Sleeves, Attach Cuffs, Topstitch Cuffs
  • Rolled Hems along bottom of shirt
  • Buttonholes (including front band, collar, cuffs, and sleeves)
  • Attach all Buttons
  • Final Shirt Press


McCall’s 2447 uses two separate pieces for the outside and inside facing of the cuff.  This differs from the pattern in Pam Howard’s class, which uses a single pattern piece for each cuff. Also, in my pattern the cuff is constructed (outside and inside sewn right sides, facing, seam allowances trimmed and clipped) and then turned before attaching to shirt.  And finally, the ends of cuff are flush with ends of sleeve plackets, rather than extending 5/8 inch past the ends of the plackets as Pam Howard does. (Or at least that’s what the diagrams in the pattern instructions indicate.

So, I decided to just follow the pattern instructions.

First, had to cope with the fact I ironed on the interfacing to the right side of the fabric on one of the cuffs (bottom cuff in the photo).  So the wrong side of the fabric would face outside if the cuff were made. This meant re-cutting a new cuff and interfacing piece.


Then, when the interfacing failed to fuse properly on the replacement cuff, I yanked it off, cut another piece of interfacing, and got it to fuse properly on the second try. (Note to self: maybe fusible interfacing isn’t the way to go).

It seemed straightforward in my head to create and attach the cuff.  It’s very similar in nature to the process of  creating the collar/neckband piece, then attaching it to shirt.  The seam and the manner for folding it in and “sealing” it with the facing is identical.

I created the collar, trimmed, clipped the curves, and turn the collars right side out.




It turns out cuffs are just as hard to attach as collars, for the same reasons – making the top seams on the outside and and the facing seams on the inside line up with one another.

I measured and folded the facing piece along a line 5/8 inch from the top. This didn’t go far enough. So when stitching the outside seam, I followed the needle near the facing but didn’t go over it. The result was that I got a little less than 5/8 seam allowance on the outside seam, maybe closer to 1/2″.




Then I trimmed the seam allowance on the outer seam too much, so it didn’t go nicely underneath the facing.



I tried to fix one by re-stitching it on the machine, which left an ugly mess.



I edge-stitched around the cuffs with the inside facing upwards, so I was going against the edge of the facing.  But because the facing and outside seam lines were not lined up, the edgestitching left lines on the outside that didn’t line up with cuff seam.


Finally, I need to tune the thread tension for the topstitching. The outside of fabric showed the bobbin thread, which didn’t look like nice neat stitches because the tension was off.  I did try to lower the upper thread tension a bit for the second cuff; this didn’t help and might have made it worse.  So I will need to experiment on the next set of cuffs.

Also, the corners where the placket joined the cuff  turned out bulky.  I folded some scrap fabric and put it under the back of the presser foot to even it out.  This definitely helped, but there was still one time where the machine couldn’t the advance fabric with the feed dogs.  I’m going to have to learn to walk those things by hand with the hand wheel, or with the single-stitch button.

I think I will practice sewing some cuff samples from the remainder of my bedsheet for next time.

Rolled Hem

The rolled hem along the shirt tail went off without incident. Pam Howard’s method has you put down a guide stitch for the fold line:



Then roll the hem by folding along the stitch line, then fold into the stitch line, pin it, then sew it.



I had to work a bit to pull out all the guide stitches from Pam Howard’s method.  There was also an extreme amount of bulk at the front (buttonhole) band of the shirt, due to the heavy interfacing I was using compounded by the layering.  The machine was not happy stitching through it.

For next time, I think I’d like to try try practicing with my rolled hem foot and see if it gets easier/better.

Wash and Tryout

I threw  the shirt in the wash to get the Crayola markers out – it looks much better!

Some quick notes on the tryout:

  • Sleeves are too short – I pretty much knew this going in. I have long arms, and nearly all ready-to-wear shirts have too-short sleeves on me.
  • The sleeves are poofy. There’s also crazy folds and wrinkles in the upper part of the sleeve, due to the fullness. Is there a way to edit this out of the pattern?
  • Shoulders are almost OK on me – they could be brought in 1/2-3/4 inch.

The shirt could be quite wearable if I crop the sleeves and make it a short-sleeve shirt.

Next time: Buttons and buttonholes, and the final REVEAL!

1 thought on “The Tailored Shirt #11: Cuffs and Hems

  1. John Yingling

    Easy rolled hem for shirts is to serge the raw of the hem, then from the wrong side, fold it twice, keeping it as narrow as possible, but wide enough to sew neatly, between 1/4″ and 3/8″. Keeping the fold narrow will allow easy stitching at any curves. At bulky edges, hand crank the machine. John Yingling

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