There are several features that distinguish a high quality dress shirt from an inferior product. All Cloakroom garments are made using the following high quality tailoring processes.
Single needle stitching
A single row of stitches is sewn and then the fabric is folded back over onto itself and sewn again. Many manufacturers use double stitching, as the process is faster, but the gap between the two rows of stitching can pull and wrinkle. Single needle stitching not only looks neater but is also more durable.
Stitches per inch
High quality garments have many tight stitches; a process that is time consuming but more durable. A well-made dress shirt can have up to 25 stitches per inch and this is an easy indicator of the quality of workmanship. Stitches can be seen best on the side seams of a shirt.
Quality collars are generally made of two layers of fabric sewn on top of each other to create a stiffer feel. Collar stays are often worn with dressier shirts to add structure and more casual shirts are made with softer collars.
Most men have sloped shoulders that sit at different angles and double-yoked shirts are cut to accommodate these. With patterned fabrics such as stripes or checks, the patterns must be lined up to match on the two yokes.
Mother of pearl
Mother of pearl buttons are not only incredibly durable but add lustre and elegance to a shirt. Inferior shirts are made with plastic buttons. Quality tuxedo shirts are made with black mother of pearl buttons and more casual shirts with horn buttons.
Buttonholes should be cut first and then sewn. Buttonholes that are sewn and then cut result in messy loose threads that fray. The bottom buttonhole should be cut horizontally. This gives more movement for the button when you sit and your waist expands. Quality shirts also have a button on the placket.
A triangular piece of fabric is sewn into the bottom of the shirt adding strength to the garment. In Pistols at Dawn shirts, the gusset is often made from a different coloured fabric and when worn un-tucked, is a design feature.
Photos by Gian-Luca Wright