Good Afternoon,

I am trying to better understand the various ways to take in a dress shirt so that I can make the best decision. From what I understand there are two ways to do it. The first way would be to take in material along the sides. The problem with this from what I can gather is that it removes equal material from both the front and the back. Since most men have a bit of a belly and a flat/hollow back, it may look good from the front while still leaving excess material in the back. The second method is creating darts which is where some of the fabric above ones "love handles" is folded over. Pros are these can be let back out if I gain weight. Cons are some people find darts unsightly.

Have I missed anything. Is there anything else I should consider?

Thank you,

Roland
 

Tempest

Honors Member
Front darts are done on men's shirts? I'm familiar with lower back ones. From a construction standpoint, I'd figure darts to be less work, as there is no flat felled seam, or even cutting, needed.
 

cellochris

Super Member
I have two white shirts exactly the same. One was tailored the first way, one was darted in the back. I do not mind the materials taken in along the sides. The darted shirt I only wear with jackets; I do not like the look.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Over the past 50+ years I've had countless shirts tapered to provide a more streamlined fit and, based on my admittedly somewhat flawed memory(;)), all have been taken in along the side seams. Darts have less place on a shirt than they do on a sport coat or suit jacket (IMHO)!
 

Spex

Super Member
Darts on dress shirts (meaning not button down collars with box pleats) around my city seem to be common. I don't mind them and they serve their purpose to shape the back of shirts, as in this day and age many men go jacketless. I would not find darts on the back of a box-pleated OCBD to be a good look.

I'm not sure that it's true that taking in material from the sides means that an equal amount needs to be taken from the front and the back. Can anyone attest to this?
 

Matt S

Connoisseur
Darts can clean up the back of the shirt, but they don't take in that much. It's common for both taking in the sides and adding darts in the back to be necessary for a great fit. I don't find darts on a shirt all that unsightly. They're only in the back, and they give the back a cleaner shape. I prefer darts over a baggy back.

I'm not sure if the front and back of a shirt can be taken in at different amounts. The geometry of taking in the back more through the side seams may not work as well as adding darts.
 

paul winston

Super Member
Advertiser
Darts on dress shirts (meaning not button down collars with box pleats) around my city seem to be common. I don't mind them and they serve their purpose to shape the back of shirts, as in this day and age many men go jacketless. I would not find darts on the back of a box-pleated OCBD to be a good look.
When taking in the side seams it is not necessary to take the same amount of material from the front and the back. Who ever is doing the alteration will determine how it should be done - none from the front and some from the back, unequal amounts from front and back, etc.

Paul Winston
Winston Tailors/ www.chippneckwear.com
 

WA

Honors Member
With a custom shirt the details should be figured out at the fittings, no need for darts.

Mass-produced shirts come finished, as do m2m. There are less adjustments here, unless a lot of seams are undone and resewn. Then might as well have done custom. What Paul Winston says above seems best for pre-made.
 

orange fury

Connoisseur
Consult with a tailor- almost all of my shirts are altered by taking in at the sides, but I had a couple shirts that my tailor did darts on (due to the initial fit/cut of the shirt, he told me it would create a better fit than he would be able to get out of reconstructing the whole shirt). I don't mind back pleats, but front pleats on men look horrible

Edit: just saw Paul's post, ill defer to his expertise
 

Sam H

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I get shirts made at CEGO so it's not like I'm buying ill-fitting clothing. I still have darts in all my CEGO shirts except the linen one I bought.

You cannot take in the sides of a shirt in such a way that it makes up for large drop or weird posture. These two things lead to the need for 3-dimensional shaping that can only be achieved with darts.

I have both mediocre posture and a large-ish drop (40 chest/32 waist in jacket/pants sizing whatever that may imply vanity sizing wise). Without darts, even a custom made shirt will billow out in the lower back. To me this looks like bad fit, and fit is the most important part. There's really no way around it. None of these darts make my shirts super tight or anything. They just pull in the excess lower back fabric that cannot be handled with proper sizing alone.
 

cellochris

Super Member
Thank you all very much for your help. Whats a fair price for taking in at the seam and for darts too?

Roland
Roland,

I have a friend who is doing this for me for two shirts. He is charging me $45 each to:
-take in the sides
-remove excess fabric from sleeves
-shorten the sleeves

This is a big project and I wouldn't normally do this (probably easier just to purchase a new shirt) except that these have sentimental value. Tomorrow I pick up the shirts and I'll ask him what his rate is to take in the sides and dart.

I see you are in New Jersey. When I lived in Secaucus there were many tailors; I worked with some Koreans who did pretty decent work. Ask around and get some rates. Develop a relationship with one if you are able.

Good luck,

-Chris
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
^^The wife alters my shirts for me for free, but indeed, a reasonable argument could be made that there are certainly (undisclosed) costs. However, seamstresses and alterations tailors that have completed such work for me have charged between $15 and $30 per shirt, with most falling in the $20 range. ;)
 

MRR

Senior Member
I have both mediocre posture and a large-ish drop (40 chest/32 waist in jacket/pants sizing whatever that may imply vanity sizing wise). Without darts, even a custom made shirt will billow out in the lower back.
Sounds like an argument to bring back the vest.
 

orange fury

Connoisseur
Roland,

I have a friend who is doing this for me for two shirts. He is charging me $45 each to:
-take in the sides
-remove excess fabric from sleeves
-shorten the sleeves

-Chris
My tailor charges $40 for the same thing, so I would say that's reasonable.

im thankful that I have a body shape where taking in the sides fully eliminates the billow on most shirts (every one I've bought). This is why I love my RLPL shirts- the cut fits well off the rack, but after these alterations, the shirt fits me like its bespoke.
 

Americanninja

Starting Member
I get shirts made at CEGO so it's not like I'm buying ill-fitting clothing. I still have darts in all my CEGO shirts except the linen one I bought.

You cannot take in the sides of a shirt in such a way that it makes up for large drop or weird posture. These two things lead to the need for 3-dimensional shaping that can only be achieved with darts.

I have both mediocre posture and a large-ish drop (40 chest/32 waist in jacket/pants sizing whatever that may imply vanity sizing wise). Without darts, even a custom made shirt will billow out in the lower back. To me this looks like bad fit, and fit is the most important part. There's really no way around it. None of these darts make my shirts super tight or anything. They just pull in the excess lower back fabric that cannot be handled with proper sizing alone.
Interesting. This is the first time I heard this, but it has me interested. I have quite a large-ish drop, as you put it, (45" chest / 34" waist). So I have extra fabric in the lower back, but I was thinking this could just be fix by taking in the shirt around the waist and where my pants sit, as the excess slack in shirt is only around this area. Your comment gave me an idea to try darts, but I think that's out of the question, because having darts with double pleats would look really bad. right!? Do you now use pleats on your shirts? I find that due to my large chest and broad shoulders, I MUST have double pleats on the shirt, otherwise the shirt is too restrictive and it pulls too much at the sideseams near the armhole. Adding the pleats was the only way to finally get the shirt to look fitted and feel comfortable. I assume this would be required if you have a rather large chest shoulder as opposed to waist.

Do you have a similar issue?
 

WA

Honors Member
Interesting. This is the first time I heard this, but it has me interested. I have quite a large-ish drop, as you put it, (45" chest / 34" waist). So I have extra fabric in the lower back, but I was thinking this could just be fix by taking in the shirt around the waist and where my pants sit, as the excess slack in shirt is only around this area. Your comment gave me an idea to try darts, but I think that's out of the question, because having darts with double pleats would look really bad. right!? Do you now use pleats on your shirts? I find that due to my large chest and broad shoulders, I MUST have double pleats on the shirt, otherwise the shirt is too restrictive and it pulls too much at the sideseams near the armhole. Adding the pleats was the only way to finally get the shirt to look fitted and feel comfortable. I assume this would be required if you have a rather large chest shoulder as opposed to waist.

Do you have a similar issue?
Alex Kabbaz has made shirts for men with large drops. Believe he said that he does not put in darts. Believe he said he did not put in pleats either. At the fittings he takes time to figure these problems out.

Shifting a seam to a better place.
 

FiscalDean

Super Member
Alex Kabbaz has made shirts for men with large drops. Believe he said that he does not put in darts. Believe he said he did not put in pleats either. At the fittings he takes time to figure these problems out.

I believe a minimum first order is around six shirts costing several thousand dollars. My wife would put her foot down at this point. If I were in the position to purchase his shirts, I would expect a "perfect shirt" without any workarounds.

I have to say though, I do appreciate my purchases of socks from him.
 
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