Whether you’re a shirt connoisseur or a newbie in the field of Bespoke Tailoring, you may wonder what the term ‘fused’ means in respect of its association with collars. If you shop the high street its likely you’ve never heard of the word unless your referring to an electrical item. A widely accepted definition that encompasses a range of uses of the adjective is “joined or blended to form a single entity”. So, when it comes to shirt collars, fusing refers to way the collar is assembled so that it maintains a level of structure and rigidity that is required for it to serve its purpose.
So, a quick look at the construction of a shirt will tell you that the main body is made from one piece of material, whereas the collar and cuff are formed by using two outer facings, usually the same fabric as the main body of the shirt, though you can opt for a contrast collar and cuff should that be your style preference. Regardless of this it is usual for both the collar and cuff to have an ‘Interlining’ to create a more rigid structure to that part.
Whether or not you ought to go for a shirt with a fused or unfused collar will depend on a few things, style preference and the look you want to create should be number one. Different Shirtmakers will have their own preferences and standards when it comes to the way they construct shirts, and you should be able to discuss these details with them if you are going Bespoke.
So firstly, we will discuss unfused. This is the more traditional way to create a tailored shirt, favoured by English Shirtmakers and a technique used for centuries. It is a very precise and detailed part of shirt making where the interlining is sewn into position and separated from the outer facings’ appearance. Only a master tailor can xIt creates a rigid yet softer looking collar and can be less likely to alter in appearance as the shirt is used and washed over time. You can use a range of interlinings to create different looks. An unfused collar is softer to the touch, can look weightier and hold its shape better making it the perfect shirt for more formal looks, such as with a suit and tie.
A downside to this option can be that if the shirt isn’t cared for correctly, the varying fabrics used can cause a puckering of the interlining if it shrinks when washed incorrectly. This can often be ironed out, just iron from the collar points upwards into the collar if this occurs.
A fused collar is a style more commonly favoured by Italian Shirtmakers. They are constructed by fusing the interlining with the outer facings usually by gluing into place with hot glue. The process can be done by hand or, nowadays often high-tech machines are used. A fused collar shirt tends to have a much sharper look to it and lends itself well to certain collars. They suit a formal look without a tie, and work well with more casual ensembles but with a sharp defined look to them. At W H Taylor Shirtmakers we use fusing for Spread Collars, Button Down and Button Under as standard as it works better with the shape of those in our opinion. However you are able to choose fused for any collar you wish by simply selecting this option from ‘extras’ when choosing your shirt.
A downside to having a fused collar is they can look extremely stiff and sometimes bubble due to various reasons. If the fabric is misaligned or if the glue becomes pliable from heating during the washing process or isn't applied correctly then bubbling may occur.
Whatever you decide to go for you it should be thoroughly considered. If you are going to take the time and expense to create a bespoke tailored shirt, it should be one that suits your needs and style preference in its entirety. Here at W H Taylor we offer the widest range of options when it comes to creating your bespoke shirt. From collar style and fusing, to cuff style, contrast collar and cuff, button style and more. Whether you choose to go with our standardised body fit or fully tailored, we have you covered. We are also happy to discuss any queries with our clients prior to the purchasing process and throughout.