Shirt anatomy: discover the shirt in all its parts


A shirt is an amazingly complex item of clothing. It consists of numerous parts, each of which has a specific name that has never been changed since its creation.

These are the parts and an explanation of how they are made.

Front: this is an assembly of the front parts of the shirt, where the buttons and the pockets – if any -are applied. It is also split into two parts: left front and right front.

Front placket: this is the front strip of cloth that includes the button holes. It cannot be seen on elegant or dress shirts, while it is stitched and visible on casual or sports models.

Sleeve placket: the slit that starts from the cuff in the direction of the elbow, generally fastened by a smaller button. The sleeve placket does not need to have folded hems, as the edges are covered with the same fabric as the shirt and stitched.

Cuff: there are different types of cuff. On classic shirts, cuffs can be mitred or rounded and usually have openings for the insertion of cufflinks, while the sleeve is pleated where the cuff is attached. On classical models, the cuff is straight.

Sides: the number of seams along the sides is what shows the quality of the shirt itself. The more stitches there are per centimetre, the better the quality of the shirt. 7-8 stitches are indicative of an excellent shirt.

Hem: this is just the finish along the bottom of the shirt. It varies according to the model and the maker. Narrower hems show excellent care in workmanship.

Buttons: these are other elements that show the quality of a garment. On elegant models, buttons are at least 2-3 millimetres thick and usually are made in mother-of-pearl. There are often two spare buttons behind the front placket. A quality shirt also has a stem under each button so as to guarantee a better hold.

Armhole: this is the point in which the shirt sleeve is inserted. It can be added once the main part of the shirt is finished, and then stitched by hand, using flat fell seams.

Yoke: the part that covers the shoulder. Excellently made items will have this sewn on separately, in a double fabric, cut vertically. This is the first piece to be sewn, with the application of the label.

Back: this is the rear of the shirt, which will vary according to the design of the shirt. Backs can be smooth, with two side pleats, or with darts.

Collar: this too will vary according to the shirt model. The most widely used are: straight-point collar, cutaway collar, mandarin collar, wing collar and button-down collar. On elegant shirts, the collar is stiffened by inserting metal, bone or non-deformable plastic collar sticks.

Gusset: this is the portion of fabric in a variety of shapes, found on both sides of the shirt, where it is stitched between the front and back to reinforce the seams and prevent tearing.

And from now on, no shirt will have any secrets from you. More details coming soon.

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