Tugging, pulling and general wear can seriously affect a collar. Whether it’s a cotton undershirt that’s starting to look bedraggled, a uniform that needs re-starching, or a collar on a shirt that’s losing its shape, it’s not a great look.
Most martial arts uniforms are made of thick starched material. For many martial arts, and most sports in general, taking care of your uniform and equipment is essential if you want it to last a long time.
For any kind of sport, taking care of your uniform is a sign of respect. Not just for your school, but your teacher, yourself, and the art form.
Many places want you to wear an undershirt when you are practicing, or if you’re working out in general and at the gym often, you’ll notice that your clothing can start to look stretched out and unsightly.
But what happens when your tees are starting to look a little rough?
When you are practicing or training several times a week, your t-shirts can easily start to look discolored, look messy, and the collar can also begin to stretch.
It doesn’t help that pulling and sweating are common in sports, giving plenty of opportunity for wear and tear.
So, how do you get your collars back to their former glory?
Buying new ones is not a good solution when you can use some of these handy tips to get them looking good as new. Read on for more information!
What Causes Stretched Collars?
There are two main things that cause a stretched collar:
- Stretching from pulling and grabbing at the neckline – common in contact sports, general rough and tumble, and going to the gym.
- Drying incorrectly – you can stretch your collar by not drying your shirts in the right way.
Stretching from pulling will cause the fibers in your neckline to pull apart.
As the stitching becomes looser, and those fibers become less stretchy, you’ll notice that the elasticity in your shirt’s collar stops stretching back into place. Instead, it stays limp and dangles down.
If you dry your shirts by hanging them up on pegs from the shoulders, the heavy water in the collar of your t-shirt will weigh the fabric down, causing the same thing to happen.
Over time, this weight wears down the elasticity of the shirt, making it look loose and ill-fitting. Not a good look if you want to look smart or put together when wearing your favorite tees, whether that be to the park or the gym.
How Can You Fix A Stretched Collar?
There are a few methods you can use to fix a stretched collar and return your favorite gym wear or sports outfit to its former glory.
Use this method as an easy way to get rid of that annoying ‘wavy’ edge (also known as ‘bacon neck’) that old tees tend to develop as time goes on.
You Will Need:
- A bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes
- A flat surface to dry your tees
- An Iron
- Place your collar into the bowl of ice water. The cold water will firm up the cotton in your t-shirt, making it fuse better.
- Squeeze out the excess moisture from your t-shirt.
- Place your shirt flat on an iron-proof surface and flatten it out
- Run your iron over the collar, focussing on using a vertical, upward motion and moving in small sections, being careful not to iron it fully dry.
- Now, place the almost dry t-shirt on a flat surface whilst it fully dries.
- Ta-dah! Your shirt should look good as new!
Another Temperature Hack:
Simply pop your shirt in the wash at a very high temperature! Like you’ve accidentally done with your favorite blouse, you can shrink your collar, by shrinking your shirt itself in the washer and dryer.
Pop it on a hot wash and a hot tumble and the heat will shrink the fibers of your shirt.
Sewing Your Stretched Collar
Some shirts are beyond a simple temperature change. If your shirt has been yanked and pulled, especially a few times, you will find that you need to remake the neckline.
Depending on the style of the shirt this can be an easy task.
You Will Need:
- A sewing machine
- Thread in the same color as your t-shirt
- Sewing chalk
- Turn your shirt inside out.
- Mark how small you want the neckline to be with chalk.
- Take in the seams on both of your shoulders, cutting away the excess fabric.
- Resew the shoulders, making sure to place them against you to make sure it looks right.
- Iron your new seams flat and try on to make sure your neckline is even.
This method works best with a shirt that has become oversized, as you will still have room in the arms to make this adjustment without making it feel uncomfortable.
You could also try folding your old baggy neckline over and feeding through some elastic thread, before sewing it in place with a footer. This will create a gathered effect that can look smarter than a baggy old neckline.
Top Tip: You can add a fabric piece to the t-shirt if the stretching is so bad that a few darts won’t cut it.
You can do this by adding some complimentary pattern or design to the bottom section of your neckline, making it a better shape.
Keeping your martial arts and gym kit in good condition is paramount to looking good and showing respect to the sport, including your undershirts.
When you put in the effort to look your best in all areas of your life, this comes forth in other areas such as your performance and your drive to succeed.
Don’t forget, you can of course use these tips for any type of shirt collar, whether it be for business or a casual shirt that you want to keep looking its best!