In nearly everyone’s closet, there is at least one shirt that just doesn’t quite fit anymore. While most of these are destined to go straight to the donation box, what about that designer shirt you love that fits you well but is just a bit too tight around the neck? I’m here to tell you that there is still hope for that shirt, so let me introduce you to this little shirt accessory, the shirt collar extender.
A shirt collar extender can be a lifesaver when your shirt it tight and you are gasping for air, but the truth must be told, you are going to love wearing it with your well-fitted shirts just because of the extra breathing space you get from it.
What is a Collar Extender?
If you don’t know what a collar extender is; it is time for you to crawl from under the rock you have been living these past years and keep on reading. A collar extender is a simple device that once attached to a shirt collar it adds a couple of inches around your neck to allow for a little bit of extra space. It works with nearly every kind of button and it usually has a piece of elastic with a button hole on one side and a small button on the other.
There are many different styles and shapes of collar extenders, but the best thing is that you could also make your own, and adapt it to make sure it fits your shirt collar perfectly.
Make Your Own Shirt Collar Extender
There are two methods to make your own shirt collar extender. The first one is pretty simple, straightforward, and we call this method, the Loop Extender. The second method is not as simple as the first one, as it does require some basic sewing skills, this is the Flat Extender.
You will learn both methods below, so you can pick the one that works best for you, but first things first, here are the materials you will need to buy to make your own custom shirt collar loop extender:
Additionally, these are the extra materials you will need to make a flat extender:
How to Make a Loop Extender
If you are going for a loop extender, the most important thing is to buy the right elastic string. Be sure to pick one that is thin enough to not be felt while wearing and that matches your shirt color. The same goes for the button; preferably it should match the shirt you are thinking of wearing, and the very best thing is to use that extra button that usually comes with dress shirts. On the other hand, if you are planning to wear your collar extender with more than one shirt, a transparent button is an obvious good choice.
Step 1: Measuring Your Neck
The first thing you need to do is to measure how much extra space you want around your neck. Put on your shirt and place yourself in front of a mirror. Use the tape measure to check the distance in between the ends of your collar while leaving a gap of space that is just enough to give you a comfortable fit around your neck. More often than not, one extra inch is all the extra space you will need.
Step 2: Making the Loop
The next step is to cut your elastic string to size and creating the loop that will become the main structure of your shirt collar extender. Grab your elastic string and cut off a piece that is three times longer than the gap measurement you took from your neck. Fold this piece of string in half and tie up the two ends of the string forming a loop.
Step 3: Attaching the Button
Attach a button to one of the ends of the loop using super glue to finish off this part of the process. You should use enough glue to keep the button permanently attached to one end of the loop, but not too much to the point of removing the loop flexibility.
Step 4: Wearing It
If you got up to this point, you are done! Once the glue is dry, put on your dress shirt and attach the empty end of your custom loop extender around the shirt collar button, and the fasten the loop extender button to the other end of your shirt collar. The only other thing you need to consider is to put on a tie, as collar extenders are accessories that are better worn in a discreet way. So, pick up a matching tie to complete your look
How to Make a Flat Extender
The most important piece of a flat extender is the flat elastic band that serves as the main body of the extender. The best choice for this type of collar extender is to go with a band that has a width of around 2 cm wide. If you want your extender to be discreet, which you should always want, be sure to pick an elastic band that is the same color of your shirt, and of course, the same tip goes for the button.
Step 1: Measure Your Neck
The very first step to create a flat extender is to find out how long does the elastic band needs to be, so pretty much as we’ve done in the first step of the loop extender, we need measure the gap between the ends of your shirt collar leaving just enough space comfort fit. Keep in mind that your measurement has to go over the collar button as well as the buttonhole on both sides of your shirt collar.
Step 2: Making the Marks
Next, grab your elastic band and cut off a piece that is about 1 cm larger than the size you need. With the cut piece at hand, and while wearing your shirt in front of a mirror, place the elastic band in front of your collar and use a fabric pen to mark the places for the button and the buttonhole. Make sure to get the most precise marks as you possibly can as these are going to be your guide for the rest of the process.
Step 3: Cutting a Buttonhole
With the help of some sharp scissors, make a 1 cm hole over one of the markings you made in the last step. The idea is to create a buttonhole on this place, so you might want to test this whole with your collar button to be sure it is just about the right size. If the size is right, move on to the next step, otherwise, you might want to try to cut a bit further until you have a snug fit.
Step 4: Attach a Button
This is where you will test out your sewing skills. Prepare a needle with a short length of thread, just about 30 cm long will do. Pass the thread through the buttonhole as well as the elastic band until you see the needle coming out entirely on the other side. Pull the thread until the button and the elastic band have a snug fit and repeat the process going through all of the buttonholes until you feel the button is firmly attached to the elastic band. Finish it off by making a knot to the thread as close to the band as possible.
Step 5: Wear the Flat Extender
Once you’ve done with the previous step, you are ready to use your extender. Just remember to put on a tie to cover the collar extender and you are ready to go to work, have a successful client meeting, or make a good impression on a romantic date.
What Else Can You Do With a Collar Extender
You will soon find out that the collar extender is, at the end of the day, an extender. So, as with any other item of clothing that might be a size too small, be sure to use a shirt collar extender to fasten them properly. Remember that old pair of jeans you keep in your closet for the day you will fit in it, well, I think it is time to take it off the closet and put it on with that extender you just made for your shirt.
What about those shorts you haven’t used in a long while, different garments same solution. Just fit in an extender and drop your shirt over, no one will ever find out, and if they do, they might as well as like the idea.
No more letting your favorite clothes gather dusty in your closet, just use an extender.
Collar extenders can save you time, money, and the hassle of shopping for new clothing when you have perfectly good clothes at home. They are great for those bargain-hunt finds that don’t quite fit but you really want to buy. And you can expand its usefulness to trousers and shorts. So don’t let that favorite, too-small shirt or pair of pants hanging in the back of your closet any longer. Fix it quick with a homemade collar extender and enjoy your outings.