Shirt cuff Mike Maldonado’s way – part 1 of 2

First, we’ll make our two clean finished cuffs, this tutorial follows on from the tower placket tutorialMike Maldonado sometimes refers to this as the Italian method. It can be done with non-fusible interfacing, but fusible is definitely the easiest way. A good modern fusible interfacing should not shrink or bubble. If that happens you either haven’t followed the manufacturers directions properly or you need to find a new supplier. I buy large quantities from Fashion Sewing Supplies or Tessuti. Hawes and Freer over the pond (NZ) do great supplies too.

It doesn’t really matter which side you clean finish, but I would recommend making the ‘clean finished’ side the public side since the topstitiching is at its most accurate there. Both pieces of your cuff will be exactly the same size and shape. Some patternmakers draft a piece for the outside as well as a different piece ever so slightly smaller for the facing side so that the inside fabric isn’t tempted to peak out. Using Mike’s method, that won’t happen anyway. This is how professional shirtmakers do it. They don’t pootle around with inside and outside pieces for shirt cuffs and collars – they’ve got customers waiting for their custom made shirts!

I think that despite paying for Mike’s course and if you missed this before – I did ask his permission to show you these methods, he has been very generous with his information. I like to know how industry people do things, especially those who sew bespoke garments.


Making the cuffs

1.Trace your cuff pattern and remove all seam allowances.

2. Cut 2 interfacing pieces using this pattern piece – be accurate. Cut off the corners a ‘snitch’ or 1-2mm (Mike doesn’t do this, but I do) and fuse to a piece of your outside fabric. You could choose bias, crosswise or lengthwise grain as long as the interfacing is cut on the straight grain.



  1. Now cut a SA of about 8mm-1cm (1/4″-3/8″)on one edge. The size of the SA is not important, it needs to be wide enough to be incorporated into a topstitching line if you choose to use one.


4. Iron your fabric to get it warm and smear your chosen glue stick along the edge, iron this edge up. Voila, the folded edge will hold until you get to the machine. These glue sticks are cellulose based and usually wash out. I don’t know what’s in yours so you might want to test some, make sure it doesn’t change colour on your white silk!



5. Topstitch with matching or contrasting thread. My topstitching was just under 1cm, but you should use whatever width of topstitching you used for the other parts of the shirt – consistency is professional!



6. Grab your inside cuff (facing) fabric. It doesn’t need to be cut to any specific size, just a wad of fabric big enough to fit your outside piece on top of – right sides together. Be careful of grain. Its not necessary to interface the inside fabric, but if you want a stiffer more formal finish or your fabric is a bit lame – then go for it.

7. Stitch around your interfacing as above. Just sew off the sides. Don’t stitch across the clean finished side. Stitching off the sides seems to give better straight lines, you don’t even need to cut your threads when you sew the next direction.




8. This is what your corner will look like – nice spots!



9. Trim to approx.. 6-8mm around the outside edges. DO NOT TRIM YOUR CLEAN FINISHED EDGE YET! Trim those corners a little closer as above, but not so close your corner stitching will come undone.

IMG_063810. Fold the corners along the stitching lines and hold them with your thumbs before turning right side out. This way your corners will be neatly folded rather than a bunchy mess in the space of the corner.


11. Use a point turner or similar (not scissors or anything sharp) to push into the corners but do not poke through your fabric. Iron your cuff with steam pulling slightly on the inside fabric so that you can see a hint of the outside fabric. That means when you turn your cuff to the right side, you will not see the inside fabric.  Points to me for really going all out with 2 highly contrasting fabrics and a navy topstitch!


IMG_064112. The other side, see how your inside (facing) fabric is still wonkitated, this is the magic part.

You see, if you trim this first, like you would if you were to cut your pattern pieces with seam allowances, they become all distorted as you iron on the interfacing and steam the heck out of them. By the time you’ve made it to this stage they are as immune to further maltreatment as they can be –  they cannot possibly shrink or distort further.


IMG_064213. Now you can cut a very accurate seam allowance, whatever you like, I use 1cm. Measure from the folded edge of your clean finished side, mark and cut. Commercial patterns use 1.5cm but that is a bit unwieldy to me. Your SA should match the cuff edge SA of your sleeve piece.


We’ll attach the cuffs in the next post. I’m afraid WordPress might blow up with all these photos. Go ahead and close your sleeve seam meantime.



Add yours →

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this method I will definitely be trying this out on my next shirt:)

  2. I saw this cuff and sort of read the headline as Micky Mouse’s way (it was the textile that befuddled me). The opposite of the Micky Mouse way. thank you!

  3. Intrigued. I’m staying tuned. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. chromaticcrystal 26/02/2015 — 3:53 pm

    Reblogged this on La Dolce Vita.

  5. Hello and my apologies for commenting on a really old post but I thought I would say hi and thank you for the informative tutorial. I’ve been making shirts for an old work colleague and using his amazing Liberty fabric to do so. Today I ran into a problem with my cuffs and I was doing them fairly similar to this method, but missing all the bits that make this method right. I think I know what I was doing wrong so I’ll be trying your tutorial next time. I’ve been looking for the professional production method way to do a shirt cuff and it was hard to find your blog.
    Since you’re a Melbournite, could I ask you where you get your interfacing from? I’ve not been a huge fan of the fusible stuff but its probably because I haven’t found the right quality as yet (I’ve been using woven – mostly cotton voile). Thank you!!

    • Hi Kitty! Yes, well, tricky to locate information on blogs when the blogger doesn’t embrace SEO I think! So glad it was/may be helpful. I bought a job lot of fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply back when the AUD could hold it’s head up high!! Its beautiful stuff. I’ve also bought fusible from Tesutti, though everything there is pricey and I have had a bum steer in the past with weight of interfacing. Next lot I buy will be from M Recht I think. They are a wholesaler to industry but will also retail either at the shop counter or by post. Good luck with it and come back for a visit from time to time!

      • Thanks for the reply! I actually work really close to M Recht and have an account with them I dont know why I didn’t think of that!
        I usually dont even bother going to Tessuti as they are so obscenely expensive haha 😉

      • And now I’ve made a shirt using this technique (with interfacing bought from M.Recht), and they’re the neatest cuffs I have ever made. Thank you for this tutorial it is amazing 😀

      • Well, Ms kittymeow, you’re welcome! Actually, we should thank Mr Maldonado of Texas perhaps!!

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