A high quality shirt can feature hand stitching… but it also can be sewn entirely by hand-operated machines. Some people claim that hand stitching helps to achieve the perfect fit and the highest level of comfort. According to my experience, hand stitched shirts are really comfortable, but machine stitched shirts can be very comfortable too.
Pick-stitching (done by hand).
The number of hand passages varies from one brand to another and from one line to another. Some brands offer shirts with four visible hand passages (armhole/sleeves, bar tacks (travetti), buttons, gussets). Others sell shirts with 6, 7, 8 and more hand passages – up to 23! (+ buttonholes, shoulders/yoke, side seams, cuffs, placket, hand-rolled hem, etc. – and, of course, cutting and ironing by hand). Please note that the quality of hand stitching varies, so I recommend to check stitch density and accuracy before purchasing a hand stitched shirt. Sometimes hand stitching is too loose and therefore not durable.
Hand stitched bar tack (travetto).
Hand-stitched buttonholes can look nice, but machine-stitched ones can be very neat and durable too.
Hand-stitched buttons always feature shanks, but sometimes these shanks are loose. Anyway, nowadays you can shank a button with an Ascolite machine.
This shank is loose.
Crow foot stitching can be made by a special machine too. However, in the picture below you see a handsewn button.
Hand-sewn button, crow-foot stitching.
Some brands which offer hand-stitched shirts: Alessandro Gherardi, Anna Matuozzo, Barba, Belvest (probably not always), Cesare Attolini, Donnanna, Errico Formicola, Finamore, Isaia, Kiton, Lino Sentiero, Luciano Lombardi, Luigi Borrelli (probably not always), Maria Santangelo (except 2.0 line), Sartoria Partenopea, Truzzi, Vincenzo di Ruggiero.