Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sewing in English!

I'm no longer a virgin.  I've actually forayed into the world of patterns and instructions that I can actually read.  I decided to participate in Peter's (of Male Pattern Boldness fame) shirt sew-along. His selected shirt, the Negroni by Colette, really wasn't my style, so I found a vintage 50's dress shirt pattern on Etsy.  Butterick 2124.  It features both a buttondown and tab collar, long or short sleeves and a guy smoking a pipe!  What more could a Daddy want?  I picked up some shirting at Denver Fabrics.  They have a huge selection at great prices, but absolutely the WORST pictures on their website.  If you're trying to match a color, or have something very specific in mind I wouldn't recommend it.  For this project, however, my fabric came quickly and was pretty much what I anticipated.  In fact, the quality of the fabric ended up being better than any shirt that I own, most of which come from either Goodwill or the clearance racks at Kohl's.  
I won't go into all the gory details of my shirtmaking experience, it's pretty well documented in the Flickr group that Peter set up for the project.  I ended up working my way through 2 fitting muslins.  Men must have been built differently back in the 50's.  My pattern was made for a barrel chested brute with the arms of a gorilla and a skinny neck.  I shortened the sleeves by over 1 inch, took almost 5 inches out of the circumference and did a sloped shoulder adjustment.  With the help of David Page Coffin's book Shirtmaking I was able to draft a French cuff.  Now I have a way to wear the amazing steampunk cufflinks that my daughter gave me for Christmas.  Perhaps the best part of the shirtmaking exercise, however,  is that I now have a "Go To" shirt pattern the next time some fabulous fabric comes along just screaming my name.  


  1. Those shirts look great. I just found your blog by way of Male Pattern Boldness. Good for you that you got your Singer machine working. Wish I could find someone like your repair guy. I have a couple of old Singers which I have used since I was in elementary school.

    As for Japanese pattern books, I keep looking at Pattern Magic on Amazon but have not ordered it yet. one of these days.

    I hope spring is on its way to you soon :)

  2. Love the shirt. Have you seen the Japanese men's shirt book? It's all in Japanese of course and the sizes run up to about 14.5 or 15, but lots of different details.

  3. @ Marilyn. I've seen that book. I'm not sure I'm up for any more challenges. I have plenty on my plate right now. :)

  4. This is sleek work!
    Such experience, many iconography, so fabulous :)