Monday, July 9, 2012

Back to the blog. Hopping on the linen shirt bandwagon.

Readers, I took an extended break from sewing to work on a backyard fountain.  It's been a long drawn out affair.  Not only has there been a lot of backbreaking digging and hauling of dirt, but most of my days off in June were rainy.  There were times I thought it would never be done, but it's finally up and running.  There are still some finishing touches to be fussed over, but now there's time for a summer sewing project.  

Maybe you've noticed.  All the sewing guys have been making linen shirts, so I'm joining in!

I think Tom started the trend with this classic white number.  

Then Peter came up with this crisp pink version.  

I'm going to be using a textured stripe linen that I picked up at Graylines Linen , 260 W. 39th St.  If you love linen, this is your store.  The selection is huge, the staff is friendly and helpful, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable.  This fabric just screamed "summer shirt" to me.  It's 60" wide, so I will be able to get a long sleeved shirt out of 2.5 yards with fabric to spare.  Total fabric cost -- $23.75.  I'll end up spending more on buttons and cuff links!  

Making a tuxedo shirt was one of my goals for 2012, so I'm going to attempt a casual linen version.  This pattern has been in my stash for awhile.  Upon opening it I discovered that it's really just a straightforward shirt with the addition of a pleated panel (plastron) topstitched to the shirt fronts on either side of the plackets. 

So rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll just use the plastron piece and add it to my tried and true buttondown shirt pattern which fits me well.  

I cut the plastron pattern pieces and clipped the edges to mark the fold lines.  Linen, especially light weight linen, has a tendency to shift all over the place.  Getting the pleats even was damn near impossible, but I'm happy with the results.  I keep telling myself that it's a casual shirt, and that the slightly uneven pleats just add to the effect.  BTW the directions for doing the pleating were almost impossible to understand.  

The plastron sections are then tucked under the front plackets and basted into place before topstitching the plackets.  


After basting and edgestitching the plastron onto the shirt fronts, the neck and shoulder edges are trimmed. From here on out it's pretty basic shirt construction.  Time to start checking Etsy and Ebay for cuff links!  


  1. Great fountain. Look forward to seeing the shirt.

  2. I LOVE how the folds aren't absolutely perfect, I think it will suit the more casual style better than super perfect ones would :)

  3. Great to see you back - missed you and your tacking (basting). A man of many talents, no?

  4. So enjoy the tropics with our tailored linen shirts. You just might find your new favorite shirt! Linen wedding shirts