Today you get to meet my brother Andy (aka Little Fro).
I’ve been promising him a shirt for over a year and I’ve finally delivered!
The shirt is a rub-off of an Austin Reed button up that Andy owned. He picked it as the copy garment because he was happy with the fit and style of the shirt. I used the Steffani Lincecum book that guides you through copying ready to wear clothes. She also has a Craftsy class on this technique but I think the book is sufficient enough to grasp what you need to do. Sunni did a good post which convinced me to get the book.
I used a few different sources to understand the logic of sewing a man’s shirt without a pattern; like the MPB Men’s Shirt Sewalong, plus this great Shirt Sewing Blog’s post on two piece plackets that gave me food for thought, and finally this post has a helpful image about the subtle variety in collar shapes which I have to say I was ignorant of before.
There were a few funny things about the source shirt. First, it had different sized front plackets. The side with the buttonholes was wider than the button side, and it wasn’t topstitched.
Also the shirt had a mixture of flat felled seams (down the sides and sleeves) and French seams (at the shoulders and armholes). Is that normal? Plus the seams were a mixture of widths too.
This meant I had to label my pattern pieces really clearly or I would have totally confused myself!
It was really nice to learn classic sleeve plackets with this project.
To help myself, I bought an 90s McCall’s Ladies Shirt pattern from a car boot which has amazingly detailed (and rather witty) Palmer Pletsch instructions, while also having the Coletterie Hawthorn sewalong placket post open on my screen to look over their lovely clear photo steps.
Have you ever sewn a shirt? How did you find the topstitching? I’ve worked out I can use my new stitch in the ditch foot to edgestitch if I move the needle position. It made it SO MUCH EASIER. I’ve heard a blind hem foot works too.
Don’t the black buttons look like big polka dots? They do have two holes (rather than being shank buttons) but by using black thread to attach them the holes sort of disappear!
I finished the hem with home made bias tape from the same fabric. This technique seems to be getting loads of attention all of a sudden but I’ve been doing it for ages on blouses, glad everyone else it getting on it because it makes hemming a curve so much easier.
We had some fun photographing the shirt. I got Andy to break out his best catalogue poses. Bwahaha.
Reminds me of Roger Moore who started out as a knitwear catalogue model and Michael Caine loved to tease him about it, calling him “The Big Knit”!
I wholeheartedly recommend his autobiography; even if you’re not James Bond mad like me, it’s SO much fun to read.
So all in all this project involved:
* a collar with separate stand
* a one-piece sleeve with placket
* a yoke
* miles of edgestitching, including a slightly wonky pocket
* curved and slightly dipped hemline
Now I have orders from three other men in my life to stitch them shirts. Phew! Wish me luck.