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.  

3 thoughts on “Sewing in English!

  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 🙂


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