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.