Friends, with less than one week before our Men's Shirt Sew-Along formally begins, I've been doing a lot of thinking and re-thinking about shirts. We already have more than 100 Sew-Along participants, with numbers climbing daily, many using the Colette Negroni pattern and many using shirt patterns of their own choosing. The shirt button numbers alone are staggering.
The construction details we're going to be addressing are relatively straightforward: flat-felled seams, rolled hems, sleeve plackets, collar stand and collar, etc. The fabric you'll be working with is of your own choosing, and I can see from our Flickr group that they range from traditional stripe to Sixties acid trip.
Yesterday I took some time to closely investigate my own shirt collection, a mix of ready-to-wear shirts I've accumulated over the years, and my own creations crafted from vintage shirt patterns.
I also spent a few hours re-reading David Page Coffin's take on fitting a shirt and self-drafting a pattern from his classic book, Shirtmaking, which I know many of you are familiar with.
I want accurate fitting to be a focus of our Sew-Along and I think you do too. I put on my thinking cap and have decided to invite a professional into our Sew-Along project! Starting on the very first day of our Sew-Along I will be working privately with -- I can't mention his name yet, but you know it. And what I learn I will be sharing with you here and in our Flickr group as we work on fitting our muslins and our final shirts. You can get by with pinked seam allowances and bargain basement fabric, but if the shirt doesn't fit it's going to be obvious to everyone.
Fit has to be a sewist's biggest challenge. It's also one that I have managed to avoid on my upper half, having convinced myself that I can wear a shirt made straight from a commercial pattern. The truth is that I can get away with wearing a shirt made straight from a pattern. The fit, however, is never ideal.
I've examined and recorded the fit of twenty shirts and I can tell you with confidence that none fits perfectly. Some are closer than others of course, but there's work to do.
Most are decent, especially in front, where I have fewer fit issues.
Others, well.... off to the thrift store they go!
If you have the time and the inclination to pore through more than 100 pics of me in 20 different shirts, you can see them all here. Strong coffee and a comfortable chair are recommended.
I kid you not when I say that before I started sewing, I gave the fit of this Brooks Brothers's shirt nary a second thought. It was just the way things were.
Things have gotten better now that I make my own shirts, but there is tweaking to be done and I am ready to tweak.
Friends, we are going to do this together and we will have expert help. Life is too short to stumble in semi-darkness.
Sew-Alongers and Sew-Along fence sitters, your assignment this week is to take a close look at the fit of either your own men's shirt (if you're male), or the shirt of the person you'll be sewing for (if you're female), preferably on the person himself. Everybody else, do what makes sense. With regards to fit, what works for you (and him) and what doesn't? What looks too loose, what looks too tight?
If you can, upload a pic or two to the Flickr group page, so we can see what the perceived problems are. We are shame-free here at MPB, rest assured.
And now, I've much to do -- including contending once again with this.
Will it never end?
Have a great day everybody. How are those men's shirt fitting? What are the challenges? Share!
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!