Jan 19, 2011
I own one top-quality shirt, a cotton button-down collar model made by Cego Custom Shirtmakers, located not far from where I live. It wasn't custom made for me, mind you, but it might as well have been. The fit is excellent.
I found this shirt at Goodwill a few years ago and I've gotten a lot of wear out of it. I even wore it to my brother's wedding last November, you may recall. I really splurged on that outfit.
The first thing you'll notice about this shirt is that the cotton is very fine. Is it Egyptian, Italian, Swiss? -- I don't know. But it is gorgeous: cool to the touch and smooth as silk.
This Cego shirt has some very nice touches. It has a concealed button placket. I really need to figure out how to make one of those.
It has the narrowest flat-felled seams I've seen, measuring approximately 1/8 inch.
It has back darts, giving the shirt a more tapered fit.
Buttons are mother of pearl.
There are more stitches per inch than the Thomas Pink shirt -- somebody confirm this please -- and the thread looks finer. (Note to self: decrease stitch length on shirts.)
No doubt due to the fine fabric, the shirt feels light, but sturdy. Construction is excellent, though there are a few thread issues here and there that the average person wouldn't notice; I never did.
How much does a shirt like this cost? Well Cego custom shirts start at $100, and with this fabric and some of the special details (like the hidden placket) I'd guess double that. Not the most expensive custom-made shirt out there but it's nice. BTW, Cego's shirts are not bespoke, but rather custom tailored using pre-existing block patterns modified on a computer program; an individual pattern is not drawn up specifically for you. Most of the actual shirtmaking goes on in nearby Newark.
So what do you think? Before I plunked down $185 for a Thomas Pink RTW shirt I would certainly go to Cego or some other local custom shirtmaker, wouldn't you? Of course, you need to know what you're looking for in a shirt and many people probably don't.
More pics of the Cego shirt here. The Thomas Pink shirt pics are here, the Gap shirt pics here. Compare and contrast! I'll be examining some other shirts in the week ahead.
Friends, I am going to start another shirt of my own today. I'm giving Eisenhower-era McCalls 3087 a try.
I'm opting for a solid gray cotton flannel with contrasting topstitching. No plaids.
We'll see how this turns out -- it's an unusual design by today's standards (it's a pullover) but must have been quite popular in the mid-Fifties because there are a lot of men's shirt patterns with this design out there.
In Sew-Along news, our Sew-Along Flickr group is growing fast and if you haven't uploaded a photo of your pattern (if you're not sewing Negroni) and/or fabric please do so in the days ahead. It's great fun to see what people are planning and there's quite a bit of commenting going on too. You don't have to join the group to visit it, of course, just to upload photos and/or comment. If you wish to join, email me (peterlappinnyc at gmail dot com).
The drama here surrounds the imminent arrival of my Elnapress, though Michael is doing his best to stir up a frenzy over our kitchen freezer. Whatever floats your boat, right?
Have a great day everybody!