Friends, thank you so much for your warm and witty comments yesterday in celebration of baby's first birthday here at Male Pattern Boldness. As you can imagine, after this weekend the house is a mess and I'm emotionally spent. This has nothing to do with the festivities, mind you, I just completed another men's shirt sewing project!
You may recall my mentioning McCall's 3087 last week almost in passing. We've all been so focused on our upcoming Men's Shirt Sew-Along (which I am excited to announce already has 100 participants, and latecomers wishing to purchase the Colette Negroni pattern and enjoy our 20% discount have until the end of January to do so -- details here.) you might have thought I'd stopped sewing.
McCall's 3087 is a vintage men's sport shirt from the halcyon Eisenhower years of McCarthy hearings, Cold War, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers -- 1954 to be exact.
As many of you have already pointed out, there's a bit of a mystery to this pullover sport shirt -- how does one actually get into it? Friends, the secret is contained in this little pattern piece. Can you figure it out?
Sewing McCall's 3087 was a fascinating process as its construction is different from anything I had sewn before, but the instructions were straight forward. The only truly dramatic moment was one I alluded to yesterday: my spurting a puddle of Fray Check all over the upper right shirt front as I reinforced a buttonhole. Believe me when I say the word uttered in my panic was straight from the school yard and it wasn't Ring-a-levio!
This was one of those thank heaven for the Internet moments: I immediately googled How to remove fray check and was led to the Dritz Fray Check information page, containing detailed instructions on its removal, involving a long soak in alcohol. And it worked, for me and the shirt.
My fashion fabric was a loosely woven, lightweight, pale gray flannel and I decided -- perhaps inspired by the construction of the RTW Western shirt we examined on Saturday -- to simply serge my seam allowances and skip the more painstaking flat-felled seams.
On the armscye I stitched the allowances down (toward the torso of course) to create a flat-felled look from the outside. Can you tell the difference?
I sewed my first continuous lap on a shirt sleeve -- trickier than a placket, imo -- with decent results. We'll talk more about those during the Sew-Along.
The front is what makes this shirt special. You secure the neckline with two buttons just below the collar and those buttons must be correctly positioned. I had to sew mine on six times.
I am pleased with the result, which brings to mind Perry Como at his mellowest and Bing Crosby at his Minute Maid-iest.
The finished shirt. I really need some new props.
If I were doing this again -- and I know someone is making this for the Sew-Along so listen up -- I would use a gingham or stripe or perhaps a somewhat heavier flannel. It really is a sport shirt, so the sportier the better!
The fit is roomy as one would expect from a shirt like this, and I made no alterations. But I could easily have taken 2" out of the chest, which is a size 36. You could wear it as an overshirt or tunic.
More pics of the shirt construction and results here.
So what do you think -- yea or nay on this 1954 classic? I'm on the fence. Too costume-y? Too...something? Be honest.
In closing, Sew-Alongers, don't forget to post pics of your fabric and patterns (if different from Negroni) on our Sew-Along Flickr page.
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. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!