Welcome to the MPB Men's Shirt Sew-Along! In the next few weeks I am going to lead you through the construction of a men's shirt, starting first with a muslin and then moving on to our final garment.
I'll be using the Colette Negroni men's shirt pattern primarily, but I will be addressing more formal dress shirt patterns as well. I will also show you how to add a front button placket, collar stand and collar to the camp-collared (i.e. one-piece) Negroni pattern.
If you haven't already, please join our Flickr group, where you can post questions both to me and to each other. We're a large group and I will try to address as many of your individual questions as I can. If I can't answer them, I am confident that someone else will be able to.
Our goals today are:
1. Familiarize ourselves with our pattern and read the instructions carefully.
2. Cut our pattern pieces (but NOT our individual pattern size if it's a multi-sized pattern like Negroni).
3. Trace our pattern in our individual pattern size.
4. Prep our traced pattern before cutting our fabric.
If you get to all these today, great, if not, that's fine too. Please work at the speed that feels comfortable to you.
1. Sarai of Colette Patterns has done a wonderful job providing clear step-by-step instructions for the Negroni pattern. While I may be doing a few things out of order (e.g., I generally add pockets only after the shirt is largely completed) I intend to follow the pattern instructions as written. Some steps may be new or seem unusual to you but I strongly recommend giving them a try.
While seam allowances are generally 5/8", there are exceptions and these are spelled out clearly in the instructions. I like to make a note of them so I don't forget. NOTE: Seam allowances are not printed on the Negroni pattern pieces (with the exception of the sleeve placket).
Please review the pattern measurements. Do you know which size you're likely to need? If you're between sizes, Sarai recommends you cut the larger as the Negroni shirt is cut slim.
2. Now we're ready to cut our pattern pieces. I do this with an ordinary pair of scissors, never with my fabric shears.
I do my cutting on the floor. First I lay everything out.
I start with the pieces that are not sized. I will not trace these. They include the pocket, pocket flap, and sleeve placket. (I store all the small pieces in a ziploc bag.) Don't forget the button loop!
Next, I cut my big pieces. Again: I am cutting the entire, multi-sized piece.
After all my pieces are cut, I iron them flat at a medium setting, dry (no steam).
When I'm done ironing, I'm ready to trace.
3. Tracing is straightforward. I'm using yellow tracing paper I purchased at my local art supply store. The roll I bought is 18" wide.
Lay your pattern down and roll your tracing paper out on top of it.
Line up long straight edges.
I use weights to hold the paper down.
I started tracing with pencil and quickly realized I needed something darker. A Sharpie permanent marker worked much better. I traced the Small. I did some tracing free hand, but generally used a ruler and French curve for greater accuracy.
NOTE: Go slow and make sure you are tracing the correct line. A mistake you don't catch now will come back to haunt you down the line, rest assured.
Copy all the information from the pattern to your tracing paper. Include all markings: notches, circles, grainlines, etc. Include the name of the pattern and the size (very important). Include the number of fabric pieces you'll be needing to cut, interfacing, etc.
Then cut your tracing paper -- this is your new pattern moving forward.
Put your original pattern where you can find it if you need to refer to it, neatly folded in a ziploc bag or wherever you generally keep them.
4. Now prep your pattern. I decided, after measuring the length of a favorite shirt, that I could take 1" off the length of the Negroni pattern. This meant altering multiple pieces: the front left and right, the back, and the facings. I also shortened the sleeve 1".
It is best to make these alterations on the "lengthen or shorten here" line.
At this point, having already prepped my fabric, I was ready to cut.
Friends, that's all we're doing today together. If you haven't prepped your fabric yet, do so now. Launder it, pre-shrink it in a dryer, and iron it. You may not feel it necessary to preshrink a muslin. Do iron it flat however.
We'll be addressing cutting tomorrow.
If you have any questions or comments, you may leave them below or in the Flickr group.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!