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Feb 12, 2013

Woo Hoo -- a New Vogue Men's Shirt Pattern!



Readers, I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that Vogue has expanded its men's pattern offerings.  They currently have fifteen men's patterns for sale and none of them are pajamas or scrubs!

I was most intrigued by the shirt pattern above, V8889, just released and which I managed to snag on the last day of their most recent $3.99 pattern sale.  Parenthetically, does anybody pay list price for patterns?  I mean, $30?  Even on Vogue's website the most you'd pay for this pattern is $18, so why not just price it at $18?



I could tell by making a few basic measurements before I cut anything that this pattern was sized big.  I am a standard 36" chest size, but I ended up cutting the 34" (the smallest size) and I already sense that it's going to be too wide in the shoulder by more than an inch.  That's a lot.

Look at the difference in yoke width from shoulder to shoulder between my TNT Butterick pattern from the early Seventies (4712) -- a size 36" -- and this Vogue, size 34".  I know the average American male is fatter than he was forty years ago, but are his shoulders so much broader too?



I'm making a muslin because, frankly, I have no idea how this thing is going to fit.   Look too at the difference in the width of the left front and remember: the vintage Butterick pattern is a 36" and I'm comparing it to the contemporary Vogue 34". 



The Vogue 34" sleeve is also longer than the Butterick 36" sleeve and the sleeve cap inches higher.





I've heard people describe this as a fitted shirt and, in fact, it looks like a fitted shirt, doesn't it?



The description on the pattern says "loose-fitting shirt."  What "loose" means, however, is not clear.  Loose in the chest, the neck, the shoulders -- or all three?



Yet there are front and back side pieces, somewhat akin to princess seams -- very unusual in men's shirts but more in keeping with shaped, tailored garments like blazers.





Re necks, nowhere on this pattern is the neck size mentioned.  Traditionally, a 34" chest shirt pattern corresponded to a 14" neck and this was always clearly labelled on the envelope.  I'm assuming that since the whole shirt is big, that the neck circumference corresponding to a 34" won't be too tight for my 14 1/2" neck.  Here's hoping!

One version of this shirt has an unusual tuck detail at the front shoulder (Version B, below).  I'm not making that version right now, but rather the plain short-sleeve version.



Version B has tucks, visible just to the left of the collar.

Here's how those tucks look on the multi-sized pattern.

There are two unusual design details not mentioned in the pattern description. The buttons are hidden by a placket.  I have never seen that on a commercial pattern before, vintage or otherwise.  (If you bungle your buttonholes, you needn't worry.)



There's also an undercollar band, an element that reinforces the shirt collar from the underside and holds it in place too.  That's a nice detail, don't you think?



Sizing aside, I'm excited to be making a contemporary shirt pattern for a change and curious how it will turn out.  For a guy, a new pattern is a big deal and the model even has a contemporary haircut!

I cut my main pieces today and am ready to begin sewing.  I suspect I am going to have to take some width out of the two side fronts and both sides of the back, which I'll likely do with a tuck between the neck and the shoulder and then transfer my changes to the paper pattern -- unless, of course, it turns out the neck is also too wide.



Tune in tomorrow for updates.

In closing, readers, what is the point of all this ease in modern patterns?  Does it have something to do with vanity sizing?  Don't you want your 36" pattern to fit your 36" chest (or whatever size you are)?

Have a great day, everybody!

60 comments:

  1. how exciting.....the shaped seams will fit your trim physique quite well

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  2. It's not just that people are "fatter" than they were 40 years ago, it's that they're bigger overall. People are trending towards being taller and broader. My 3 year-old son measures consistently in the 97th percentile for size for his age, but he's not remotely fat - you can ever so slightly see his ribs. He's just a big kid. It's because so much of our food is fortified with extra vitamins. The weight issue is more due to the fact that so much is loaded with corn syrup, but that's another thing entirely.

    Also, I've noticed that American men prefer considerably more ease in their shirts than their European counterparts. When I bought RTW shirts for my husband during our time in Germany, the shirts were always slimmer fitting.

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    1. Just FYI, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are not the same thing. Corn syrup is predominately glucose, standard sugar is about 50% glucose/fructose, high fructose corn syrup is 45% glucose/55% fructose, and agave nectar can often be 70-90% fructose. In other words, standard corn syrup is perfectly alright, it's the high fructose variation that isn't. This was actually one of the most informative presentations I've seen on the subject in a while, so I'll link it to you if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

      I don't mean to derail the pattern discussion or seem like a crazy food cultist, but I just thought I would clarify a point and back it up with sources.

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    2. You're right - I should have been more specific when I typed it, since it's what I meant. And now I will laugh at those who keep telling me that agave is so much better than high fructose corn syrup, since I had no idea what its fructose levels were. Good to know.

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  3. Very interested to see how this fits! I like the shaped side pieces and it could be a nice shirt. I have a Burda mens shirt pattern with a hidden placket that I've made a few times and I think it's a lovely feature on a dress shirt, as is the collar band thingy. Not sure about the tucks on the shoulders, but on the right bloke it could work.

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  4. I agree, that looks like an awful lot of ease. If its a shirt for a 36" chest, it surely should fit a 36", not a 38" or 40" chest...

    Ease confuses me.

    But I'm interested to see how this turns out, because I'd like to sew a shirt for my hubby, and this pattern is readily available and looks like it has nice details :)

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    1. I mean, I get that the shirt shouldn't fit as tightly as a measuring tape wrapped around my chest. Ease should provide enough room to move comfortably in the garment, but it should fit my size.

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    2. Exactly, and thats what I meant. You shouldn't have to use the 34" size pattern AND take it in to fit your 36" chest. You should be able to use the 36" pattern to fit your 36" chest :)

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    3. I agree, a 36" chest should mean cut size 36. And even if it's an easy fit shirt, it still needs to fit. How can it have a wider than expected yoke and also have longer sleeves? If the yoke is intended to fall off the shoulders and be loose fitting, then the sleeves need to have been shortened by a comparable amount. Easy fit doesn't mean just put the pattern in an enlarger.

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  5. This pattern definitely piqued my interested when I first noticed it with Vogue's newest offerings. I'm definitely interested to hear what you think about the ease and the instructions.

    I don't understand modern pattern ease at all. There is always just too much in there. I sew based on the finished measurements, and it usually means going down multiple sizes to obtain the kind of fit I want. It's ridiculous!

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  6. *Sob* Gee Peter thanks for reminding me. I was within my first week of sewing when I found these men's patterns on Vogue's site. I saw that they were all only $3.99 and was extremely excited. However, I was having the tightest budget month on years and was literally debating if I could afford to buy ANY of these patterns let alone the for our five that I wanted.

    By the time I decided that it was worth it and that I couldn't pass this up, they were all back to list price and I DEFINITELY couldn't afford more than one at a time for that price until my next payday (tomorrow).

    How often do these sales come around, should I just bite the bullet and start buying then a few at a time, or try and wait it out. I need some advice from the more experienced sewers and tailors out there on pattern sale trends. :-(

    Matthew

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    1. I'm hoping someone here can answer that question for you, Matthew. I almost never purchase in-print patterns so I have no idea.

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    2. If money is an issue, do a search on Etsy under "mens shirt patterns" and choose "Low to high" (price). Any of those vintage patterns will be similar to today's, though they'll be single-sized so you'll have to know your chest size (unless you search for Kwik Sew patterns which were always multi-sized). The instructions are often clearer and the pattern paper better quality too. You might be surprised to see how cheap they are.

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    3. Those pattern sales come around every 2-3 months I'd guess. If you're not in a rush, definitely wait for the next one!!

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    4. They go on sale quite often. Just sign up for the joann's mailer...I would say every 7-9 weeks the whole selection of patterns cycle through a sale. Except kwik sew and burda....the the top four...always.

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    5. I've noticed that Vogue seem to have a sale on their patterns when they release their new seasons offerings :)

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    6. Definitely sign up for the JoAnn's mailer, assuming you have a JoAnn's store nearby -- I'll support that each brand goes on sale about once every two months. Definitely *don't* buy them for full price! (If you need a pattern immediately, check the Vogue [or whatever] pattern website first, sometimes they go on sale there too!

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    7. If you have a JoAnn's or similar store in your area they have McCall's and Simplicity for $1 on a regular basis, like every few weeks. The Vogue's are a little higher, like $3.99, a lot better than $20. Sign up on McCall.com for the emails, they have sales all the time, you just have to pay shipping, but when buying 3 or 4 patterns, the shipping spreads out and is not too bad.

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  7. Ugh, how frustrating. I like to sew for men because it's usually more straightforward. If you're a size 36 shirt than, that should be your size in the pattern, why can't they just size it like the retailers size their shirts? Everything about the design and the styling on the envelope would suggest a fitted shirt. Yet their description and your investigation make this sound like yet another drop shoulder vacation shirt. I'm so glad you're willing to make it up as I'm sure your trailblazing will be helpful.

    Obviously they do the same thing with the women's patterns. I just made Vogue 1314 and am very happy with the style. But this is a designer dress that is available in stores. According to the retail size charts I should be a size small according to my measurements in Vogue, I'm a size 10. Fine I can live with having two different sizes. But having seen the original dress, I can tell you the retail size small which fits me is nothing like a Vogue size 10. It's actually smaller than a Vogue size 6. So although Vogue has faithfully recreated the design and construction, they've completely reworked the sizing. And it's not as simple as figure out what works for your figure in Vogue and stick with that size. Normally I would make a size ten, but this dress made from a stretch knit should not have 3" of ease at the hip.

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    1. You should take another look at the sizing on the pattern envelope. The pattern world sizing and the real/retail world sizing does not match up, the pattern world sizing is much smaller. From experience of comparing body measurements to the pattern envelope sizing, a pattern world size 14 usually equates to around a real/retail world size 8/small making the Vouge size 10 probably falling at around size 4 or XS in the real/retail world. Pattern world sizing follows a more body measurement standard that was worked up decades ago and but still in use today by McCalls, Buttrick, Vogue and Simplicity even though real/retail world sizing has long since "out grown" that way of looking at sizing.

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    2. I understand the distinction, and I'm willing to cut patterns based on my actual measurements instead of what I've come to expect from retailers or whatever. However, I find that dogma doesn't work in practice. In this case that would be a Vogue size 10. But by the ease markings on the pattern and measuring it myself, the size 10 has 3" of ease at all points of the body. I've seen this same dress in stores, it is tight fitting. The size that fits me correctly has negative ease at all points of the body. A rauched knit dress does not work if it is loose fitting. My point is even though Vogue started with a dress sold retail, they have rejiggered the sizing to the point that what is printed on the envelope is of no use.

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  8. Hi, Peter. Aren't you lucky to get to the new pattern. I just cut out number 8759 and hope to start sewing this weekend. I'm sure I'll blog about it and share how it comes out while I'm reading about yours and how it comes out. They both have the same "princess" type seams in the back.

    For Matthew, the best suggestion is to watch the sales papers for his local chain fabric stores and wait for them to go on sale. Jo-Ann runs vogue patterns for 3.99 about every two months. They have one coming up this weekend, I think. Lane

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  9. I sew for my husband all the time. I have noticed that 60s and 70s patterns are slimmer fitting than modern patterns. I have proof of vanity sizing for women: I had saved the dress I wore at my rehearsal dinner in 1980. I was a size 14. My daughter, a trim size 6/8 stole it and wears it. It fits her perfectly.

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    Replies
    1. I've had that experience, too! I bought a beautiful vintage black velvet cocktail dress back in the early 90's and wore it for a formal in college. The tag said the dress was a size 16. At the time I was about a size 10 and it fit me perfectly.

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  10. A modern pattern! That is exciting, but kind of crazy when you put the vintage one on top! I can't wait to see how is turns out :)

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  11. Sizing can be so confusing. And the Independants have their own sizing. Hubster bought several slightly older Vogue Men's patterns, and I noticed one we have twice, in different sizes. This is a help. Some of my women's patterns we have in seveeral sizes too, like a Donna Karan blouse/skirt. I have to play with this. Not very easy, but must bite the bullet. But, remember, we pay about 10 cents Can. per pattern at charity shops. The OOP Kwik Sew can be VERY cheap on-line, from the company. You can sign up for e-mail sales. We bought about 10 recently. Very happy. Cathie, in Quebec, puzzling over sizing....

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  12. I was discussing ease with another sewer I met up earlier this week. She's a tad curvier than I, yet she continually makes B32 or B30 sizes in modern patterns while I start with a B36 and either end up with a wadder or something I have to whittle away at...but not in every area. I don't know what to do with modern patterns! I love your shirt projects, even though they're basic it is ALWAYS nice to see menswear.

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  13. I have had my eye on this pattern since the new vogues came out. I was waiting to read a few reviews before I bought it. I've worked out all the kinks in a Burda pattern that I use to make my husband shirts. I am not sure I want to start all over again with a new pattern but this one does have some nice details. Can't wait to see how your shirt turns out.

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  14. Hi Peter, see here for a description and measurements for design ease http://sewdirect.com/acatalog/Size_Charts__Metric_.html .

    I have noticed as people put on weight things all over the body get bigger - shoulders, neck measurement etc etc. I like that shirt and the shoulder tucks but you are quite right, it looks fitted so it is quite odd the description of loose. And I'm very interested in your vintage to new pattern comparison - maybe I'll have to do that with a couple of shirt patterns I have.

    I have noted in the past that men's shirt patterns were much narrower and a tighter fit than what guys tend to wear these days. Style or fabric width or cost, I don't know what has driven the changes.

    I also think there may be an element of vanity sizing going on there!

    Anyhow, good luck with your muslin, as I am due to make my husband a shirt, which I may need to do a full belly adjustment on, I shall watch with greater than normal interest. Love your blog.

    Sarah Dale

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  15. Right now, Big 4 patterns tend to have a 2" ease built into them. And seam allowances are always 5/8" these days when they aren't necessarily in vintage. (Most of the ones I've sewed are 1/2".) People are also taller than they used to be and bigger overall. I mean, Gracie is in the 98th and 99th percentile for *everything*. She's skinny, too, but she's just built that way. In RTW clothes, she's in size 6 shirts for the length alone and 4T pants are about to leave in favor of 5Ts. (5Ts are still a bit long, though) I haven't made a dress or top for her in over three years that *didn't* have to be lengthened.

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  16. I don't like the extra seams. What do they add to the fit of the shirt?

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    1. They allow for a more contoured fit -- they basically do what darts (or princess seams) do on a women's blouse or dress.

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  17. This IS exciting news! The sizing differences are weird to the point that it's intimidating to inexperienced sewers.

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  18. That "loose-fitting" description does actually mean something. I can only find the Vogue *Misses'* Ease Chart (link below), but according to that, a "loose-fitting shirt, dress, etc" will have 5.125" to 8" of ease -- I believe that's design ease and wearing ease together.

    As for whether their assessment of "wearing" ease is reasonable in the first place? I won't get into that. :P

    http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/ease-chart-pages-347.php

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  19. I dont know how anybody sews from modern patterns? Maybe that's why everyone has to make muslins?
    I so rarely make one at all, relying on my 40's patterns to fit pretty good without too much adjustment. Heck, the tailored suit I'm making has ZERO adjustments, except for the length on the skirt.

    Anyways - I do want to start making my boyfriend some things, so it's always good to read your blog and get your considered opinion on mens clothing It's a bit of a worry your pattern has no details about the neck sizing. Keen to see how that works out!

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  20. I'm looking also looking forward to reading about how this shirt turns out for you. Based on what you've come across so far (the yoke being so much larger for example) would you recomend it for someone with a broad back and shoulders? I've been wanting to make my husband a nice dress shirt but he's hard to fit. He's 6'1 with a 43" chest, 27" waist, and 20" across the back of his shoulders which are also sloped. I tried to make him a jacket once but gave up after 3 muslins.
    Thanks, Sarah

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    1. He has a 27" waist??!! Wow!! Up until the age of 40 I had a 28" waist and that's very small in mens' sizing, now I'm a 29 and finally almost 140lbs! LOL!! It must be impossible for him to find pants that fit off the rack...it seems that everything starts at size 30 nowadays, how does he find his clothes or do you make them?

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    2. The 27 measurment was at his natural waist, I believe it's closer to 28 or 29 at his hips where he wears his pants. He recently lost over 50lbs so we're just starting to encounter problems with finding clothes, which is also why I'm trying to start sewing for him more. The last jeans he bought were a 30, I believe, and he just wears a belt. He's in the delayed enlistment program with the Navy so pretty soon they'll be providing most of his clothing. :)
      Sarah

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    3. Yes, one of the reason I started sewing was because it was hard finding my size and finding anything under a 30" waist takes effort! Even the pants patterns start at size 30" waist!

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  21. I'm really looking forward to making this for my husband, but must admit that I'm wanting to learn from everyone else's efforts first! Will be watching your progress with interest.

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  22. Sooo interesting. I'll be following this thread with interest. My husband Martin designs/sews his own clothes and totally agrees with you that there is way too much ease/slop in contemporary menswear patterns.

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  23. Peter, I've noticed on Pattern Review that a fair number of Big 4 patterns are now being sized more like ready-to-wear sizes than the stated measurements, at least for women's clothing. Not all, which makes the whole thing very confusing. I now consult PR (no help with a brand-new pattern, I know) and then I flat-measure the pattern. This has led me, at least once, to re-purchase a pattern in a smaller size. And I now make muslins, too. I generally haven't had to do this with my vintage patterns - a paper fitting usually sufficed, if the pattern matched my measurements.

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  24. I'm really curious to see how this turns out! I like the extra details; I hope the fitting isn't too much of an issue for you.

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  25. I'm eager to see how it'll work out ! I'm toying with the idea of sewing a shirt for the SO, but I'm undecided between this pattern and the new Burda pattern. This one's technical drawing looks like his best-fitting shirt (with this princess-like seams), but the "loose fitting" things made me dubious. The Burda pattern has darts instead, but it does look fitted on the enveloppe.

    (I asked the subject which pattern he liked most, and he said : whatever as long as it's white or blue. *sigh*).

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  26. Question - if you have to adjust this pattern so much, why bother with it at all? It seems gammy to me - the sleeve heads are far too high for a man's shirt, more like a blouse, ew! All the best - me, I'm such a convert ot them old 70's shirt patterns (thanks to you and Oobop) there's no going back :)

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  27. I'm with MrsC above... why bother? But someone has to find out, and in this case it's you, so: good luck.
    (A goog Czech Jára Cimrman - which is too complicated to explain in a blog comment - quote: Someone has to explore the dead ends of human progress and tell others: "This way not, my friends!")

    As for the ease... beats me. I'm obviously European, so I'm more used to the Burda standard, which, as far as the self-pattern-making me can tell, is not that crazy in that respect. Maybe it has something to do with the prevalence of knits in contemporary clothing? The fact that people are just not used to fitted wovens anymore? Or it might be a relict of the loose-fitting clothes of the 1990s. But that's both just my speculation.

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    1. "goog"? Oh my, I read my comment carefully several times, and I don't notice that? *mental facepalm*

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  28. I'm so glad you are tackling this pattern before I do. Great information here. I bought it but I'm trying the new suit pattern for DH before I make the shirt up.

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  29. hmmm... how weird about the sizing. i thought all that crazy ease nonsense was just a women's pattern issue. i was happy to see vogue put out some menswear, but frankly i could do without the princess seams. given that a good dress shirt has all that flat felling going on, that's a lot of extra seams to do! at any rate, i do look forward to seeing your opinion on the shirt pattern!

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  30. I'm actually pretty excited that this runs larger. My husband has insanely broad shoulders. So much so that even if he were to lose 30lbs, he'd still be the exact same shirt size. I'm actually excited to pick this pattern up and try it out for him!

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  31. Peter,

    In 2011 I bought a Burda Style(May), just because of the men's shirt pattern. I did it for my DH and I like very much the cut. The size was perfect, with no fitting issues, except for the lenght.

    Now I have just found and bought an older Burda von February 2001, because it has several men's patterns! All the patterns are more Sommer-like, but anyway, one can always change the fabric and color, and add some lining, for other time of the year or style. There is a Sommer suit and a 3/4 long coat, a short jacket, one pattern for each pants and Bermudas and three different patterns for shirts, one of them fitted.

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  32. Wow, good luck with this. I would already have given up at this point. I know you'll make it all work out in the end. I look forward to seeing how the concealed button placket comes out. It's a nice touch, as are the side seams. It nice to see a pattern with some creative features.

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  33. What I know is this: If a Vogue pattern says it's loose-fitting, it's l o o s e - f i t t i n g!!!

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  34. I bought this pattern too because I'm thinking the side pieces may help me get a better fit on Phin. So, I'm eager for your critique!

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  35. Hi Peter,

    I bought this pattern the moment it came out! (because my readers have come to expect me to be on top of these things, lol, and it's a business expense for me ;)

    But so far, I am not feeling any love for this pattern at all. The comparisons you've made to your TNT patterns are the same I've found when comparing this new Vogue to my custom shirt drafts. What this tells me (along with the hidden button placket and those tuck details, plus the narrow shaped side panels--oy vey!)......is that this pattern looks more like a "blouse" draft than a shirt draft. I really *hope* I am wrong!

    I've had the darn thing for 2 weeks and after examining the pieces, I haven't been able to force myself to make this shirt/blouse.

    Like you, I am making the short sleeve version. I'll be making a muslin of the full-on version with all the details (yep, including the 8 pin-tucks...sigh), in my DH's size. The thing is, since I don't have any cheap shirt fabrics, I have to render this experimental shirt in the least expensive shirting I have on hand...Italian Linen.

    This is going to be interesting!

    BTW...did you see my "ShirtMaker's Secret Collar Turning Technique" Tutorial? You'll never poke collar points again :)

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  36. Having just finished my first Negroni, I'm in a men's shirt sewing mood and wanting to try another one. I will be interested to see your results.

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  37. I am glad you are doing such a thorough review on this pattern. It looked interesting when I saw it, but after the sizing issues with the Vogue 8801 pants I made, I was hesitant to try this pattern. With your insight, I might try it.

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  38. I'm still reeling from that fact that Vogue has any men's patterns in production!! It's truly horrendous how all of the major companies, with the exception of Burda and Kwik-Sew have abandoned men's fashion!! I have to start scouring the net for basic vintage patterns!

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  39. Maybe Vogue are just so out of practise at making Men's patterns, they've kinda forgotten how?

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