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Aug 20, 2017

A New Shirt for Michael


Friends, for me shirtmaking never gets old -- I love it!

Last week I sewed a shirt for Michael out of some fabric he chose at Mood a few weeks ago.  It's a beautiful cotton ribbon print, not your run-of-the-mill shirting.  Someone on Instagram said it was a Liberty of London design but I haven't been able to substantiate her claim. (Anybody know?)  It certainly wasn't sold as Liberty nor was it priced as Liberty.  Here in NYC,  Liberty for London Tana Lawn sells for more than $35 per yard. 

I wanted to add a contrasting inside collar and cuffs but I wasn't sure what fabric to use for my contrast.  I actually went to the Salvation Army in search of an old shirt I could cut up!



In the end, I used a remnant from my stash, a creamy yellow polished cotton.  It's not a perfect match to the pale yellow in the ribbon print but close enough.   A solid provides a resting place for the eyes when a fabric print is as busy as this one is.




I made Michael's shirt with a vintage men's shirt pattern, Butterick 5579 in a Size 38-40.  I often am asked why I prefer vintage men's shirt patterns and it's basically because they're easy to find on Etsy and eBay, are generally very cheap to purchase, usually single-sized, and are very well drafted.  They also tend to have much less wearing ease than many contemporary shirt patterns -- at least the ones that were in print when I started sewing in 2009.  (An exception is Vogue 8889, which is quite fitted.)


I made just a few changes to the pattern.  For some reason the sleeve calls for a continuous lap placket instead of the standard one, so I changed it.  You usually see continuous lap plackets on women's blouses but they do turn up in men's shirt patterns from time to time.


The pattern is drafted with a straight hem but I wanted a slightly shaped one (good for tucking in but still nice-looking worn out).  Finally, I lengthened the sleeve roughly an inch.

Here's a little sewing tip.  When you make your collar, before turning right sides-out, make sure you trim as close as you can to the corners.  You want to remove seam allowance fabric that, when the collar is turned, won't have anywhere to go and will create lumps.  I hope that makes sense!


I shape the corner with a bamboo point turner but if I need to sharpen the point more, I take a straight pin to the corner and gently -- GENTLY -- pull out a bit of the point fabric (without breaking the seam open of course).   This method works great -- I learned it from my tailoring professor at FIT -- but it takes some practice.


I really like the shirt on Michael: the soft pastel colors flatter him.


There are a lot more photos from our shirt shoot over on the Mood Sewing Network, if you care to take a look.

One of these moons I need to do another men's shirt sew-along but I'm not sure when that will be.  You'll find many tips on my original sew-along (which you can link to over on the right side of the blog) as well as in the archives under "Fashion Institute Classes."  I learned a lot about shirt making when I took a class at FIT called Menswear Sewing.  The info is all there but you might have to read a few extra blog posts to find it.


Some of you may also be interested to know that I sewed this on my Janome Hello Kitty machine.  It does a very solid job.


 And that's it.

Have a great day, everybody!

My mom at our local greenmarket yesterday.  She's well and still cooking up a storm!

33 comments:

  1. I just saw this cool technique for turning a collar on Facebook. I thought it is really cool

    https://www.facebook.com/Khinmyolwin2017/videos/692388967627097/

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    Replies
    1. Just went there....WOW!!!

      Follow the link everyone, it's SO worth it (several tips are conveyed).

      Sewing is THE international language.

      Thanks BeckyW!!!!!

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    2. thank you, becky, for the amazing link!

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    3. Male Devon Sewing has done an English version http://maledevonsewing.co.uk/2017/08/creating-perfect-collar-point.html#comment-1137

      Delete
  2. You do such beautiful work, Peter, and the shirt looks terrific on Michael!

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  3. We readers certainly understand the wish to sew, wear, and just have beautiful clothing. But what happens when the closet gets too stuffed? More and more storage? Serious question.

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  4. That shirt is really wonderful, and good to see an update on your Mom. My adult son is about to be on some isolation for cancer treatment, and I'm sending in a sewing machine, fabric and patterns, and a reference for your blog.

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    Replies
    1. My best wishes to you and your son, Barbara.

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    2. Please send him my best regards along with everything else!

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    3. There is something therapeutic, if not down right covertly medicinal, about MPB (encourage multiple doses daily).

      Of healing rays, and better days...

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    4. Sending healing thoughts ...

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    5. I am sorry to hear this, sending you my best wishes and thoughts for a quick recovery.

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  5. Shirt/blousemaking never gets old for me either. Currently making some for my mum. Theoretically it's straightforward, but in practice you have to try really hard to make them look fab!

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  6. There might be a licensing issue with selling Liberty less than advertised, but I've seen a few rolls turn up for $12 in Mood, a few years after their season, so I think they're marked down to clear out old stock. But they have a little section of unmarked LOL prints in with the marked ones in the shirting area. If that one isn't, it's a very intentional copy.

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  7. Love the shirt. Makes me want to start sewing clothes again.

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  8. You are the master of shirtmaking, Peter! Michael looks great (new hairstyle? Glasses?), and so nice to see an update for your mom. Her smile is infectious!

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  9. The shirt is perfect! You have inspired me to start Sewing clothing for myself again.

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  10. Peter,

    Your shirts are beautifully made!
    Nice print also.
    Glad to see your Mom enjoying life.
    A(Anonymous)

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  11. Love the shirt. Michael looks great.

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  12. It's all lovely, especially your mother! Happy family!

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  13. Your mom just looks younger & younger!

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  14. Nice job! Did you use the same machine for the buttonholes? I'm looking for alternatives to my Bernina 1008. I miss my old Singer ...

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    Replies
    1. I made my buttonholes with a vintage Singer buttonhole attachment on a Singer 15-81 sewing machine.

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    2. Thanks for the info. Nice gizmo, that attachment/machine.

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  15. Beautiful shirt! Love the soft colors of it. Glad to see your mom is doing well!

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  16. Such crisp, precision work! Michael looks fabulous in that shirt, and his eyeglass frames coordinate with the print. Hoity-toity! I love that it was sewn on a Hello Kitty machine. Thanks for the photo and update on your mom. She looks amazing!

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  17. very nice job,Peter! waiting for a new shirtsewing along.

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  18. I think the fabric is a Liberty design called "Olivia Strange" from spring/summer 2011 and was part of the "The Story Book Collection". This was a collaboration between Liberty Design Studio and British children's book illustrators. This design was by David McKee who created the "Mr Benn" stories.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you SO much! That's exactly what I was looking for. :)

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  19. i always love seeing Michael and the new shirt is fab. thanks for the photo of Mom. i was wondering about her.

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  20. I’m making a wedding shirt for my soon to be son in law. Speaking of laws that should be, he is a body builder, can we make a law against that? Talk about male pattern grading! Argh! Took just three mock ups for the shirt to fit. Whew! So many shirts flying threw the mail! Well of course they live in NOLA whilst I live in SoCal. To my dilemma, I was so focused on the fit I didn’t realize the pattern guided me into the obnoxious continuous lap placket instead of the proper type you picture above. Have seam ripper, can sometimes follow instructions. Advice? I did add a French cuff instead of the barrel cuff.

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like you are doing well! There's a post about plackets on my shirt sew-along.

      http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com/2011/02/mens-shirt-sew-along-4-placket-racket.html

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