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Jul 11, 2019

Definitely Not a Pajama Top!

For his birthday last May, I told my brother I'd like to make him a shirt.

My brother, Richard.
I've never sewn for my brother before but I took his measurements recently: he's quite slightly built--his chest measures 32".  Being the lazy pattern drafter I (sometimes) am, I thought I'd see if I had anything in his chest size in my pattern stash.  Lo and behold I did: a vintage boy's pajamas pattern, Simplicity 1434, in a Size 14 (below).  If you look at it closely you may notice that View 2 is essentially a camp shirt. 

There's a lot of added ease in the pattern so I didn't have to make too many changes.  One change I did make was to add a back yoke, which allows for a better fit (what would normally be a back shoulder dart gets moved to the seam connecting the yoke to the back--which is given a bit of shaping rather than cut straight across--near the armhole).

I also moved the shoulder seam 1" forward and removed some of the extra ease in the sleeve (not pictured here).  The pajamas pattern had a separate front facing piece (so you could insert piping in the seam).  I connected the facing to the shirt front so they could be cut on one.

Notice how shaped the camp collar is.  The collar in my most recent vintage Butterick camp collar shirt is practically a rectangle (piece #6 in second photo below).

You can see the difference: the Simplicity pajama pattern collar in the tropical print comes to point; the Butterick collar spreads out nearly horizontally.

I didn't want to use fancy fabric since I wasn't certain this shirt was going to fit my brother, so I selected a tropical print cotton I was sent by a reader quite a few years ago and which had sat unused.  It's one of those fabrics that look much nicer as a garment than as simple yardage.

I took pains to match the pattern across the front.  I'm going to write a blog post sometime soon about the method I use, which is very straightforward.

Here's the back view.  I sometimes cut my yokes on the cross grain but I used the straight grain for this one. 

Since I liked the way the shirt was turning out, I used real mother of pearl buttons from my button stash and finished the insides with faux flat-felled seams (I used my serger and then stitched down the finished seam allowance from the right side of the shirt).

Hopefully I'll see my brother later this month and I can find out A) if this is a good size for him, and B) if he likes this style and fabric.  If it fits him well and he likes it, I may be done with this birthday present!

Have a great day, everybody, and happy sewing!


  1. wow, the front is SO impressive (well, who's kidding -- the whole thing is, but that front is just so perfect). love it!

  2. Peter, that fabric came from JoAnn's and came in two other colorways, a blue and a tan. I made a J.G Hook Butterick blouse from your colorway several years ago and found it to be a very nice cotton that sewed up. Alas, my blouse is reaching the end of its life but it is lovely to see another garment of the same print. Nice matching job. Once you learn how to match prints you never go back to unmatched unless you absolutely have to.
    Theresa in Tucson

    1. I remember that fabric, too. Made my husband a shirt out of it for our daughter's outdoor wedding.

  3. So hope it fits - the print is gorgeous, as is the workmanship (no surprises there).
    Yes please to a pattern matching blog post.

  4. Your sewing, as always, is inspirational. I aspire to sew like you do! Please do a pattern matching post, I would love to learn this. All the best and happy sewing.

  5. If Restoration Hardware, or RH, sold clothes, Richard would be THE model (not sure how Cathy would handle that).

  6. That is some seriously legitimate pattern matching. Awesome shirt!

  7. I like the spread on the Butterick (the collar being shorter gives the ....what is the name of that point made by the facing? - yes, it must have a name) THE WHATEVER is more prominent and I like that.

    Now I need to go look that name up, and ponder this adaptation. Thank you for that!

    1. I'd call it the gorge, like on a dress jacket.

  8. Lovely fabric and great job Peter! Wonderful fabric matching on the front.

  9. Your fabric matching on the front is very impressive.

  10. Hello, I saw a friends husband shurt and she had never sewn before and her hysvands shirt turned out so nuce that i said man if i can sew tote bags and make my granddaughter a dress i could do this so i went to Joanns picked up McCall mens shirt patten and i did it i am so oroud if


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