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Feb 27, 2010

Peter's 1972 undershirt

I'm back!

Thank you all so much for the support and kindness you showed to my cousin Cathy last week, folks.

She wasn't sure she'd be embraced by my readers and we were both delighted to discover that with each passing day, readership actually increased.  (Unfortunately she's now obsessed with Google Analytics.)
If Cathy weren't so busy building her modeling career I think she'd start a blog of her own, but in the meantime she's happy to be a celebrity guest at MPB.  Today she's reviewing entries for Cousin Cathy's Makeover Challenge and we should have results on Sunday so stay tuned.

When I wasn't trying on new outfits or being styled for our photo shoots, I did a little sewing.  Do you like the V-neck tee I'm wearing above?  I just finished it.

It's from McCall's 3438, a wonderful vintage mens underwear pattern from 1972.  This pattern comes up frequently on eBay and Etsy and I highly recommend it.  It's one of the few patterns I've found -- vintage or otherwise -- for Y-front mens briefs (Style "B").

I bought this pattern last summer but never took the time to try it, partially due to a fear of knits and partially to not having a serger.  Thankfully, I have conquered my fears while also discovering that my simple straight stitch Singer Spartan does a lovely job on knits without any need for special needles, thread, or techniques (like stretching while I stitch).   No serger necessary.

This little black Singer --which can be had for a song on eBay -- is a jewel, and mechanically identical to the 99K (just no lamp).  It's a 3/4-size machine, like the Featherweight, so it's cute and takes up very little room.  It's my go-to machine for almost everything, especially topstitching.

I made the tee shirt out of the stretch cotton knit I'd bought on my Pattern Review shopping excursion two Mondays ago.  The neckband is a little stretched out due to excessive handling (mainly starching and pressing) but after a washing and drying should shrink back to normal.  The neckband is made from the same fabric as the shirt.  It's super-comfy and light.  I'm eager to have another go at this pattern with similar weight knits.

Luckily, this rose pink fits into my new palette -- otherwise there'd be hell to pay with you know who.

Little Willy fits into my new palette as well, fortunately, and seems to be as fond of my new tee shirt as I am!


Whether you're digging yourself out of two feet of snow or sunning yourself on the beach in Miami (grr....)  have a great day everybody and Happy Sewing!


Fresh from the dryer and looking much better -- the tee shirt, I mean.


  1. I LOVE Cathy and she has to come back for more guest posts soon. And the T is a fantastic colour for your new makeover wardrobe.

    Did you get a new puppy? That dog is so adorable.

  2. Very nice! And I love the color. Hm. I think I actually have a shirt that color...

  3. You are a lucky one that you picked out the correct color before the new color palette was in play. Looks great on you, Cathy certainly knew what she was doing with those color choices!

    Great job on the tee!

  4. Nice T-shirt! Please don't feel jealous of all Floridians. Here at Bike Week it's cold and rainy and windy (why did we move here?).

  5. Serves you right for abandoning us up here in the north! ;)

  6. I'm interested in seeing closeups of the inside hem and inside the neckband on that t-shirt, because I still haven't solved the mystery of sewing knits with a straight stitch machine. I also love seeing pictures of your dear little chihuahuas. Mae

  7. I would also like to hear how you maintained the stretch of a knit with a straight stitch. Do you think you could go down a size for the t shirt? Great job!

  8. Mae and Elizabeth: I think I'll do a blog posting on this soon.

    I'm not sure what you mean about maintaining the stretch or what the mystery part is. I'd be curious to know more about your experience.

  9. The T-shirt looks great on you. Did you use a slight zig-zag stitch on the t-shirt or just a straight stitch?

  10. Great shirt! I look forward to your post on how you made it as I'm always trying to improve my knits sewing.

  11. An identical cousin is a pearl, and she should be encouraged to be a guest any time she wants to clear her mind of modelling :-).
    I love how you look in pink, keep it up!

  12. Love the shirt (fabulous color on you) and will check out the pattern for my husband--Thanks! Especially since there are so FEW patterns for men argh!
    Now though could you ( would you?) expand on how you sewed the jersey knit on your straight stitch? I have a similar class 13 style machine and love it like you seem to love yours. Beyond that I would like to know why you didn't have to stretch the fabric (??) and what needle did you use---just a regular ballpoint or...??
    I have to admit I have been a bit timid dipping my toes into the knit fabric pool and just seeing someone else do it without a serger raises my confidence level a bit :-D (my last experience years ago was wavy to say the least so I have shied from the stretching technique ever since)

  13. I love your new a pattern the McCall's 3438. I am actually interested in making my own undergarments ill say lol. Is that a good pattern to use? Thanks. I just got started sewing also, im 19 though.

  14. Hi, Peter! I just discovered your blog; how have I missed this before?? I'm a guy who likes to sew, and I'm desperate to get my hands on this McCall's pattern! I can't find one available online. Any ideas? Any way I can borrow yours? :) I want to make everything in the pattern, especially since everything you've made looks so good.

    Let me know what you think! I'm having a bugger of a time finding men's patterns around here (in the Appalachian south). Duh.




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