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Jan 11, 2011

Men's Shirt Sew-Along -- Your questions answered!

Friends, we have a lot of material to cover today, so stay focused and no multi-tasking.  Puppies are for later.

First, we have a winner of Sunday's Men's Shirt Pattern Giveaway.

She's a self-described Aquarian geek from Holly Hill, Florida...our very own "pattern slattern," Mary of Mary Sews!  Mary, please send me your mailing address (peterlappinnyc at gmail dot com) and I'll ship your pattern off to you ASAP.  Let's all give Mary a round of applause!

A big thank you to all who came up with poems and please keep at it -- there's some real talent out there!

Meanwhile, I have received many questions regarding the MPB Men's Shirt Sew-Along and I'd like to answer them today.

Q:  I am a true beginner.  Can I still participate?

 A: Yes!  If you can sew a straight seam, you can participate in the Sew-Along.  We will be making a muslin first, working through any challenges we encounter, and only then making the final shirt.  Regardless of your current level of skill and experience, you'll learn a lot.

Q: Will you be creating a Flickr file for us to post pictures.

A: Yes.  I am not certain whether this will actually be in Flickr, but I will be creating a photo file to which you will be able to upload photos of your projects.  I'm a Picasa guy myself but we'll figure something out that works.  If you have experience with this and suggestions, please email me.

UPDATE: The Flickr group has been created.  More tomorrow.

Q: Where can I order the Colette Negroni shirt pattern?

You can place an order for the pattern here.

Sarai is offering a 20% discount on the pattern for Sew-Along participants during the month of January.  Please use the promo code MPBNEGRONI  (It MUST be entered in all caps, and I am told you cannot cut and paste) to enjoy the discount.

Q: Can I use a different men's shirt pattern?

A: Yes.  And if you have specific questions about the pattern you are using I will try to answer them.

Q: Will you be covering the topics of thread, needles, and interfacing?

Yes.  I will be covering all these topics in the days ahead.

Q: Can you give instructions for grabbing your Sew-Along button?

A: Scroll to the bottom of the code box by clicking on the down arrow.  You should see a blinking cursor.  Do a "copy all" and paste the code in an HTML gadget on your blog (This is accessed through the "Design" tab in Blogger).  Or simply cut and paste any Sew-Along image and use a photo posting gadget on your blog and kindly link it back here.  If this doesn't work, email me.

Q: I read that someone is making Michael a shirt.  Can I make Michael a shirt too?

A: No.  Michael gets one shirt only.  I do have two chihuahuas badly in need of warm winter coats however.  Email me.

Q: How did you do in the Pattern Review Winter Wear contest?

A: Sadly, I was the proverbial RC Cola of the Winter Wear contest.  You can check out the results and congratulate -- or berate -- the winners here.

Q: When will we see Cathy again?

A: Cathy is currently serving a short sentence at a minimum security women's prison in Springfield, MA.  I have been asked not to discuss her crime.  When she has paid her debt to society she will return to modeling.

Q: Any new purchases you wish to share?

A: Thanks for asking!

Friends, I am very impressionable and after reader Sherry cleverly manipulated me into exploring the Elna Press (or Elnapress) I decided I had to have one and off to eBay I went.  After finding a languishing Buy It Now and bargaining with the seller a bit, I managed to purchase one for well under $100.  It should arrive early next week.  Will I like it?  We'll see!

I also picked up a used copy of this Kwik Sew book from the Seventies on Amazon for a few dollars.  Is it any good?  I'll keep you posted.

And another pattern purchase.

I had been eying this pattern on Etsy for a while now and I decided to take the plunge.  I think I'm going to make it with the gray flannel I recently purchased. It's strange for sure with that full front yoke but just normal-looking enough to work.  Can't wait to get it!

Q:  What have you guys been eating lately?

A: Obviously a planted question.  Read all about it.

Friends, we're out of time.

Keep those Sew-Along questions coming.  Remember: we don't start officially till February 1st so don't sweat it. I'll let you know when it's panic time.

Have a great day and keep sewing!


  1. Of course, if AFTER the sew-along someone just happens to donate the shirt they've created to Michael....well, I don't see how that would violate any of the MPB rules and regulations.

    I'm an autumn, btw, chest size 37.

  2. One question - how do you get your head through that McCall shirt?

  3. I'm in on the sew-a-long. Thanks for the website badge! I have tried three different mens' shirt patterns for Gene and none of them were what I'd call fantastic. I ordered some Italian made cotton shirting from Fashion Fabrics Club.

  4. Actually, Noile may have answered that question in the comments on LSASpacey's blog -

    Sorry, don't know how to do the clicky thing.

  5. Congrats on your third place performance in the Winter Wear contest! I only took 8th place by votes, but hey, at least I got 16 votes! Not bad for a first timer! Your coat was spectacular - definitely worth more than the bronze. :)

  6. I came in second. Oh well. Maybe next time. :)

    You found out so fast! I discovered through your blog.

  7. Could Willy be any happier in that pic?

    Third place? Not to take anything away from the other participants, but YOU WERE ROBBED!

    (Frankly, Nathalie, I'm not sure how Peter gets his head through the *door.*)

  8. And, yes, that dog is just too darned cute!

  9. I love hearing all about how new purchases live up to their potential or disappoint, will be following the Elnapress story eagerly.

    I'd guess that the McCall's pattern has the buttons hidden under a blank placket; I seem to recall seeing a shirt like that once. Though it was a woman's shirt I think. Gah, I'm getting old and it was a couple decades ago.

  10. I like flickr because it combines the gallery and the forum in one, and a lot of sewists have accounts there already (and those using the negroni can put their pictures in the Colette Patterns gallery at the same time :) ). I suppose facebook would work but I try to keep my sewing persona at least semi separate from my real-life self, and facebook falls on the real-life side of the divide. Although I love picasa, it annoys me that I have to install the program to use the web albums. It's a great program, but I have at least five others already that do basically the same things, and my poor computer gets very cluttered up. I don't know if picasa has a group/forum option either, but then I haven't explored it as much because of the software irritation. My $.02 ;). That is a nifty shirt pattern---different but not too different!

  11. I bought an Elna Press about 25 years ago thinking it would be a smaller substitute for an old fashion mangle iron. I used it a few times still have it and this sew along will be a good time to get it out again. If i don't like it the Saver's store will have a donation. I hope you post pics of how you use yours and the pros and cons of it's use. Btw, wish me luck on this sew along!

  12. I have a question! My brother measures wonkily. Because he has a bit of a tummy, his chest measures one size and his waist another. Will the shirt end up looking weird, as men's shirts tend to be rectangular, if I do what I would with a pattern for me and kinda draw a line between sizes?

  13. So you are getting an Elnapress! Hope you like it - it'll be great for fusing. And leg creases in your jeans! I promise not to make any further equipment suggestions ... for a while!

  14. Thanks, Sherry. That sounds like a good strategy. ;)

    Laura, we'll talk about this. The shirt has to fit both the chest and the waist, so it can't be a perfect rectangle. That said, we want the side seams to be vertical, so if there's more up front, that's where the extra width must go. Does that make sense?

  15. I'm in on the sew-along too. I have decided what pattern to use at least, its going to be 70s style.

  16. Wow! I can't believe I won! I have sent you an email message, and I look forward to receiving the pattern!

    Thank you!

  17. It's snowing like crazy here in Maine today, so I'm shopping for shirting online. Does anyone have experience with Denver Fabrics? Their photos are horrible but they have tons of shirting under $5. Yea? Nay?

  18. I'm hoping to begin sewing this year, but I don't know if I'm ready for an entire shirt. I'd like to start by making a flat tie for my husband as a Valentine's Day gift - somewhat like the black chambray tie by The Hill-Side. Is there a place I can find patterns for beginning projects like that?

  19. Amanda, go to and do a search under men's tie patterns (in the "Everything" category). There are many patterns for ties and such that can be had very inexpensively.

  20. Amanda, there's a Kwik Sew (3183) pattern that has all sorts of ties. But honestly, ties are more trouble than they're worth. I've made one before (out of hand-dyed material, no less) and doing the turning alone is a hair-pulling-out-screaming-and-cussing-the-project-out experience.

  21. Peter, the pattern arrived yesterday! Thank you so much!


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