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Jan 5, 2011

Peter models the men's plaid flannel shirt

Friends, I fear a Hipster Alert! warning call is imminent and well-warranted.  I finished my flannel shirt yesterday and I cannot deny that I look like what New York Magazine calls the Urban Woodsman.  That scares me though I used to be an avid hiker.

Fortunately I don't live in Brooklyn and yet mysteriously I found myself there yesterday afternoon (though hardly in a hotbed of hipsterism).  Why?  Read on.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I finished the plaid flannel shirt yesterday.  I do want to sew more slowly and I try but it's hard.  No matter what I do -- schedule in distractions, miss a night's sleep, sew with dusty old vintage sewing machines -- I find it a challenge to stretch these project out longer.  I will keep trying.

One time-saver was my decision to skip front pockets on the shirt.  They were simply too much plaid and made me seasick.  I hope you agree but I'm standing by my decision.

I also serged the side seams -- a first -- after a very tedious hour spent flat-felling the armscye seams.  Flannel is so spongy and it doesn't really iron to a crisp unless cooked.

I realized a little late but better late than never that I could use beige thread as my top thread and black thread in my bobbin (exact same weight thread from Sil thread) so I wouldn't have unsightly beige stitches on my black cotton sateen trim.  I may redo the front right placket -- you see how the stitches on the placket are beige whereas the collar is (nearly) all black?  I prefer the latter.

The cuff is topstitched beige but the cuff lining is black, which is nice if I turn up my cuffs.

Here's the rear:

Buttonholes , which I did on my Singer buttonholer attached to my Pfaff 30, came out great.

I know reader Renee was rooting for snaps, but I opted for plain old plastic buttons.  Sorry, Renee!

My Pfaff 30 was a good little trouper though still in need of some fine tuning imo.  Her feed dogs automatically drop which made using my buttonholer much more convenient than on my old Singer Spartan.  She's a lovely topstitcher, powerful slow or fast, and I love having my machine in a table and sewing flush with the table top.  

For the record, I made this shirt using Butterick 4712, a slim-fitting vintage Seventies pattern that often shows up on Etsy and eBay.

In other news, friends, the sew-along is GO!

We have a few options.

 1) We can all use the same pattern.  I can recommend a current men's shirt pattern and we can purchase it on our own from a place like Pattern Review or wherever you buy patterns.  That way we're all on the same page.

2) I can recommend a few in-print options and let you decide what works best (since some of you are more interested in women's shirts, or boys shirts, what have you.)  Shirt patterns are more alike than they are different and the sew-along will focus on techniques anyway that will be useful regardless of the pattern.  This way those who may already have a vintage or OOP pattern they want to use can participate.

The number of men's dress shirt patterns currently available is woefully low.  Do you hear that, friends at The McCall Pattern Company (comprising McCall's, Vogue, and Butterick)?

Either way I'll let you know and we'll come up with a way to post pictures to the site, have a forum for questions, etc.  Start date will be early February.  Exciting!

Finally friends, poor Michael.  Tired of watching my swift ascent to blogger whatever-dom from the sidelines, always hoping for a brief mention or photo on Male Pattern Boldness, Michael has decided to start a daily blog of his own.

It's all about food and his cooking adventures and it's called Pleasing My Palate.

Won't you check it out?  We do all have to eat after all.  I am prominently featured, albeit not in my leopard pants, plaid shirt, or toggle coat.  Still you might enjoy it.

Of course if you choose to follow Michael's blog you'll earn extra points in my book, points which will entitle you to the chance of winning potentially valuable prizes at some future time yet to be determined. 

Thankfully Willy and Freddy are not yet up to the daily discipline of blogging though they do have strong opinions about raw meat (love it!), treadmills (ho-hum), and enforced dental hygiene (grrrr.....).

In closing, I have expanded my plaid shirt Picasa file,  so do take a look if you like flannel shirts and expansive views of New York City from a Brooklyn high-rise where I will never live but my brother and SIL, we'll see.  Vertigo alert.

Have a great day everybody!


  1. I do like the pockets, but it looks fab without them, too. And the lined cuffs? Super cool!

  2. Very nice!

    I already know what pattern I'll be using--Simplicity 4975. It's the only one that comes both big enough and long enough for my boys. And I'll be doing something fairly boring, too--a plain white shirt. It's badly needed, but a plain white shirt. I have some very nice cotton/poly batiste that I'll be making it out of. I use a lot of it, so I have quite a bit of yardage in my stash.

  3. Again, impressive! You made the right decisions I think in leaving off the pockets and using buttons. (I thought you forgot to sew on a button in the photo with the cuffs turned back but I went back up and saw it was there in the previous shots)! It looks great with the jeans you made.

    This might be the first sew along I've ever done. I know nothing about men's clothes. How are men's shirts sized anyway? I thought it had something to do with the neck. I do know my husband won't be wearing any Slim Fitting things!

    I read Michael's blog yesterday but I'm off to read it again, especially since I see in the sidebar that it has to do with eggplant and pasta. One of my favorites!

  4. What's wrong with sewing quickly? I envy that about you. Yes you sew quickly, but it's accurate as well. Slow down only if you feel it will increase the quality of your work.

    Use a sharpie to cover the beige stitches. Just don't press supper hard so that it bleeds through.

  5. Nice shirt albeit a little hipster. So what? It looks good on you and it's a good piece for cold weather. May you wear it and enjoy it for a long time.

    No shirt sewalong for me. DH is way too picky in his shirt preferences and I don't want to deal with them. If he wants a shirt, he can either buy one or beg me later.

  6. I don't mind the Urban Woodsman look - but please, I beg you - do not cultivate the 'ironic' facial hair that seems to be blighting so many Canadian hipsters!

  7. Hipster? Around here in TN we'd call that "a li'l bit country". Either way, it turned out nicely and looks like it is warm!

  8. Hi Peter!

    The shirt came out great and I think without the pockets it has a cleaner looks "calmer" look.

    I won't do the sew-a-long, but I can't wait to follow you guys with this project. One can learn a lot looking at others works, right?

    I will visit Michael's new blog for sure! Cooking is one of passion!

  9. The shirt looks great! Really good decision on the pockets, makes it less rural.

  10. Not that there's anything wrong with rural!

  11. I'm glad you opted for no pockets, and although I was rooting for snaps, I think the buttons look great. I'm not sure why you want to slow down- your sewing is amazing at your current speed! I find menswear intimidating, but your blog makes it seem accessible.

  12. The shirt - the whole Urban Woodsman outfit- reminds of a Monty Python skit about a man who is a lumber jack?! You may be a little too young to have been caught in that whirl of that English humor show, but the song about a lumber jack is very catchy!

  13. Amazing once again. Maybe if I whipped through some projects like you do, I would learn to sew as well as you. Love it you hipster you.

  14. Jalie has a men's shirt pattern I've been meaning to crack out and fit...Nice thing about those, they have a jillion sizes in one pattern, so if somebody has boys and men to fit, that's a great investment.

    Buttonholes on the plaid shirt look great. Who knew buttonholers were so awesome?

  15. @sewforward - one is never too young for Monty Python and whole new generation awaits! My 10 year-old spent Xmas catching up on their old skits on Youtube and is currently of the belief that they are the funniest thing ever. Needless to say, we have been hearing the lumberjack song a lot, and how he likes to dress in women's clothing...

    Peter, that shirt is super cool, and much better without the pocket. And yes please to a dress shirt sew-along!

  16. Slow down your sewing?! Unless your quality is suffering then I say full speed ahead! The sew-along will have to be slower but by all means, don't slow down your personal sewing on our account.

    Your shirt looks great! I'm glad you didn't put the pockets, I think having them on the bias was just too much. If you decide you need a pocket and have enough fabric then match them to the plaid so they will blend.

    I have a dress shirt pattern all ready for the sew-along. How exciting!

    Thanks for the shout-out for Michael's blog. I desperately need help in the kitchen so I'll be a regular reader.

  17. I am totally jealous of your ability to finish projects so quickly! Don't slow down, it's cool to see all you do and it keeps this place really interesting.

    That shirt is fab. I would call it your lumberjack sexy cool shirt.

    As for the sewalong, would a women's pattern be tougher because of the need for adjustments in the bust? I think I might follow your lead and make a mens shirt with Liberty for my hot husband. I'll just need some leeway with shipping time for the fabric. And try to convince hubby he won't end up looking like Theo from the Cosby show in a knockoff Gordon Gartrelle.

  18. I love the shirt sans pockets (my hubby pretty much refuses to wear any shirt with pockets)!

    I'd vote for option 2 since I already have a pattern, a vintage mens shirt Butterick 3304. Will you be able to cover much fitting or am I on my own for that? ;)

  19. this is off topic but I got a Pottery Barn catalog yesterday that had real vintage sewing machines for sale as tabletop accessories at 199 dollars each. Such a waste!! I imagine they may not be in working condition but still....

  20. Love the shirt! Agree with the lack of bias pocket. Prefer option 2 for the sew along since I have a pattern already. Really, great shirt. It's one of the more mainstream things you've made but still has your flair with the contrast facings and styling.

  21. I like the lack of pocket. I think it makes the shirt seem fancier. With the pocket you have just another plaid flannel shirt, but I think it can go more places this way.

    The sew-a-long is intriguing. I would most likely sew for my girls (I have a pattern that is for boys or girls... so it is a more traditional shirt). But this could be a good opportunity to sew the first thing ever for my husband. He's lost a lot of weight doing P90X and wants to show it off. Hmmm, this would either be very good or very bad. Must think more about this.

  22. Ohhhh, liking the shirt a lot! Yes, pocket would have probably been too much with the plaid bias contrasting a lot with the body of the shirt. The fit is fab :)

    I might be up to the sew along, my hubby has great difficulty finding shirts that fit. I've already sewn him one but, albeit everyone loving it, it is still a bit too baggy around the torso and waaaay too short! I really enjoyed sewing it so can't wait to sew another one!

  23. The hours I spent laying on my stomach Friday nights in prime time have me singing "You're a little bit hipster, you're a little bit rock and roll, you live in Chelsea, but there's a little bit of Brooklyn in your soul..." and that's quite an earwig.

    I love the shirt, and think you made the right choice in pocket deletion. Something about the check pattern makes the whole pattern on the bias thing a little more oppressive to my eye. I do love the slim fit of your shirt, and think it would look equally terrific under a blazer, since the lack of pockets make it a little more polished.

    You're so adorable in a knit cap that I cannot tease you about it being hipster either, especially since NY got as much snow as Mn and has less expertise in managing it.

  24. Great! And so woodsmanlike :-). I'm glad you left out the chest pockets. But did the buttons have to be plastic?? You were also very right to serge, what's this business about how every single piece of rtw is serged (even if it costs 2 month's rent) but we can't have any, are you serious? You could sew a lot faster if you serged more :-).

  25. M-C, the buttons were upcycled.

    Goodness, LAP, Donny & Marie on MPB. I'm not sure how I feel about that though Marie does sew...

  26. Beautiful shirt! Here in DC, that's what you wear when you announce that you're running for President to show your Real Americaness. When may we expect the announcement?

  27. I really like your new shirt and agree that omitting the pockets was a good idea. Can't wait for the sew-along and I think my husband will appreciate it as well, since I never sew anything for him.
    Heading over to check out Michael's blog.

  28. Nice shirt, Peter! I prefer your plastic buttons over snaps -- I think the snaps would've launched you right into the heart of Williamsburg. I moseyed over to Michael's blog, and I noticed that your household belongs to a certain milk club as well. Maybe I'll run into either you or Michael at the pick-up site in the near future? -Catherine

  29. I love your shirt! And like people that have commented before me, I think you did the right choices, especially concerning the pockets.

    I will happily try to follow your sew along (after I am done with the Crepe one from Gertie AND with the lining of my Mister's coat). That's the perfect occasion to use a new pattern that I have gotten under the Christmas tree. For the little story, my man knew that I dreamed of Colette patterns but could not afford them, so he ordered a few, plus the Negroni (a male shirt) hidden in the pile. I found that it was one of his most subtle hints...

  30. My God, you matched everything. Amazing job. Timberrrrrrrrrrr.

  31. It looks great, and prefer it without pockets too! Well bias ones anyway - you could always match them.
    I sew slowly around the fiddly bits - I'm always using my handwheel. But I have an industrial machine so make up for it on the long seams!

  32. Wow, you are a FAST sewer! Very impressive work, your shirt looks great, hipster-man. Hmmm, maybe that WAS you I saw on Atlantic Ave yesterday.

    Very excited about the sew-a-long. I have pretty many mens' patterns - there are so few out there that it is likely that whatever you recommend, I probably have it!

  33. Love the shirt, Peter! I'm totally psyched about the shirt sew along. I got my pattern on Etsy yesterday. A 1950's Butterick with the option of a tab collar. Can't remember the last time I saw a tab collared shirt! I'm sure we'll all learn tons from the experience.

  34. great looking shirt, and I don't think you can beat those buttonholes made with the Singer buttonhole attachment - I treasure mine :)

  35. I love the shirt and I'm glad you left the pockets off, I really don't like chest pockets. I was hoping to use my TNT men's shirt as the alterations are already made. My bloke has a huge chest and tiny waist and fitting a new shirt pattern to him takes about 4 muslins. Don't be worried about sewing quickly. I think you should sew when the urge takes you, because that's when the passion for that project is active. If I spin things out, I wander off and do other things in the middle and then I end up with a UFO.

  36. Love the shirt! Love the view from Brooklyn! Love exclamation points!

    I may just go ahead and join the sew-along. It's not like I'm sewing anything else lately. Or maybe I'll cook along with Michael. Or sew Michael an apron. Or something like that.

  37. Yep, I'm with the others that have mentioned this, "I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok..." as soon as your said urban woodsman it just popped in there. hehe.

    I agree that it was a good choice to leave off the pocket, it was just too much plaid. It looks great and the speediness of your sewing hasn't effected the finish of it that I can see.

  38. Great looking shirt! It's been said before but I agree regarding the pocket. It was just too busy for my tastes. BUt I do like the look of a matched pocket which is the option I have generally chosen when I was sewing.

    I know I have made comments about how quickly you sew... It's due to sewing envy. Don't slow down for anybody except yourself. It's all about enjoying what you are doing. But for the sake of the sew along, slower would be appreciated.

  39. Peter, you did a great job on this shirt. I'm glad you left off the front pocket - you're right, it would have been too much (the snap buttons would have been as well, IMHO).

  40. Another fantastic shirt, Peter. I'm very glad you nixed the pockets, though. They made my eyes jiggle. Love the regular buttons. You look really sharp!

    I'd love to do the sew-along, but I'm going with a more Hawaiian shirt style as my Mr. Friday rocks the Big Bopper look. :)

  41. Peter, as always, a job well done. Funny though, your definition of slowing down sewing seems to be different from mine. When you first mentioned it, I thought you meant taking more time to do things correctly, like going slowly so your topstitching was perfect (it always is, that's just an example). It's interesting that your idea seems to be more of, well, in your words, stretching the project out longer.

  42. Amazing job! I love the lined cuffs.

  43. Ooh, I love it! Isn't the trick of making the bobbin thread match the inside nifty? I did that with a skirt once. What is this sew-along you speak of? I must research the archives.

  44. Looks good, Peter. I like the contrasting facings and I'm glad you decided to omit the pockets.

  45. Urban Woodsman. Check.

    I agree with the crowd regarding buttons and pockets (yea and nay). It's a beautifully done, classic shirt; I really like the contrasting lining on the collar stand and cuffs. I was taught in tailoring classes that a dress shirt has no pockets, so you've bumped it up a notch (looks better under waistcoats and jackets).

    Yay for the sew-along! I have a few shirt patterns that I cycle through (as they've all been altered for fitting), so I might prefer that we use our own chosen pattern. Still, I certainly wouldn't mind doing the extra fitting work for a new pattern with sufficient interest...

  46. Your shirt is awesome. I love this pattern and it fits you very well! Where did you find the fabric? I would like to share a little tip of my own. I live in Quebec, and fashion fabric is terribly hard to find. I wanted some flannel shirts for my 2 sons in fall and I did not want to buy RTW because they shrink a lot. I bought good quality flannel sheets at Sears for 10$ (twin bed size). I have made 6 long sleeves shirts from these. It was a great deal and the shirts are very warm.

  47. Annie, that is a fantastic idea I'm going to share on the blog tomorrow. I've made many a sheet shirt myself.

    I got my flannel at AK fabric. I think it was $7/yd. Cotton flannel is not so easy to find.

  48. Thank you Peter for the store's link. I will ad it to my looong list of stores to visit in NY in a next trip.

    Here is the link of the sheets I used (sorry it is in Canada) :

    If you want I can send you a picture of one of the shirts (they all use the same pattern from Ottobre, I was too lazy to trace another)
    I have made some PJ's also from NHL printed sheets, because I don't want to pay 20-25$ for a pajama that won't fit anymore after washing it.

  49. The lumberjack always wears his flannel over a henley, all tucked in with suspenders. Do it, dude

  50. Hi, Love your blog!
    Just thought you'd like to know that there is an Etsy seller currently using one of your photos from this blog post in their listing to sell Butterick pattern 4712.


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