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Aug 11, 2015

Sewing a fine linen plaid men's shirt

I've fallen behind, readers.  I haven't yet shown you photos from Susan's last fitting from last Friday, which went very well.  I hope to share those with you later in the week.

Today, I want to show you another project I'm working on, a beautiful handkerchief-weight linen shirt in a blue, brown and cream plaid (up top and below).  While gorgeous, this fabric is prone to shift so it's a little challenging to work with.  Cutting it required a lot of concentration and lining up the vertical and horizontal lines on the right and left shirt fronts look longer than I expected.

The photo just below should give you a better sense of the weave, which is somewhat loose and prone to fraying.

Rather than use fusible interfacing, on the front plackets I'm using pre-shrunk cotton batiste I picked up on MPB Day.  It's a great stabilizer and it doesn't mess with the fabric's texture or hand.  I'm also using it to interface the outer yoke (which I cut on the bias, below), as well as for the inside yoke.

I am very excited about this shirt, though it's not for me but rather for a new client, the son-in-law of a neighbor of ours, who's visiting from California.  I hope to show you a photo of him in the finished shirt by week's end.

I'm making this -- buttonholes included -- with my Singer 201, which I've been sewing with a lot lately for some reason.

And that's it!  I have a lot to work on this week and hope to share most, if not all of it, with you.

Have a great day, everybody!

This Sunday I wore my cotton shawl-neck sweater, pink linen shirt, and dark denim jeans.


  1. Yes, that is a beautiful fabric. I look forward to seeing the finished shirt!

  2. Handsome Sunday the "boyfriend" jeans!

  3. I hope your having fun sewing for other people. Your a walking advertisement for your services in that outfit!

  4. Do the dogs ever try to lie on your fabric when you lay it down for cutting, or is that just something that only cats delight in (especially when your back is turned)? LOL!! Nothing like a 201 when it comes to sewing, they're as smooth as silk!!

    1. Peter,

      Short shrift on Susan will not be stood for (she's the equivalent of finding spot shrimp at a salad bar)!

      Also on the 201 bandwagon; was bobbin winding, now I can't get the wheel to re-engage? I did take the silver inner-wheel out, and put it back in (incorrectly?). What shall I do? What shall I DO???

    2. My hunch is that you put that little disk (that looks like a washer) on the wrong way. Take the hand wheel off again and reverse the position of the disk. That should address the problem.

  5. My hot tip for working with linen is to starch the bejeezus out of it before you start cutting. The more starch you use, the less the fabric shifts around during the sewing process. Then simply wash before wearing . . . .

  6. Replies
    1. They're Jerusalem sandals purchased on Amazon.

  7. I love that linen! It's difficult, but so worth it. Looking forward to seeing it!

  8. Funny how fickle we are about machines. Worse than boyfriends - well, back in the old (young) days. But some of them just do a better job at certain things than others do.
    So glad the experts above reminded us about starch. It is just so hard to keep all these techniques in your head.

  9. Peter (and all) -- i hope this isn't out of line to post this (and feel free to delete if it is), but i'm backing this on kickstarter and the guy is SO CLOSE to his goal... i've been spreading the word wherever i feel it's appropriate. he's making UNISEX SKIRTS, and i just love the idea. what brought MPB to mind (besides it being a guy who is comfortable wearing a skirt) is that he wanted a skirt, couldn't find one he liked, and so he taught himself to sew so he could make his vision. the DIY of it is inspiring, just like you are, Peter. : )

    anyway, here's the link:


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