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Nov 28, 2019

A New Shirt for Thanksgiving

Readers, it's always nice to have something new to wear for the holidays, don't you agree?

This shirt, which I just finished this (Thanksgiving) morning, is a new favorite.  I made it using one of my tried-and-true vintage men's shirt patterns, Butterick 4575.  As always, I made a few minor alterations.  The biggest change I made this time was to create a spread collar rather than a regular one.  I did this by changing the angle of the collar piece.  You can see what got cut away below: the longer edge (the top edge in the photo) is the one sewn to the collar stand.

My fabric is a beautiful William Morris cotton print, "Anemone," sent to me by my friend Pam.  I've had it my stash for a few years now and it was perfect for this shirt project.  It feels a lot like a Liberty of London Tana Lawn -- very fine and very smooth.  It was a pleasure to sew with.

Naturally I wanted to match the pattern across my two shirt fronts.  Matching a pattern like this one takes time and there aren't really any shortcuts.  I do this by first deciding where I want to place the center front of my shirt, then cutting out one side and finally matching the second side to it.  You have to match the pattern vertically and also horizontally.  Since my placket is 1" wide, I decided the center front would be smack in the center of the closed blue flower motif.

I did not go out of my way to match sleeve plackets or cuffs, though I cut them in the same direction (with the flowers facing up) as the rest of the shirt.  Actually, the inside cuff is cut in the other direction, so that when it's folded up it doesn't look upside down.  Does that make sense?

Sleeve placket before attaching cuff.

I paid more attention to the collar, which I wanted to look balanced vis-a-vis the floral motifs.

Before I start a sewing project, I do a lot of testing of things like fusible interfacing (I used a lightweight woven) and stitch length (a very tiny stitch for this fine-quality, tightly woven cotton).  All the testing saves time in the long run and ensures a good looking result.

Testing stitch lengths on a fabric swatch.
The shirt came together easily.  I made this primarily on my Singer 15-91, a vintage straight-stitch machine, with a little help from my Bernina 930.  I also found it helpful to use my walking foot when stitching the hem, which gets folded up twice at approximately 1/4".

As always, I made my buttonholes with my vintage Singer buttonholer, model 121795.  You can see a short video of the buttonholer at work here.  Years ago (2012) I made a YouTube video about this buttonholer.  You can view that here.  My buttons are genuine mother of pearl, from my stash.

Best of all, I finished my shirt in time for my Thanksgiving (late afternoon) luncheon.  I even had some time for a quick photo shoot courtesy of Michael.  It was such a cold and windy morning!

The wind made the back of the shirt look a bit inflated.  The yoke is cut on the cross grain.

Friends, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving holiday and for those of you sewing this weekend, best of luck with your projects!

Until next time!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Looks always Peter, you're work is impeccable and you look impeccable in it!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving. Your shirt is beautiful as always. I love the way you construct the cuffs before you put them on the shirt, it looks so professional and to me quite unachievable. I hope you and Michael and all your family had a fabulous day.

  4. Excellent.Love this fabric.Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  5. Hi Peter, Happy Thanksgiving. I like the fabric very much, and as always admire your craftsmanship. You've made another beautiful shirt. I went back to your video of the buttonholer; it really makes beautiful buttonholes. i have a Singer treadle machine sitting in the garage, unused, as the driving cord is missing. I also have a Pfaff threadle (converted to electric) and will see if the buttonholer works on that machine. Warm greetings from sunny New Zealand. Summer is definitely on its way!

  6. Tell us Cathy was there, [in a breathy, lower register] please.

  7. I knew you'd finish this shirt by Thanksgiving. Looks great! I found a vintage Viscount Precision Deluxe sewing machine at Goodwill today. I've been googling for info all day. Bupkis. Any ideas of sites to look for info or a manual or?? Seems to work just fine, but I want info! Thanks in advance for any help.

    1. Karen, my hunch is that it is a Japanese clone: made in Japan and badged with the Viscount Precision Deluxe name. My hunch is that it is a solid machine and very good purchase. Enjoy it!


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