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Feb 9, 2020

Wearable Muslin MADNESS: My Davy Crockett Shirt in Microsuede!

Readers, every once in a while the test version of a new (to me) pattern exceeds my expectations.

You may recall that I purchased this vintage 1966 McCall's pattern (8475) a few weeks ago on Etsy.  Normally I wear a Size 36  and this is a Size 34, but I know that men's shirt patterns from this period often have a lot of extra ease, plus the pants included with the size 34 pattern was the correct waist size for me, so I went for it.  As it turns out, the shirt fits fine.  I lowered the armhole 1/2" but that was primarily to accommodate the sleeve, since you can't really ease in the polyester fabric I used.

Did you notice I wore tassel loafers in my modeling shot?

The pattern pieces still had their factory folds, which is always a nice surprise.
I think my fabric is called microsuede, the commercial name for this very suede-like brushed polyester fabric, which I found in the remainder bin at Chic Fabrics a few years ago.  I think I paid $1/yd. for roughly six pre-cut yards.  The fabric is relatively thin, drapey, and a little shifty too.  It looks like suede on the right side and sort of a knit on the other. 

I don't usually sew polyester and my initial plan was to make the muslin using actual cotton muslin (I own a bolt). But then I remembered I had all that cheap brown microsuede so I used that instead.

There weren't too many construction challenges.  I sewed this on my Singer 15-91 with a regular straight-stitch foot and a size 14 Organ needle--nothing out of the ordinary.  Unlike with real leather, the needle didn't leave permanent marks.  The only challenge with the pattern was the cutting into the center front (always a little unnerving), attaching the front facing, and then flipping the facing to the inside, as you would with any tunic pattern. You have to cut very carefully at the bottom point of the facing: you don't want to cut through the stitch line, but if you're too distant from it, the fabric is going to pucker.  It's the same kind of challenge you get making a welt pocket where you have to snip right into the corners of a welt pocket opening.

The center front facing turned to the inside.  It's topstitched from the outside so you don't need to understitch to prevent the facing from turning out.
My biggest concern throughout was whether the shirt would be too snug.  As it turns out, it's not snug at all.   Sometimes with a Size 34 shirt the armhole is a tad too high (which is another reason why I lowered this one 1/2").

Undercollar attached to neckline and center front cut open.

The collar attaches a lot like one of those "Italian" collar shirts, where you attach the undercollar to the neckline first, then attach the overcollar to the facing, and then stitch everything together in one go, right sides together.  As a result, it's important that all the notches line up: there's no room for error.

I used my serger to finish the seam allowances and stitched faux flat-felled seams: this is polyester at the end of the day.  I was all set to put the eyelets in myself (I've done it before) but since the only ones I had were silver and a little too big and since I found myself at Star Snaps in the Garment District yesterday for another project, I treated myself to professionally installed eyelets which are not only the correct size but the perfect antique brass color.  The faux suede lacing is from Daytona Trim. They have a ton of colors and I chose a pale tan, 50 cents/yd. 

The cuff on this pattern was new to me.  I don't know if it's supposed to be easier to make or authentic to the period of Davy Crockett, but it's not a very good design.  That said, I can say I did it.  If I sew this shirt again I'll opt for a continuous bound placket and a regular cuff.

The inside corners where the cuff attaches to the sleeves are weak points.

Below are some modeling shots.  I opted to wear this both as a tunic (since it was very cold out) and as a wear-alone top.  I like it both ways.

Worn as a tunic.  In retrospect I might have topstitched the front yoke using a lighter, beefier thread so it was more visible.
Worn by itself. This would be great for spring but it's way too light for winter. 
The back yoke is shaped--a nice detail.

I'm freezing my ass off here but the job must be done.
Readers, that's it.  I am very happy with how genuinely suede-like this fabric looks and feels.  I could definitely see this in a heavy flannel or a cotton velveteen.  Maybe next time!

It wasn't till I saw this photo that it occurred to me I could wear this top as a tunic over another shirt.
Here's another vintage original. As you can see it seems to have those same strange cuffs.

Have a great day, everybody, and happy sewing!


  1. This shirt really takes me back to my youth as I was born in 1948. Your rendition is perfect and I'm jealous that you could have the eyelets installed professionally.

  2. You sport a fresh look, can't wait to see the slacks.

  3. I remember when those cuffs were popular/common in readymade. I don't care for them either.

  4. Nice work on the shirt and you look good in that color. That cuff would bother me to no end sticking out like it does. Then I'd be trying a small tack stitch or two inside the cuff to encourage it to fold to inside in the right direction. If that didn't work, I'd be considering if I'd ever wear it with unbuttoned cuffs and then stitch it down more sternly. But that's just me.

  5. Fab, as usual: high top moccasins are definitely the appropriate footwear, please see any Fess Parker frontier role. Compliments to the photog, of course.

  6. That was a standard cuff treatment for men's casual shirts when the pattern was printed -- and you'll still see it on women's blouses even in contemporary styles. I'm with you: it is a janky way to finish a sleeve and attach a cuff. Even a continuous band placket is nicer to wear and to look at.

    Have fun being an Urban Adventurer in your fabulous Daniel Boone shirt!

  7. It is cool layered over another shirt! Nice fabric and fit! Looks especially great across the back shoulder!

  8. Yeah, this was the cuff treatment at the time. When I was learning most pattern cuffs were done this way. I think they figured it was easier.

  9. This took me back, the seventh picture without sleeves reminded me of a Barney Rubble shirt! The pants pattern look fab, can't wait to see them made up.

  10. When my son was 3, I made him the full Davy Crockett outfit (fringe and all) using that same microsuede. He already had the coonskin hat. The material wears like IRON, I kid you not. He wore if for several years and then I made him one the next size up. That outfit is now put away for a future grandson. Our son wore that outfit 24/7 in all kinds of weather and it still looks great. Part of me want to make this shirt for his upcoming 22 b-day.

  11. Disappointed my comment was deleted.


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