I started June with such high hopes (I realise we’re in August now but bear with me). Because Me Made May taught me that I have too many clothes, I decided to make June a ‘no clothes for me’ month. It started well. I turned one cushion into two by dismantling one that I made a couple of years ago for Burniston Show (here) and adding a beautiful teal velvet back. I’m pleased with these!
I also wanted to make a start on some Christmas presents (the most organised I’ve ever been in my life) and make a couple of Suki kimonos. The fabric I ordered to make these took over three weeks to arrive – well after the reveal date for Sew My Style – so they never got started either! Update – I’ve just about finished one of them and it’s looking nice!
Then I wanted to make Paul a shirt for his birthday. I wanted to make him a viscose shirt like this:
This particular shirt is from Debenhams but they’re everywhere. I wanted to make a casual, short-sleeved shirt with a rather retro camp collar (this means there is no collar stand). I’m on a bit of a mission to try and use the patterns I have in my stash rather than running off and buying the first one with particular features. I thought I’d found a good one in the second book of the Great British Sewing Bee ‘Sew your own wardrobe’. It ticked all the boxes anyway.
I made my practice version from the left over Irish linen from my Lapwing trousers. This was one of those two steps forward, one step back projects. I must have unpicked each seam at least once! I somehow managed to sew the side of the back piece to the yoke piece! In my defence the back piece was pretty much square! It took me ages to work out what I’d done wrong! Most of the mistakes were down to me not concentrating or me thinking that I knew better about how to do something when, in fact I didn’t (such as putting too much interfacing on the placket).
Based on the measurements stated in the front of the book, I cut out a size medium. Paul is normally a medium in shop-bought shirts so I thought this would be fine. Ha! I made him try it on at the earliest opportunity and he could barely get his arms in it. I thought he was going rip it, it was that tight! I then tried it on and it fitted much better on me so I thought I may as well keep it for myself! So much for selfless sewing!
I spent a little time making flat-felled seams which are what the seams of men’s casual shirts should be. These are very hard wearing, not to mention neat and tidy!
I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut out an inner yoke piece (although I ended up shortening the shirt considerably so I probably would have) so I used some spotty cotton lawn which I have specifically for lining things. I quite like it and it makes a manly shirt a little more feminine, despite the fact that it’s on the inside! As you can see, I also used bias binding on the hemlines.
I did iron this shirt TWO MINUTES before taking these pictures but it looks like I never. That’s 100% linen for you!
Even though I shortened the shirt (I hacked about 8 inches off the bottom!) I still kept the original hem line as I really liked the shape.
So overall I’m pretty pleased with my bonus shirt that I never intended to make for myself! I was also pleased that I used a pattern from a book as these often contain little gems and can get neglected. However, it wasn’t quite what I wanted for my husband’s shirt, so instead of cutting a larger size I decided to try a different pattern. The pattern I opted for was Simplicity 8180. The line drawing of view B looked exactly what I was after. I had already ordered the 100% viscose fabric from Cotton Reel Studio as I thought this was in keeping with the trendy shirts I’m after. The fabric is no longer on their website but I’ve found it here for the same price that I bought it.
I made a toile out of an old bed sheet and it seemed to fit ok but it was very long. I lopped two inches of the pattern and cut out the lovely fabric.
I’m reasonably pleased with the shirt. It’s not constructed in the same way as any of the other shirts I’ve made. There is no yoke and there’s no button placket but a facing instead. The collar gave me a little bit of hassle and it’s not quite symmetrical which is annoying (I haven’t drawn Paul’s attention to that bit and he’s not said anything) but other than that it’s pretty good. I think the fabric is perfect for this style of shirt.
In truth, I should have sized down. It’s a little oversized, which isn’t the look I was after. If I sized down though that would have meant cutting out a small, the smallest size available. My husband is not small! Stupid Big Four pattern companies and their silly amounts of ease! See you next time!