Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve made a tutorial or really written anything. Turns out life is busy and I say yes to too many things. However one of those things I said yes to turned out pretty awesome and I wanted to share it with you all.
A close friend had asked me over a year ago to make him this shirt:
I told him that it was possible to make and thought about how to make it, but was consumed with other projects. Time got away from us and almost a year passed before I looked at it again.
My reservations were that I don’t really make much men’s wear. I’ve made my brother an 19th century suit and a few odd men’s items, but that’s not really my thing. I enjoy making frilly gowns and feathery costumes, but a shirt?
Well it pleasantly surprised me.
I started with this Simplicity pattern and started modifying it to mimic this shirt. A few changes I made were to line the sleeves, neck and tabs with a paisley fabric like in the picture above and the personal changes I made were to make french seams instead of leaving a raw edge everywhere (seriously french seams are amazing– they don’t add a lot of labor and make it look so much better).
an example of the finished french seam– this is the interior of the sleeve/shoulder
I ordered the red striped fabric from Etsy and it’s a duck fabric so it’s slightly heavy, but will be a nice weight for fall/winter wearing. The blue paisley I just got at Hancocks (before it went out of business *sob*) and that’s just a regular blue denim. I couldn’t find a denim with the right size stars so I bought a oil based fabric paint pen and a stencil. This however allowed me to place the stars in exactly the spot I wanted them in without having to think too much while cutting out and sewing. I put 2 layers of paint on them and heat set them. They might could have used 4 or 5 coats to get them as white, but they were still soft with 2 coats and I liked the faded look.
Here are a few photos of the process:
As you can see the red stripes are a little larger and farther apart than the original, but this was the closest I could find. The paisley is also a little more blue than the original, but it was what was available. If you live in a larger city than I do or have a better local fabric store (which I don’t really have one at all now– thanks Hancock’s) you might can find a better fabric, but this is what I had. I top stitched as much as I could — all shoulder seams, around the cuffs, etc, and I finished it with brass snaps. I’ve never really worked with snaps before and these turned out well, but I had to have my husband squeeze them together completely. I guess I should hit up the gym a little more.
Overall it was a pretty simple construction although the fabric was pretty expensive. Total cost for this shirt (fabric and snaps only) was around $70 so if you have to pay for labor on top of that this all of a sudden becomes a very expensive, yet very patriotic shirt.
However my friend loves it and I fully expect him to get every penny’s worth out of it!
If that’s not a happy face I don’t know what is!
A few pattern notes:
This pattern was well put together and easy to follow. However as I stated above I added the french seams because raw edges drive me crazy. You could also use a serger, but although I have a nice serger I don’t like to finish clothes that will be worn often with a serger.
So take your time, finish those edges– believe me it’s worth it.