It feels like it’s been a while since I sewed something for the husbeast, so I thought I ought to treat him to a new shirt using the Liberty cotton I bought (especially for that purpose) on my trip to Goldhawk Road last year.
There’s just not as much choice in patterns for guys as there is for women… which is so bizarre given that there’s just as many men as women on the planet and they all need clothes too ?? I’m actually considering doing a ‘menswear #MakeNine’ for 2019, to try to sew a few different things for him – I feel like I get stuck in a rut of shirt and jackets (which don’t get me wrong, isn’t a bad thing – the shirts get worn for work and he doesn’t actually have that many coats… yet) but I really want to try to make jeans, trousers, and maybe some casual tees too.
For this shirt, I’ve used my trusty vogue v8759 (you’ve GOT to ignore those 90’s style photos on the cover ?) which is a great pattern – and it was the very first shirt pattern I ever used – but I’ve made the decision to only use it for the short sleeve version moving forward. It’s a great fit in the body, and the short sleeves look good too – but the long sleeves let it down.
They are two-piece sleeves, and the way the placket is formed leaves you no way of finishing or enclosing the raw edges. I like to French seam the insides of my shirts, and there’s no way I’m gonna leave raw edges (or worse – overlocked edges ? – oh, the horrors) showing.
The pattern that is the current contender for the potential replacement is Vogue 9220. The sleeves on this are one-piece (similar to my Vogue/DKNY V1462 shirt) with a placket that’s installed by cutting a slash in the sleeve, which means you can sew nicely enclosed edges ?
With the V9220 you get three different fit options – standard, tailored and slim. The back of V8759 is in four panels, rather than two, so I’ll lose some of my topstitching joy, but I could always just graft the V9220 sleeves onto the V8759 rather than make the whole thing ?
I do however really want to try making the body of the V9220 purely for those little godets at the side seams on views A and B ? I mean, they’re almost as cute as a fluffy puppy. Almost.
Shirts tend to be quite loose on the petite husband, but having not sewn the pattern before I’m a tad worried that the slimmest version (view C) will be *too* slim ? So that leaves the ‘standard’ view A and the ‘tailored’ view B, but the difference between the two is just the darts on the back, so I might make the ‘standard’ version and then if it is a little baggy around the middle I can put the darts in to take it down to the ‘slim’ fit.
I think that this new pattern is a lot more formal – one of the collar templates allows you to install those little collar-pointy-things that you get in posh shirts. I don’t think I’ll ever make that version (unless we get invited to tea with the queen or something) but it’s nice to have the option ??
You could also, if you wanted, make the fancy turn-up cufflink-cuffs, but again – this is just a smidge too fancy-pants for us.
I have actually been somewhat proactive and have already traced the shirt pieces, and I even have the fabric too – I have some Liberty cotton for the trial run (top), and some very special Liberty silk satin for the real deal (bottom):
The silk is actually the same print as the shirt I made for myself, but in a different colourway:
It’s quite a rare print now, which is a shame because I think it’s, like, my favourite Liberty print EVER. I do still have a couple of precious metres snaffled away, which I’ve recently cut into to make an Ogden cami and a short sleeve Melilot, but there’s still some left to make that one pattern that it’s just *PERFECT* for which I won’t discover for another five years. Shaukat have sold out of the pink/green colourway, but they still have some of the blue here if you fancy some.
But annnnnnyway – I made the thing! The neon squiggly shirt thing!
I think I’ve finally got the whole ‘short-sleeved-shirt’ game nailed now – the fit is good, and the finish is good. French seams all round, bias tape on the sleeves and hem.
I’ve even treated myself to one of those expanding-sewing-gauge things which helps you get buttons evenly spaced without having to suffer those flimsy strips of pattern paper that require you to somehow pierce a hole in so that you can actually make your markings. I felt this tool was needed after it became apparent that the buttons on this very shirt are too few in number – the husband hulked out of the shirt on his way to work, popping (and losing) the button at boob height – and then spent the whole day giving the office an eyeful of his man-chest, as there was about six inches between the remaining buttons either side.
So on future shirts, the number of buttons is going to be increased to take the pec-strain, which I’m hoping my fancy new tool will help me with.
Can we just all take a moment to appreciate the pattern matching going on here plz? I thought I’d get away with not really bothering to match it, but the husbeast’s OCD kicked in and he insisted on it being matched. Honestly, such a diva ??♀️
Ok so it’s like a few millimetres out, but I’m pretty damn pleased with myself ??
I’m slowly getting better at lining up the collar and collar stand so that everything meets evenly at the front, and it’s not all wonky-donkey and over to one side. I’ve learnt to mark the centre front lines on the collar stand, and line these up (at both the bottom AND the top of the stand) with the centre front marking on the placket. Before, I wouldn’t bother marking the centre fronts, because I thought – ‘it’s bloody obvious where centre front is – it’s in the middle, at the front. DUH. Why do I need to bother marking it?’
But then after several shabby attempts at collars that were a little squiffy, I started to think that maybe, just MAYBE, they had put these markings on the pattern for a reason. Turns out, they have (huh. Who’d have thought?). When you baste the collar to the collar stand, make sure that the ends of the collar are on the centre front markings of the collar stand. If you have to clip the collar (or stand) to make them line up in between the markings, do that. Don’t be afraid.
Then, because you’ll have lined up centre front of the plackets AND the edges of the collar with centre front of the collar stand, everything is going to line up nicely and even the top button is going to sit perfectly centrally in the gap between the two collar edges. Like a boss.
It took me probably like ten shirts to figure all that out, so if you’ve been disheartened with an attempt at making a shirt – KEEP GOING. The very first shirt I ever made was bloody awful – all over the show – but with each one I made, my skills improved.
If you’re struggling with sleeves, my advice would be to set them in flat – which means to attach them to the shirt *before* you’ve sewn the side seams of the body OR the sleeve together. Honestly, this is so much easier than trying to do it the way Vogue instruct you. You’ll still want to use ALL THE PINS though.
I get a certain satisfaction every time I finish a men’s shirt… they are one of my favourite things to make. Perhaps it’s because the garment is intended for someone else – it makes me really happy to see my favourite human (willingly) wearing something that I crafted with my own hands.
I’m already thinking ahead to Autumn/Winter sewing – partly because Autumn is my favourite season, and partly because this current heatwave is just actual, literal hell – and planning out all the Liberty fabrics I want to use for long sleeved versions (which give me a chance to practice my sleeve plackets which are mostly a bit of a shambles on the inside ?). Last time I went into Liberty – a few weeks ago – they had a sale on and I came out with *cough* a reasonable amount given the circumstances *cough cough* OH LOOK THERE’S A PRETTY BIRD IN THE BACKGROUND OF THE PICTURES LET’S FOCUS ON THAT INSTEAD ?
If Liberty ever stop producing their Tana Lawn range, I’m totally buggered ?
And finally, for your viewing pleasure (and for a break from pictures of me for once), here follows many pictures of the Handsome Husbeast in his fabulous shirt – including a collage of him trying to prat about dancing in the street while I wanted to take serious pictures. FFS. ?
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… I made the long sleeved version – now it’s time for the sleeveless! The Deer And Doe Bruyere shirt strikes back ? Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!