Friday, 23 May 2014

Sewing a shirt

A long time ago, when I was about 18, I used to sew clothes all the time - I was the kind of square who preferred making things to buying them! The only thing that's changed since then is how much free time I have to make those things! So it's been a rare event, these last 20 years, for me to make any clothes (with the exception of my wedding dress and some dressing-up costumes for the kids). However I made another exception last year, and made my husband a shirt, probably inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee and their shirt-making task.


I ordered traditional cotton Oxford weave shirting from Acorn Fabrics, and the husband helped choose the print that would go inside the yoke, collar and cuffs (Hanky Panky in blue).


A man's shirt isn't a difficult thing to sew, if you have plenty of time. Fitting is usually straightforward, especially for a smart/casual shirt - as long as you get the chest size right and the arms the same length, it should fit fine as it's not a close-fitting garment. You can adjust arm and back length if necessary before cutting out the garment, but I don't see any need to make a toile (although if you've never applied a collar and collar band before, it may be worth cutting these out from scrap fabric for a little practice sew).


The pattern I used for this shirt was McCalls 2447. I wanted a pattern with a full back yoke - some very casual shirt patterns leave this out - a collar band, and sleeve plackets (that's the split that let's the cuff open wide). This pattern seems like one that will look great made up in many different fabrics and styles, so I intend to use it again and again.


Mike was very happy with his finished shirt, and it's had quite a few trips out of the wardrobe. The cotton Oxford is a lovely heavy weight, although it does need ironing! I finished all the seams as flat-felled, so there are no raw edges inside, and top-stitched everything to give the shirt a professional finish. Very enjoyable to make, and I love seeing Mike wearing something I've made him!

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