Tag Archives: shirts

Christmas Shirts

A Shirt for my Sweetie

A Shirt for my Sweetie

The Muse of Creative Titles has deserted me, sorry. Well, really, there was pretty much zero creativity in this whole project. I made the two prime men in my life, my husband and my father, shirts for Christmas. It occurs to me that perhaps I should’ve made one for my brother, but, well, he’s in Australia. He gets heat for Christmas. Every year.

A shirt for my Father

A shirt for my Father

Since I was stressed for both time and mental energy, I followed the pattern, the Colette Negroni, to the point of slavishness. I made a size M for the hubs and a size L for my Dad. I was terrified that both would be too small, but both turned out pretty much perfect. I made zero pattern alterations (since I used the short-sleeve version. I hadn’t bought enough fabric for long sleeves for either version, because I am braindead; I would’ve lengthened the sleeves on both if I were doing long sleeves) and used fabric I had picked up ages ago, a grey and black linens with (probably unfortunately) a bit of stretch. And yes, plenty of that good ol’ linen wrinkliness. I had actually chosen the pattern and the fabric for my husband ages ago, as the short-sleeved version of the Negroni has the exact style details of a linen shirt my husband bought during our one and only (and very overwhelming) trip to New York, back in… well, we didn’t need passports to do it, let’s leave it at that. Which shirt he’s subsequently worn to death.

Collar closeup

Collar closeup. I did the little loop as per the pattern; I probably wouldn’t do it again. It doesn’t seem like it’d ever be functional.

Unfortunately, the odds of me getting actual modeled shots from either giftee are pretty much nil, so, you get stuck with boring hanger shots. Most of which are of the grey shirt for my Dad, since, well, photographing black.

Sleeve hem

Sleeve hem

I used an extra-long triple stitch for the topstitching.

Sleeve cap

Sleeve cap

I flat-felled the shoulder seams according to the pattern’s instructions. The first set turned out quite badly, the second set somewhat better. I’m not sure I’m completely in love with the method, but like I said, zero mental energy for researching creative techniques. It’s certainly adequate. (And I have a long history of attempting to flat-fell shirts and giving up in disgust and going with the serge-and-topstitch method.)

Front facing

Front facing

My Dad’s shirt had to feature one detail that my husband’s never do—a pocket. I didn’t do two out of fear of having to make them match, but I knew he’d want one to pop his glasses into. Which he did, within moments of putting on the shirt. So, win. I do like the method for finishing the top of the pocket, and the little triangles to secure the top corners. I should’ve used a template for the pocket, though, it was not as well-shaped as it should’ve been.

I made round-ended buttonholes, the kind a buttonholer puts in, using a setting on the Janome Memorycraft, just because I could. And, well, my buttonholer generally ends up being precisely not where I am most of the time. Like most of my sewing supplies these days, since they’re spread out across three different houses. /sigh.

And that, as they say, is that, and probably more detail than either shirt really deserves. I think they were both well-received, though. So I am satisfied. And I promise I’ll have something more fun to blog about soon! ūüôā




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A Dread Pirate Shirt

He said: why do you need to take photos?

I said: for the blog, of course.

He said: why do you need to blog this stuff?

I said: because I like to and it keeps me inspired.

He said: I don’t think you understand how much I hate having my picture taken.

I said: No photo, no more Tanit-made items.

He said: okay. I’d rather buy them than have to pose for photographs.

I said: you can’t buy this kind of stuff. That’s why I make it.

He said: I don’t care—I’ll order it off the internet, I’ll pay whatever it takes, if it means you don’t take photographs.

I took photographs. Possibly at gunpoint.

The glare I was receiving has been cropped for the protection of readers.

If I were sane, this would, of course, be the last things I ever make him. But it’s as much about scratching that itch to make him happy (and see him in some hawt clothes), so I will probably keep making him stuff.

At least he’s wearing this one. About the only time it wasn’t in use this weekend was when he was fishing, so if it looks a little rumpled, that’s why.

Why yes, we were out at the creek again.


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You know you have a winner when…

Mr. Isis's Shirt. Photographing black sucks.

… he’s wearing it before you even have a chance to put buttons on.

I finished Mr. Isis’s shirt, and realized I have no matched black shirt-type buttons. So it is still lacking in buttons and buttonholes. Although Sewing World, on my way home, has a fabulous selection of thread and zippers (and every gizmo known to seamstress), they have zilch for buttons. Well, there might be a few novelty ones. Nothing shirt-worthy, anyway. But the plan is to trek out to Fabricland for kids’ Hallowe’en costume fabric this weekend, so I should be able to remedy that.

None of which stopped Mr. Isis from throwing it on, tucking it in, and rolling up the sleeves, and wearing it around the house the last several evenings. ¬†And he does indeed look a little “Dread Pirate Roberts,” if I do say so myself. >:D

So yeah, I think this one, at least, is a winner…

You may now begin to place bets on how long it takes me to corral him into letting me photograph him in it.


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DETOUR! (Or, way too much sewing for my man)

White version from Summer 2010

While I wait for Mr. Isis to deign to try on the muslin for his coat again, I’m stalled on that front. Yes, again.

So, what should I do? Start Hallowe’en costumes? Well, yes, except that I haven’t got the fabric for them yet, and there’s nothing in stash suitable.

I know, I’ll start a shirt for him!

All y’all recall how well the last one went.

Why yes, I am off my rocker, why do you ask? Obviously Her Selfishness needs to start posting more, because I’m clearly suffering badly from unselfish-sewing-itis.

The shirt he actually wears...

In my defense, this is a different shirt pattern than the one I made for the Men’s Shirt Sewalong last winter, which is the one that has never been worn. In fact, it’s the poet-shirt pattern that I made Mr. Isis twice last summer. Those shirts, he wears to death¬†(just don’t let him see the pattern envelope or he’ll never wear any of those shirts again). The knit one is a strictly bumming-around-the-house shirt (and I wince a little every time I see it…), but the crinkle-voile version gets called on frequently for looking spiffy while out (and he does look spiffy in it, I will admit). And probably not long after I finished those two, he may have dropped the hint that he would love a black version.

And sometime last spring, I may even have gotten around to picking up a couple of metres of black cotton voile (which cost quite a lot. Plain black or white cotton voile is one of those fabrics that somehow just doesn’t quite make it to the discount racks I usually haunt…)

And for some reason, today I was itching to get it out of the stash.*

Tracing pattern

Anyway, I pulled it out, spent way too much time ironing (I even ironed my pattern!) and started cutting. Er, I also tried something new. I used my (kinda) new tailor’s chalk thingy to trace the patterns with weights, rather than pin them down. It works fairly well with this pattern, which I traced onto heavy paper last summer, but I think would be more annoying with tissue. The trick, I gather, is to cut to the inside of the chalk lines once you are cutting out. I’m not sure if it’s a lot faster than pinning, but, well, it was fun at least for a change. I think I will definitely consider giving it a try next time I make a pair of jeans, too, although I think it might be a bad idea with a more shifty, less cooperative fabric.

Jeans, incidentally, are another thing I want to make for my husband. It’s been itching at me for a long time (buying him RTW jeans is kind of like banging your head into the wall repeatedly), but when ElleC sent me this cool men’s jeans pattern back earlier in the summer the itch became almost unbearable. The only reason I haven’t tried to scratch it before now is he kept saying he wanted the coat more. Silly man. And I have plenty of denim in stash.

Stitched-on placket

Anyhoo, there’s not much progress to report yet—everything’s cut out and I did stitch on the front plackets and apply the continuous-lap placket (bias-strip placket), which I now realize is the cheesy, chintzy way of doing a shirt placket, in keeping with the “Learn to Sew” designation of this pattern. Ah, well. I think it works with this style, which has that kind of archaic/romantic/poet/cowboy sort of look.

Incidentally, I *think* I may prefer a cut-on button placket. The main reason this shirt doesn’t have one is that the original pattern isn’t actually buttoned all the way down. Which you can’t tell by looking at the pattern envelope—but that’s a whole ‘nother beef.

Continuous-lap plackets (rather fuzzy pic)

I’ll leave you with that. We just had the most fabulous Last-Day-of-September weather I think I’ve ever experienced in my life (daytime high of 26C) and tomorrow it’s not supposed to make it into double digits! Yay, spastic weather! So maybe there’ll be more stitching tomorrow…

*It has occurred to me that if we’re going to be moving next summer, it would behoove me to do some serious stash-whittling over the winter. This is rather saddening because I’ve really enjoyed building my stash, and it’s just now reaching a “mature” level where I can often have a loose concept in mind and shop the stash rather than having to run out to the fabric store. I really like this, honestly. It may be indulgent, but I like that freedom. As ElleC says, stash fabric, like excess patterns, is an important part of our fantasy lives.

In any case, it’s going to be very un-fantastic to box up.


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Tyo’s Too-Tight Top

Tyo's Too-Tight Shirt

So, just for the record, when you have a child who’s 140 cm tall, and the pattern is for a child 120 cm tall, even if the chest measurements match, it’s still going to take more than just lengthening the sleeves to get it to fit.

Just so you know.

Tyo being Tyo, the shoulders fit pretty much just right.

Now, before I get into the details too far, you will have noticed that the exuberant photo above is, above all, of craptacular quality. Guess what didn’t make it home from vacation? Yup, my camera charger. Blog, meet iPhone photos. IPhone photos, meet blog.* Here’s hoping my inlaws are better at mailing stuff than I and can be bothered to mail it back to me before we go back for Christmas…

Tyo's shirt. She is sad it doesn't fit the way it's supposed to. She'll probably wear it anyway.

For this reason I haven’t got much in the way of detail shots. I took them, they just didn’t turn out.

So, I’m feeling brutally mixed emotions about this project. Mostly because it didn’t fit. Mostly because the pattern wasn’t the right size in the first place (see first paragraph). Tyo’s also, to her father’s dismay, begun increasing in the chest measurement recently, so that may be playing a role here, too. On the other hand, it’s a pretty fun pattern (Lekala 7171), I think, a simple shirt with a striking detail on the back. Everything went together well, and having the MPB Men’s Shirt sewalong to reference pretty much makes up completely for the lack of instructions.


The execution is far from flawless, but it’s reasonable, I think. Topstitching on the Featherweight remains fun (although I’m using regular thread, not topstitching thread, so it wasn’t as fun as it could have been). I re-did the entire collar and stand, widening it by about 3cm and cutting out each side individually so that I could (almost) perfectly match all the stripes. Yay me.


I used cardboard templates for shaping both the pockets and the sleeve plackets. Getting and keeping the bias-cut pockets square and even was quite a pain. Washable glue-stick was helpful. On the other hand, all the stripes make for super-easy positioning on the front, so it’s not all bad. Oh, and you can just about see the minute side-bust dart in the pic above, to the left of the pocket. This took in about 1 cm total of width. The original pattern had vertical, double-ended darts below the bust, too, but as they were about .5 cm at their widest point, I chose not to bother with them.

Placket (not an iPhone photo)

The plackets. This is only my second set of plackets, and thus far both have been made out of flannelly material, which is probably not the easiest stuff for it. I’m reasonably happy with how they turned out, however, despite a certain amount of user error. This is the little-house-on-the-placket style of placket, I think. I say I think because instead of the little house with an addition on the side shape of the other pieces I’ve seen, this one had a double peak to the roof (AA instead of A_ if that makes any sense… I’m too lazy to make a real diagram). I managed, by re-reading Peter’s post, to refresh my memory enough to put the plackets on the right side facing in the right direction (although it was a bit chancy). The user error came in in not allowing enough extra length at the top for the little house-roof-thingy. If I’d paid more attention and made my slash the length recommended by the pattern, it would’ve been fine. It’s still fine, except the opening is about an inch too long (note I didn’t lengthen the placket when I lengthened the sleeve—although looking at the technical drawing I suspect that they just didn’t change the length of the placket when they graded the pattern, so it’s a bit long for the shirt to begin with) so the opening goes clear to the elbow. Also it could really use a button halfway along, but I forgot when I was putting in the buttonholes.

Back view. Very glad I added that extra width at the bottom.

The back looks pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself. As you can see, the fit across the shoulders is pretty good in the back, even though it won’t quite close in the front.

The back on Syo

It felt really good to do some real sewing again finally. I spent most of the morning (whatever wasn’t spent ferrying my father-in-law around and mediating among four little girls. Who don’t actually seem to fight any more than two little girls do, but man those preschoolers can CRY) in the sewing room. With a lot of company from my four-year-old niece (of the polkadot sundress fame) telling me about how she’d love to have this and this and that sewn for her.

Weird flash-face. Note horizontally-matching stripes on the front.

Out of curiosity, I got Syo to try it on (she is roughly 120 cm tall). It’s none too spacious on her either, although it does close, at least. The shoulder-fit is remarkably similar to on Tyo, though. It’s pretty obvious which of my kids got my broad shoulders.

Side view on Syo

Syo likes to flex and show off her muscles. They are pretty impressive, frankly.


Gratuitous pics, I know. But I couldn’t resist the weird foreshortening in this one.

Sleeve rolled up

Both kids agree that the sleeves are better rolled up, anyway. They just possibly might have inherited this from their father.

Sorry if the post is a bit incoherent and disjointed. The shock of going from zero to four children (two of them now on antibiotics) in the house in under a week still has me a bit flattened. Though I’m glad to have mine back and to have the chance to spend some serious time with my nieces. I just wish I could’ve spent more of the week enjoying them, rather than trying to work in, around, and between interruptions.

Oh, and just for the sake of completeness, the pattern is Lekala 7171, and here’s the technical drawing again:

Technical drawing

*My camera is a Sony point-n-shoot, which is the only calibre of camera I’m qualified to manipulate. Interestingly, my friend’s Sony smart-phone takes awesome pictures. Obviously Apple has not completely cornered the market on awesome. Which does little to reduce my overall iPod addiction, but anyway.


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Surveying the wreckage our children have made of the yard

I got pictures!

This shirt was finished at the end of February. And it’s taken me this long to wrangle him three steps out on the back deck to get something resembling decent pictures. Argh!

Anyhow. This was originally the muslin but (if you will recall), he was only willing to try it on for about three seconds and balked loudly at photos. But the fabric was nice—a flannelly old bedsheet—so I was able to convince him to let me finish it properly and photograph it. In theory. With promises of… well, I won’t go into that on a blog my mother reads.

So… the fit.

This is a “slim fitting” men’s shirt, with those interesting princess seams. I took the princess seams in each about 1/4″ around the waist (for a total 2″ reduction), since his actual waist is about 2″ less than the pattern’s waist measurement. This makes for a nice line that’s flattering without being overly tight.

Butterick 3364

I am actually squeeing a bit over how nicely the shoulders fit. No slope-shoulder adjustment required, apparently, which surprised me a bit since he’s plenty muscly in that area. Not going to complain, though.

I lengthened the sleeves by 2″. This was probably a bit much—I think 1″ would’ve been enough—but he, like me, is a bit ape-armed and thus prefers the overly-long sleeve to one that feels just not quite long enough.

Ma hunny!

I also omitted the pockets and collar roll, and just made the collar stand, as is his preference in shirts. The collar (stand) is in fact long enough to button up comfortably—I had to unpick the original and make a larger one—but between me buttoning up the shirt in the livingroom and getting him out to the deck he’d unbuttoned it.

A straight shot of the back to show the fit a bit better.

I wish I could say that this had become a go-to shirt, as I love the fit and how it looks on him. Unfortunately his main use of dress shirts is as comfy-lounging-around-the-house wear. The poet shirts I made him last summer are very well suited to this use, but a more fitted shirt like this is apparently a bit restrictive for such lounging.

I’m not sure when/if I’ll make another, not because I don’t love it, but if it’s going to be this much trouble to get a photo, AND he’s not going to wear the resulting shirt, well, my motivation is limited. I do have at least three fabrics in stash bought with a shirt for him in mind, though… I’ll have to think on it. One is a stretch linen, and I know he wears linen and the stretch might make it “comfy” enough to get some use.

Although when I tried to talk about the linen, he kept bringing up his lone, current, pretty-much-worn-to-death linen shirt, which has a camp collar and facing and back pleating pretty much identical to a short-sleeve Negroni.

So apparently I should’ve just made the Negroni.

I think I’ll go work on my springy coat now. Sewing for men seems to bring out my homicidal tendencies…


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Lydia… progress

Lydia, v. 2: pulled down

I was actually hoping to title this post “Lydia—Redemption” but… well, we are not quite there yet. However, v. 2 is a world better than v. 1. In case you need the reminder, we’re discussing the Lydia pattern from Burdastyle.com, my only paid downloadable pattern to date. $1, woo big spender.

I cut a straight size 36 (my usual Burda size) this time. I also lowered the neckline quite a chunk, since it’s quite high in the original (especially since I use a bound neckline rather than a facing, so there’s no seam-allowance taken in). My binding isn’t great, by the way, but it looks decent in the photos so it will probably pass muster.

This was a vast improvement of fit, especially in the shoulders. I’m also quite happy with how my cap version of the sleeve

Lydia, v. 2: after moving around. Note the looseness between bust and shoulder.

turned out, since I basically had no idea what I was doing (but no way in hell did I have enough fabric left for another try at the long-sleeve version.) They are a little snug—maybe I could spread the pattern a touch next time.

But—and there’s always a but, isn’t there?—there are still some changes to make. Most seriously, the neckline gapes if not pulled way down: when wearing it the whole thing creeps up until it looks more like the picture on the left. This bring the neckline up to a more comfortable point (yes, I lowered it a wee bit too much, even for my dubious modesty). I am going to try the “cheater” method of just taking a tuck out of the pattern along the neckline to bring it in about 1/2″. Another possibility is that it’s the tightness of the cap-sleeve that’s pulling it up; I really don’t think the entire armscye region needs to be shortened (if the problem is the sleeve cap, I will still need to raise the neckline). The bust-to-waist portion of the shirt does need to be shortened; the narrowest point of the curve is definitely a good inch below my (rather high) narrowest point. This also doesn’t help with the riding up. I also brought in the sides a good

Lydia, v. 2: back

half inch each (for a total of 2″ less around the whole shirt, so that’s another alteration to make.

The back view looks pretty good aside from the usual puddling at my sway-back. I’m not sure it’s actually possible to fix this without doing wonky things like adding back seams, so I’m not going to sweat it in a knit. Every other shirt I’ve worn in the last 10 years does the same thing.

All it needs now is a hem!

By the way, that’s 2 shirts from 1m of this fabric, which cost about $8… even if I include the cost of the Lydia pattern and notions, that’s still less than $5 a shirt. ¬†I’m not going to get much better than that, even at the thrift store. And the time it takes to sew up is not much longer than a shopping trip, either. This one was cut and sewn in about 2 hours before bedtime last night—including piecing together the pattern.


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McCall's 7123

The Boy (aka Hubby, aka Sweetums, aka Pookie, aka Pain In My Butt) wants his shirt by the end of the day. This after barely mentioning the idea of me making him a shirt at all.

So far the fabric is washed and partly ironed and the pattern is traced and hopefully re-sized properly.

Making the blue and/or white version (gathery with a round collar and no doofy panel in the front) in a white crinkle cotton voile. Though, I didn’t realize from the illustrations, the shirt is not a full button-up. I will be making it into one, however. Wish me luck!

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