Archive for the ‘Sewing For Men’ Category

Christmas Shirt

Christmas this year was very nice, and the spouse wore the Christmas shirt three times.  He wore it to the office on Christmas Eve, to the festivities that night with my side of the family, and to Christmas dinner the next day.  It was a big success.


DSC00979What’s next?  Unfortunately, it’s cleaning up the sewing room which got a little out of hand during the Christmas rush.

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Christmas Sewing

Some years I have sewn a lot of gifts, but not this year.  The only thing I sewed this year was a Christmas shirt for my husband.  His Christmas shirt had to be Christmasy but not too cutesy, so the hunt was on for the proper fabric.  Here’s what was eventually chosen:

DSC00943It has a navy background so will work with his navy flannel shirt if it is too cold for short sleeves.  I finished it up yesterday and hope to get a picture of it on him next week.  While shopping for other novelty shirt fabrics, this one also came home with me:
DSC00944Before I fell back into shirtmaking, I was busy making a handbag for my MIL.  She had asked for one a few months ago and drew out the size she wanted.  I managed to finish up the bag so that she could get it on her birthday.

DSC00941Here it is half done.  I put in lots of pockets and a zipper under the flap for safety.  We measured the strap on her to get the right length.DSC00942The bag is made of black denim, but I wanted it to be easy for her to see what was in the bag, so the lining is a light color.  The pockets are lined with scraps from the Route 66 shirt I made my husband.  I don’t have much of a picture of the finished bag, but here is one of my MIL carrying the bag downtown when we were on our way to the church Christmas concert:

Night Of The Christmas Concert At The Presbyterian ChurchYou can barely see it in this picture, but she obviously likes it, so mission accomplished.

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Father’s Day Shirts

This must be a record for sewing up new fabric that came into the house instead of letting it marinate in the stash for years.  These fabrics were A’s gift to her dad to be made up into shirts by me.  First, the Route 66 Shirt:


DSC00610This shirt was made from the Victoria Jones 210 pattern.  The next shirt used the vintage Simplicity 5029 pattern:



For some reason I had hardly any fabric left after cutting out the blue shirt, so I decided not to try and match the pocket to the print.  Instead, I made the pocket show California, our state, and Wisconsin, the state my husband’s mother comes from.


My husband is really loving all these new shirts, but I am burned out on shirts now and will have to sew other things for awhile.  Actually, I have at least four projects finished that I haven’t photographed yet.  I need to set up Madame Merp, the duct tape dummy, and have a photo shoot.

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Shirt Pocket Fun

I read somewhere about someone carefully matching the print when they applied the shirt pocket to the shirt front.  I decided to give it a try.  First, I marked the position of the pocket on the cut-out shirt front, then took it to a xerox machine and copied it.  Then I traced the pocket pattern onto the xerox copy of the printed shirt front.  I ended up with a pattern piece with the print on it which I could now place on the fabric matching up the print position and cut out a pocket.  Here’s the end result, which is cool but which was, I have to admit, a major hassle:






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I am using cotton-covered polyester thread to sew the shirts, and the buttonholes in this thread were not the best.  The stitching on the right-hand side of the buttonhole was a lot looser than the left side and sometimes the center space was way too small.


When I looked at a commercially-made shirt, it looked like they were using a much thinner thread.  I decided to try some Maxi-Lock thread in both the bobbin and top threading but using the same needle and buttonhole foot.  Here’s the buttonhole produced:


Much better!

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Been sewing up a storm here.  Here are the first two husband shirts modeled by the man himself during the cool early morning hours (the thermometer said 110 yesterday afternoon).

DSC00550This is the Victoria Jones Hawaiian shirt 210 pattern.  This pattern has lots of great ready-to-wear features like the folded front bands and french seams.  The side vents are nicely drafted, too.  I changed the seam allowances on the collars and neckline and used the felled seam technique that I mentioned earlier (http://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/2010/10/tutorial-felled-shoulder-seam-technique.html).  He really likes this shirt and has already worn it a lot.


DSC00554This shirt, a Simplicity vintage pattern, is made from a length of Hawaiian cotton fabric I found at a local thrift store a few years ago.  I had barely enough for the shirt, but look how nicely the pattern accidentally matched across the front!  I felled the seams on the sleeves using the regular 5/8 seam allowances the pattern calls for which required a bit of hand basting, but I was pleased at how well it turned out.  These sleeves have a higher sleeve cap than more modern shirt patterns so I wasn’t sure it would work.  I grafted the side vents from the Victoria Jones pattern onto this pattern.

Here’s the vintage Simplicity pattern which will now be a TNT for the spouse’s more casual sport shirts:


Here are the new fabrics we have for future shirts.  Two of them were Father’s Day gifts from A, and the other is the one I found.

Fullscreen capture 7262014 105115 AM

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Shirt One

The first shirt seems to be a success.  I used a dark gray and white striped cotton shirting fabric from the deep deep stash. The spouse was pleased with it, and he wore it for our getaway to Reno this last weekend.  I thought lowering the neckline and adjusting the collar and stand would be a difficult alteration but it turned out to be easy.  All in all, the shirt fits really well, and he likes it.  Now I can start sewing the fun fabric.


While in Reno we went to Mill End Fabrics which is a big warehouse full of sewing notions and fabrics.  My brain gets overwhelmed when presented with such a huge variety of selections, so I only got one piece of Hawaiian fabric for another shirt.  When we were in a different department store in town, I looked at the upscale shirts for men to see how they were put together.  The shirts looked nearly identical in construction and design to the pattern I used, but  I liked the nice neat buttonholes on those shirts so I think I will try using a thinner thread for my next buttonholes so they don’t look so hefty.   I’m going to try Maxi Lock thread on the next shirt’s buttonholes.

I tried the new-to-me method of sewing on the collar and stand (http://behindtheseams.wordpress.com/2006/05/24/collar-on-stand-part-1/) but I just couldn’t make it work for me and had to go back to my usual method which requires a lot of hand sewing.  I’ll have to try the new method again in a thinner fabric.  Thinking about the collar and stand made me remember some UFOs that are cut out and waiting to be sewn.  They are women’s shirts with short sleeves, so I found one and am now almost finished with the first one.  These shirts have a one-piece collar and stand combo.

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First Fitting

The shirt was finished except for the buttons and the spouse tried it on.  Here’s my list of alterations:

1.  Add width to the fronts (About 1 7/16″ on each side.  I don’t know why the two fronts added together were so much narrower than the back.

2.  I traced the side vent wrong, so fix that.

3.  Change seam allowances of the armholes and the sleeve top to try  this technique:


UPDATE:  I’m going to be using this on all his shirts because it looks great and is fairly easy to do.

4.  Enlarge neckline slightly and lower front neckline 1″.

5.  Enlarge collar and stand patterns so they fit the new neckline.

6.  The pocket is a bit small so use the pocket from another pattern.

I like to get up early and do the finicky pattern work because then the day starts and it’s like it never even happened.  Also, it’s cooler in the sewing room then.

This week has involved lots of time in the kitchen.  I made plum jam, apricot jam, pickle relish, and three big batches of pesto.  Not bad for a drought year.  We used to have a big apricot tree, but it blew down in a storm about 20 years ago.  This is the first year we have had enough apricots to make a batch of jam in a long time.


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Shirts and Plums



This is as far as I have gotten on the shirt.  I did make the spouse try it on and discovered that men cling to the idea of what size they wear for years without really considering that it might have changed.  It turns out that the neckline he had in college is not the same neckline he has now, go figure.  He had been complaining that he can’t wear a tie with the shirts he bought recently but rather than considering that it was his neck that had changed, he thought something was wrong with the shirts.  The rest of this shirt fits well so I am reading up on how to make the neckline larger while leaving the rest of the shirt pretty much the same.  It doesn’t look like the alteration is too hard, just cutting down the neckline slightly and then making the collar and stand pieces longer so that they fit.

The reason not much sewing is going on around here is that everything is ripe all at once.  We picked the plums (by ‘we’, I mean ‘he’) and I made jam.  Then the apricots were ready and I made jam out of those, too. Then the cucumbers decided to produce 8 lbs in one day, so I made the pickle relish for next year.  Next up will be the applesauce and the pesto.


In between bouts of preserving, the debris left from our new shelves and the reorganization of the sewing room is gradually being reduced.  The living room is starting to look like a room instead of a storage unit, and the number of boxes in the house is much smaller.  It really is wonderful to have all my cookbooks and sewing books in plain view and easy to get to.

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