Shirtmaking #2: The finished shirt (finally)!

Guys? Guys. I made a shirt! From a pattern I drafted myself!

I’m pretty excited.

Check out that beautiful flat felled side seam and narrow hem (this photo is of the inside of the shirt).

Is it perfect? Goodness no. It has some issues, for sure. But for a first attempt, I’d say it was a success.

More pretty flat felled seams. This is where the side seam and armhole seam meet (again, on the inside of the shirt).

Most importantly, The Boyfriend likes it. :) I can tell because he’s worn it several times, with no convincing from me. He actually wore it to work the day after I finished it!


(As usual, excuse the terrible photography. If I get some better shots of the shirt in action soon, I’ll post ’em.)

I’m still debating whether to add pockets. And if so, with or without pocket flaps. Opinions?

Anyway, here are the gory details:

1. The custom pattern drafting/draping methods in David Coffin’s book really do work. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this ended up fitting! There are a few tweaks I want to make next time, though — mostly lengthening the shirt body a little, lengthening the sleeves, and making the cuffs a little narrower (I had to make these cuffs wider than I planned after discovering I’d cut the sleeve pieces a little too short).

The sleeve plackets turned out pretty well though, if I do say so myself.

2. This fabric is really nice and soft, but cutting it out was a royal pain. I don’t know if it was this way when it arrived from Mood, or if it somehow got stretched out when I pre-washed it, but the vertical and horizontal stripes were not at perfect right angles to each other. They are woven stripes, not printed, but somehow the warp and weft threads of the fabric just weren’t perpendicular, and no amount of ironing completely solved the problem. This meant that I had to choose which was more important — perfect vertical stripes, or perfectly level horizontal stripes. I chose perfect vertical stripes, but this made matching up the side seams and the center front…difficult. You can see that the front button band didn’t end up matching at the center front perfectly. In hindsight I wish I’d cut it on the bias to avoid that problem. Ah well.

A view of the collar. Not perfect, but pretty good, I think!

3. Another issue I only noticed after it was too late to fix: I cut the back upside down. That is, the pattern goes the opposite way on the back as it does on the front. I’m somewhat reluctant to bring this up because I honestly don’t think anyone would ever notice if they didn’t already know–it’s practically impossible to tell. But I want to be honest with y’all, so…now you know. Call it a design feature?

4. As far as construction goes, I used a combination of David Coffin’s methods and Peter’s instructions from his men’s shirt sewalong. Peter’s methods are generally simpler and seemed to give perfectly adequate results, so I mainly stuck with those. I’m planning to write up instructions on exactly what I did so I can replicate it all next time. Maybe I’ll post those instructions up here at some point.

I’m pleased at how this turned out, but also pleased to be done with it. I’m working on a quick and simple project for myself at the moment — sort of a sewing palate cleanser. But after that I’m looking forward to making another shirt, and correcting all the mistakes I made this time!

Have you made a men’s shirt? Any tips? Let me know if the comments. :)


One thought on “Shirtmaking #2: The finished shirt (finally)!

  1. Pingback: Blue Plaid Shirt | Umbellularia Designs

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