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Aug 20, 2017

A New Shirt for Michael


Friends, for me shirtmaking never gets old -- I love it!

Last week I sewed a shirt for Michael out of some fabric he chose at Mood a few weeks ago.  It's a beautiful cotton ribbon print, not your run-of-the-mill shirting.  Someone on Instagram said it was a Liberty of London design but I haven't been able to substantiate her claim. (Anybody know?)  It certainly wasn't sold as Liberty nor was it priced as Liberty.  Here in NYC,  Liberty for London Tana Lawn sells for more than $35 per yard. 

I wanted to add a contrasting inside collar and cuffs but I wasn't sure what fabric to use for my contrast.  I actually went to the Salvation Army in search of an old shirt I could cut up!



In the end, I used a remnant from my stash, a creamy yellow polished cotton.  It's not a perfect match to the pale yellow in the ribbon print but close enough.   A solid provides a resting place for the eyes when a fabric print is as busy as this one is.




I made Michael's shirt with a vintage men's shirt pattern, Butterick 5579 in a Size 38-40.  I often am asked why I prefer vintage men's shirt patterns and it's basically because they're easy to find on Etsy and eBay, are generally very cheap to purchase, usually single-sized, and are very well drafted.  They also tend to have much less wearing ease than many contemporary shirt patterns -- at least the ones that were in print when I started sewing in 2009.  (An exception is Vogue 8889, which is quite fitted.)


I made just a few changes to the pattern.  For some reason the sleeve calls for a continuous lap placket instead of the standard one, so I changed it.  You usually see continuous lap plackets on women's blouses but they do turn up in men's shirt patterns from time to time.


The pattern is drafted with a straight hem but I wanted a slightly shaped one (good for tucking in but still nice-looking worn out).  Finally, I lengthened the sleeve roughly an inch.

Here's a little sewing tip.  When you make your collar, before turning right sides-out, make sure you trim as close as you can to the corners.  You want to remove seam allowance fabric that, when the collar is turned, won't have anywhere to go and will create lumps.  I hope that makes sense!


I shape the corner with a bamboo point turner but if I need to sharpen the point more, I take a straight pin to the corner and gently -- GENTLY -- pull out a bit of the point fabric (without breaking the seam open of course).   This method works great -- I learned it from my tailoring professor at FIT -- but it takes some practice.


I really like the shirt on Michael: the soft pastel colors flatter him.


There are a lot more photos from our shirt shoot over on the Mood Sewing Network, if you care to take a look.

One of these moons I need to do another men's shirt sew-along but I'm not sure when that will be.  You'll find many tips on my original sew-along (which you can link to over on the right side of the blog) as well as in the archives under "Fashion Institute Classes."  I learned a lot about shirt making when I took a class at FIT called Menswear Sewing.  The info is all there but you might have to read a few extra blog posts to find it.


Some of you may also be interested to know that I sewed this on my Janome Hello Kitty machine.  It does a very solid job.


 And that's it.

Have a great day, everybody!

My mom at our local greenmarket yesterday.  She's well and still cooking up a storm!

Aug 17, 2017

Bridal Update + August Shirtmaking!


Friends, with all the MPB Day excitement, you may have forgotten about my wedding gown projects.

Aug 13, 2017

MPB Day 2017 -- It Just Gets Awesomer!



Friends, it's hard to believe that yesterday was the seventh annual MPB Day -- we all just get younger and younger!

Aug 7, 2017

Countdown to MPB Day!


Friends, is it possible that MPB Day 2017, scheduled for this coming Saturday, August 12th, is tomorrow?!

Jul 31, 2017

Sewing Again with Kenneth D. King!


Readers, once again I have had the great privilege of participating in a New York City Sit-and-Sew hosted by couturier and master sewing instructor Kenneth D. King!

Jul 25, 2017

Sewing with Linen and Liberty of London


Long-time readers of this blog will know that I'm a big fan of combining contrasting fabrics in my shirt projects, especially coordinating prints (or stripes with prints).

Jul 19, 2017

Grow Your Instagram: MY TOP TEN TIPS!




Readers, I am guessing that most of you are familiar with Instagram.

Jul 7, 2017

NAME THAT PATTERN - Happy Birthday, Pierre Cardin Edition!


Readers, did you know that Pierre Cardin was born on this day, July 7, a mere 95 years ago?

Jul 4, 2017

Peter's Patriotic Pants!


Readers, it's been a while since I've sewn something totally frivolous and fun.

Jun 30, 2017

Two Wedding Gowns!


Readers, fasten your seat belts: I've undertaken two wedding gown projects and I hope you'll come along for the hopefully not-too-bumpy ride!

Jun 19, 2017

$75 for a Tank Top? Transparency Pricing -- YEA or NAY?


Readers, if you're like me, you're very aware that the cost of ready-to-wear clothes isn't always reflective of the quality.

Jun 16, 2017

Fabric Shopping with a Decisive Aussie!


Friends, as much as I like to fabric shop alone, I always have more fun shopping with others, even when I don't purchase anything.

Jun 6, 2017

Self-Drafted Floral Linen Pants!


So last week I sewed up a pair of pants using the pants pattern I drafted for myself in my menswear patternmaking class at FIT, which ended last month.

I learned a lot!

May 28, 2017

Something Old That's Something New: Simplicity 4971!


Simplicity 4971, which dates back to the very early 1960's, is one of those vintage men's patterns that proliferate on sites like Etsy and eBay and looks pretty unremarkable.
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