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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.

May 18, 2017

Draping a Knit Dress with a Twist


For my final project in Draping IV at FIT, due this coming Saturday, I have to design both a dress and a jacket.

May 11, 2017

Self-drafted Pants for My FIT Menswear Patternmaking Class


Not much of a sketch, I know, and it's on the back of an envelope (above), but this is the design I came up with as one of my final projects for the menswear patternmaking class I've been taking at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology).  It's due next week.

May 8, 2017

Listen to My Podcast Interview!


Friends, I'm thrilled to share with you a podcast interview that Sandi Hazlewood, who runs the excellent Crafty Planner blog, recently did with me.

Among other things you'll learn how I taught myself to sew, the origin of MPB Day, and when I was born -- not 1984 as is commonly believed.

You can tune into it here.  And do check out Sandi's other podcasts here.

Enjoy and have a great day, everybody!

May 3, 2017

MPB DAY 2017 -- SAVE THE DATE!


Readers, it's really happening and it's gonna be yuge!

Apr 23, 2017

Draping and Patternmaking Class Updates


I think you know that this semester I've been taking two classes at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT):  Draping IV (I skipped III but will probably take it the next time it's offered) and menswear patternmaking.

Apr 12, 2017

Brick-and-Mortar Shopping -- YEA or NAY?


Readers, when's the last time you shopped in a department store?

Apr 9, 2017

Lappin or Lanvin? Modeling the Embroidered Cotton Voile Shirt!


Readers, I've just completed my embroidered cotton voile shirt, which I made from an early Sixties Butterick pattern.

Check out the entire photo shoot here!

Apr 7, 2017

"Here, Kitty, Kitty" -- Peter's One-Year Anniversary Janome REVIEW!


Friends, I've been eagerly anticipating writing this review -- and could have written it much earlier -- but I wanted to wait a full year.

Mar 28, 2017

Simply the Vest


Readers, there is a certain kind of man who looks really good in a vest.

Mar 24, 2017

My Self-Draped Knit Dress: a Work in Progress


A day of draping and non-stop sewing -- my favorite kind of day!

Mar 21, 2017

Learning How to Drape in Knit


In my Saturday morning draping class (Draping IV), we're currently working in knit and I'm finding it very challenging.

Mar 16, 2017

My Jockey Journey or "The Crapification of Men's Undershirts"


Readers, today I need to get something off my chest and I don't mean my undershirt.

Mar 6, 2017

My Self-Drafted Men's Shirt + Kenzo Klunker?


Here's the shirt I designed last week for my menswear patternmaking class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

Mar 2, 2017

GLAMOUR ALERT -- Lenore Models My Yellow Crepe Ensemble!


Readers, a special treat!

My beautiful friend Lenore (who, among her many talents, is a handbag designer), has modeled my wool crepe ensemble, my final project for a draping class I took at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) last fall.

You can view the results on the Mood Sewing Network here.  

Feb 25, 2017

NAME THAT PATTERN -- Comeback Edition!


Readers, it was time.

The sewing blogosphere hasn't been the same since I retired NAME THAT PATTERN, the Internet's favorite sewing pattern game.  So I'm delighted to report that we're back, and with straighter teeth, fuller lips, and a noticeably firmer jawline,

Feb 23, 2017

FULL FRONTAL: Peter Models the Camo Shirt Jacket!


Readers, as promised, the BIG REVEAL.

Check out my new camo jacket over at the Mood Sewing Network here!

Feb 21, 2017

More Camo Capers!



Remember this jacket I made last August?

Feb 16, 2017

1920's Butterick Men's Shirt Pattern - The Muslin


Yesterday I realized that I'd traced the wrong size for the Japanese shirt pattern I'd intended to make:  I'd traced a Medium but I actually needed a Large.

Feb 13, 2017

New Sewing Project, New Pattern, New Sewing Machine!


Well, more like a new-to-me sewing machine.

Feb 9, 2017

SNOW LEOPARD! -- Michael Models the Animal Print Shirt


Let it never be said that Michael isn't an intrepid model!

Feb 6, 2017

Feb 1, 2017

First Fabric Haul of 2017


Readers, it's been a while since I've shared a fabric shopping haul with you.
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