The Fabric: Shirting cotton, from Tessuti. I was so delighted with the quality of this fabric when it arrived, that I almost kept it for myself. Lucky for him, this colour looks terrible on me. The fabric is a pale white / grey colour with tiny, short black lines woven through it. He tells me that it feels great and is very comfortable to wear.
The Pattern: I made a pattern off a Ben Sherman shirt that fits him pretty well. I don't normallly like making patterns off clothing, but this shirt had a small grid pattern on it, which made it easy to check distances and grainlines etc. I pinned out some fitting changes (whilst he was playing guitar...can you imagine? Why can't men stand still for 5 minutes) and transferred these changes to the pattern and then made up a muslin. I needed some more fitting changes to the muslin (got about 2 minutes to check these whilst he watched football). Then there was a slight pause of about 4 months. I was going to sew the shirt as part of the MPB men's shirt sew-along, but that was the week we lost power. When I finally got around to starting, I couldn't remember where I was with the fitting process, so just made up the pattern as it was marked.
The Instructions: I used David Coffin's Shirtmaking book for instructions. Truth be known, I would have been better off using my overlocker than messing about with all those felled seams because the fabric has a tendency to fray.
The Fit: The photograph below shows that the shirt is too wide across the chest. Turns out this is not a fitting issue; I just folded under the wrong amount at the centre fronts. This would also explain why I had such a hard time getting the collar stand to fit the neckline!
The front pattern piece shows that I narrowed the chest and raised the front shoulder (the red lines are the changes). This raise was to accomodate a prominent front shoulder bone.
I'm pretty bloody impressed with how this back yoke fits. Usually there are pull lines between the shoulder blades and drooping of the bottom yoke edges (see here for the last shirt I made him, showing these problems).
To get this fit, I lengthened the centre of the yoke, without lengthening the sides of the yoke. The neckline was also widened a little.
I tapered the upper edges of the back piece, essentially taking out a dart below the yoke.
The sleeves are close fitting (unlike the "wings" sticking out from the previous shirt). I like the shape of the sleeves but I am not happy with the fit. There seems to be too much fabric at the back....
...which is more evident when he bends his arm.
The sleeve pattern piece shows the changes I made (I traced off a new pattern piece to add seam allowances). The red line shows that I raised the shoulder and moved it forward a little. I think perhaps I need to move it forward a little more and then remove some of the depth of the back curve (Any advice welcomed!).
Collar stays (this is the most accurate photograph of the fabric)
2 piece sleeve (back view)
Diagonal button holes (idea borrowed from Carolyn)
I have fabric for another shirt. I'm pretty happy with this pattern, although I do need to improve the sleeve fit. The next shirt will be a business shirt, so I will probably change the collar shape. David Coffin's book has a selection of collar shapes to choose from.