Men's shirt

It seems that I never have "nothing to wear" these days, which means I can spare just a little time to sew for somebody else (well, maybe just a little, not too often mind!).

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!). 

The details: 

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.


  1. Collar stays! I'm impressed :) I've been making shirts for my husband recently but nothing so fancy. I used a Kwik Sew pattern and really like the fit, but did make some minor adjustments based on one of his favorite shirts. I think I need to do some high rounded back adjustments next time.

    Looking at the back of the arm it seems to me that the curve needs to be cut more deeply into the back as it seems to be sitting in a flat line there? That might help with the excess arm fabric which sort of looks like it's being pushed forward because the arm seam is down onto the arm. I'm sure there are technical terms for all this, hope my garbled explanation makes sense!

  2. I love it - super cute, and well tailored!

  3. I was congratulating myself for sewing a t-shirt for my son - this really puts my smugness back into perspective - great shirt and what fabulous detials on it. Your next one should be a perfect fit after all you have done in the fitting!

  4. Nice shirt. The back looks particularly good. I'm a little disappointed in the standard collar stays though...where will he keep his guitar picks now? Maybe in those fabulous board shorts purchased by his most favourite sister in-law.

  5. I love the two piece sleeve that buttons at the back. That is such a cool feature. And the diagonal buttonholes. Very nice shirt!

  6. That's a great shirt with wonderful details. I like the sleeve cuff, which reminds me of one of my boyfriend's Rag and Bone shirts. And I think I'll be stealing the diagonal buttonhole idea. It's the little things that make a difference!

  7. I also love the two piece sleeve, and the diagonal buttonholes are a really interesting idea. Bet he loves wearing this shirt!

  8. Excellent shirt. I think you are on the right track with the forward rotation of the sleeve. Clever of you to sneak in some shots whilst he was distracted! I love the two-piece sleeve and button details, very smart.
    I also greatly admire your fast fitting skills.Personally, I would rather measure a wriggling two year old.

  9. The shirt looks fantastic and I've never seen the diagonal button holes before--I love them. The back of the shirt is my favorite part, well, and the sleeves.

  10. Wow!! diagonal button holes! it's rare to find such pattern, what you have created. This 2 piece sleeve shirt looks great and the pattern you have made is pretty good buddy.

  11. Thank you for your long response on my blog, very helpful and much appreciated! I will try some of your tips to improve the fit on my blouse.