Finally finished

Yep, H’s shirt is finally done. As I mentioned in the blog hop post, just about everything that could go wrong with this did go wrong. I have sewn just about everything twice (at least).

So first, the finished product…

I probably could have ironed it before I photographed it. But it is linen so this is probably how it will usually look anyway.

Like last time, I used the free pattern Lekala 6207. Last time I narrowed the shoulders and it fit better, but H requested an exact copy of a RTW linen shirt and so this time I left it as per the pattern. I also drafted a new collar based on the RTW  – as is, it is quite large.

So what went wrong? Well, the first thing to go wrong was the thread. Yes, the thread. I happened to have a matching thread already but it must have been at least 20 years old. And it kept snapping. Said thread is now in the bin. I wish I had read this excellent post  by La Sewista before starting on the shirt and I wouldn’t have had this problem. Also after reading that post I decided to try her do-not-backstitch idea (you just dial down the stitch length instead) and I must say I am impressed. Actually the whole NLS (Next Level Sewing) series are worth a read.

So the problem with the thread snapping was that it is on the topstitching of the pocket. So I had to unpick that and being quite loose weave linen it really didn’t like the extra attention. It stretched a bit. Which is why my previously pefectly matched stripes ended up a teensy bit off.

So close but yet…

So the next thing to go wrong was the side seams. I flat felled them but somehow when pressing before the final row of stitching, I pressed in a crease of excess fabric. On both sides. And didn’t notice. No, I don’t know how either.

Then came the abomination that was the first collar and stand. I, as always, used this excellent tutorial by foursquarewalls which constructs and attaches the collar in a different (and more logical) order. The problems with the collar were entirely of my own making. When I was doing the collar I hurt my lower back. Bending down to put something in my handbag which was on the couch would you believe. I mean seriously, I have no idea how or why just bending over hurt it – but it did. So sitting in any one position for any length of time was uncomfortable. But I had determined that I would have the shirt finished for H’s birthday so I kept sewing for too long. And all the sewing I did was rubbish. But somehow my pain addled brain thought it was ok at the time. When the pain cleared the unpicking began. So moral of the story – if you can’t sew, don’t.

As I said previously both the collar and stand looked ok as long as you didn’t look at both sides at once as both were very asymetrical. Because I had enough fabric I just chucked the collar and stand in the bin and recut both. Let me tell you, attaching a collar stand on an already trimmed and clipped neckline is not easy.

But it was worth it.

I also had to redo the topstitching on the front placket because the first attempt was far from straight and even.

Fortunately I did the yoke properly the first time. I cut it on the crossgrain so that the stripes ran horizontally. And I changed the one centre pleat to two smaller ones nearer the shoulders because H prefers them that way.

A full back view.

I should point out that H did suggest several times that I just leave this and sew something else but I feared that if I left it, it would be a UFO forever. I am now very glad that I persevered.

So I recommend the Lekala pattern if you fancy making a shirt for the man in your life. Although if it’s your first man’s shirt you may find the instructions somewhat lacking. But with the many excellent tutorials available around the internet you shouldn’t have too much trouble. And I do really recommend the collar tutorial, you really should give it a try.

Next time I’m going to use one of the many collar point tutorials and see if I can improve them. What about you? Do you have any favourite men’s shirt tutorials, tips or suggestions?

Follow on Bloglovin

My first man’s shirt

Well I did it and it was actually not only quite easy but lots of fun. Here it is

I used Lekala pattern no. 6207 (I think) supposedly to Mr H’s measurements but then took 3cm off each shoulder. I also made the collar smaller although this was purely a design decision. Next time (and there will be several more of these) I will make the collar stand smaller as well.

Probably the only other thing worth noting about the pattern is that I had chosen to have seam allowances added but they are only 1cm. Not a big problem unless you want to flat fell the seams – that gets tricky. Fortunately there was enough extra ease to just use 2cm seam allowances instead.

Like many of use, I also had a little help from my friends. Well actually they aren’t my friends they’ve never even heard of me but still… I used the truly excellent alternative method to attach a collar from four square walls. You can find that here. I found this so much easier than what I remember even if it has been 30 years since I last made a proper collar.

The fabulous Peter Lappin is also generously sharing tips from his class at FIT and had a great tip to use your zipper foot for edgestitching. You can find that and more here.

If you don’t already follow Andrea or Peter  then you really should have a look.

As I said this all went together rather well. I was a little concerned about making buttonholes (again for the first time in a looong time) but my little Janome did a great job.

This fabric wasn’t actually the easiest for a first attempt as it is a loose weave and tends to grow a bit. So I am really looking forward to making one in a nice, crisp, cotton. You can find out more about the fabric in my previous post here.

And another pic just because I can. But no, none with Mr H (who looked aghast when I said I was going to photograph his shirt since he thought I wanted him to be wearing it).

So do you make men’s shirts? Or have you done any other selfless sewing lately?