Once upon a time I promised Mr. Stitch I would make him a shirt. I went as far as ordering the fabric in hopes that I would make it for him in time for last Christmas. The fabric arrived late and in what I thought at the time was an insufficient amount. Instead of stressing about it and rushing to a deadline I wrapped fabric and pattern together and placed both under the tree with a promise that this was the first thing I would work on in the New Year. January came an went. I sewed a couple of projects for myself. I knitted a couple more things. I made blankets for new babies. As I was starting work on my first ever pair of trousers a little voice said to me: “But I thought you were making me a shirt?”. That was Mr. Stitch, a man known for his booming voice and self-assurance, speaking to me from a wounded place. I guess I forgot about his gift (evil me!) and that was the reality check I needed to get my act together, put selfish sewing aside, and finish his Christmas present in time for Valentine’s Day. Here it is:
I think I dragged my heels because I thought this shirt would be really hard to make. The pattern intimidated me, plus all that fussing with matching plaids made me shiver with fright. Oh, how wrong I was! The instructions were very easy to follow and while there are quite a few steps involved, the shirt came together fast and matching plaids was not as hard as I initially thought.
The shirt may have come together easily, but taking these photos was not so – Mr Stitch was a very reluctant model. Here’s how it went down:
Because Mr. Stitch was in a hurry to be done I was only able to snap a few shots and completely forgot to take a picture of my perfectly aligned plaid at the side seams. I don’t think I have ever taken such care with any of the garments I’ve made for myself and I’m so glad I did. My Mr. Stitch is so worth it!
Pattern: Negroni by Colette Patterns
Fabric: 2.75 yards of 45″ wide cotton flannel bought online from Jo-Ann
Time in the stash: 3 months
Stashbusting Tally: Committed to using 15 cuts of fabric; 4 used to date; 11 left to go.
- Pockets and outside yoke piece were cut on the bias to add some visual interest.
- Omitted the loop and the pocket flaps – Mr. Stitch didn’t care for either of those details.
- Added ¼” at each side of yoke and back pieces and made the corresponding change on the front pieces so that the shoulder seams would match – Mr. Stitch’s shirts usually pull at the underarms. I don’t know if this means he has broad lat muscles or forward sloping shoulders or if the issue stems from something completely different but I hoped this mod would help the problem. It helped, but only a bit, and it also added unwanted extra width to the upper back. Next time I’ll need to research into men’s fitting issues and come up with a different solution.
- Instead of the side flat felled seams the pattern calls for I made “mock” flat felled seams for the all in one side-and-sleeves as described by Lavender here.
- To avoid a bulky edge on the facing I simply serged each edge then folded under once at ¼” and topstitched in place.
- Shortened sleeves by 3” – Not sure if the sleeves on this pattern run extra long or if Mr. Stitch has short arms but 3” seems like a lot, no?
- Added 1 ¼” length to cuffs’ circumference – they were too tight on the muslin (of course I made a muslin!) so I compared them to one of Mr Stitch’s RTW shirts to determine the right length for him.
He likes it. A lot! In fact, I finished sewing on the last button while Mr. Stitch was home from school for lunch and as soon as I was done he wore the shirt. I gave him explicit instructions not to get it dirty at school but that very same day he came home covered in sawdust. He has worn it numerous times since and I no longer care if he gets dirty – it’s meant to be a functional piece of clothing after all.
Happy love and friendship month to y’all! How do you feel about unselfish sewing?