Sunday, December 25, 2011

handmade holidays: plaid shirt

believe me when I tell you that matching the plaid was nerve-wracking. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to cut out the pattern and which parts were most important to match (the way the shirt is cut, with a back yoke, and pleated back, it's actually impossible for all of it to line up perfectly). So, I matched the vertical stripe on the center of the back yoke and the shirt back. I matched the sides of the shirt front and shirt back, but didn't worry about the sleeves. I wanted the verticals to match on the pockets, but decided I didn't care about the horizontals - I actually wanted the pockets to be a little less camoflauged against the shirt front.

All in all, I don't think I saved a penny over just buying him a j.crew shirt for Christmas. BUT I have the pattern, which I can use again. And I won't always have to use such expensive fabric - I used a nice medium-weight yarn-dyed plaid, which means the stripes have been woven in (as in, the shirt is actually made of differently-coloured threads - and it looks the same on both sides) not printed onto a woven fabric. As he tried it for fit, he even commented that it's heavier than his other shirts (some of which are rather flimsy, if I do say so myself). I say good! It'll last longer!

It's a great fit, isn't it? I used Colette Patterns' Negroni, in size medium. For any other tailors or seamstresses out there interested in this pattern, I've heard that the arm holes can be small on some who have very muscular arms or a broad chest. For reference, Cass is about 6' 1/2" or 1". He wears a size medium in jcrew shirts, but a size large in gap (or a medium tall). He doesn't have very broad shoulders - we've never found a man's blazer that doesn't look oversized on him. He told me that the sleeve openings on this, far from being too small, were just right - whereas some of his other shirts use a really large opening, so that the body of the shirt pulls up when he raises his arm above his head.

It's a bit of a labour of love, matching plaids and painstakingly pressing and doing all of those flat-felled seams (the arm openings AND the side seams are flat-felled seams), but the result is a quality garment with a good fit. Score yet another win for Collette patterns - so far, every pattern (see this skirt, this dress, this blouse, this slip) I've tried by Sarai has turned out an excellent garment that fits amazingly well. Sarai, I thank you!!


Jennifer said...

What a handsome shirt, and a true labor of love. I think you've spoiled him for store-bought shirts from now on! ;-)

Amie@Itsystitch said...

you are my hero! matching plaid is my achilles heel. My mom was just telling me how crazy talented my gramma was in this area, but neither of us inherited that gene!

fleur_delicious said...

Amie - I gotta say, the plaid matching was definitely the stressful part. I think I spent four hours just cutting out the pattern pieces (and I had an extra yard, just in case), figuring out, "okay. where do I want it to match and how do I make that happen?" It sure is a lot of work, isn't it? Your grandma must've been one heck of an engineer if she could do it with ease!

plaid skirts for women said...

That shirt is fabulous!