I enjoy sewing men’s shirts and unless you pay a fortune the ones readily available in the shops are quite dull I think. So I took a simple Man's Shirt Sewing Pattern and set about making it different to any I have seen in the shops.

After washing and pressing the fabric I cut it out according to the pattern instructions. Now, hands up, how many of you clip into the little triangles instead of cutting around them? DON’T. Why not you will be asking, well two reasons firstly if you need to let the seam out a little, you will be unable to do it because that little clip will have stolen around ¼” of your fabric on every seam allowance. Plus it weakens the fabric so do take a bit of extra time and cut around the triangles.

Follow the direction of the grain lines too, this will make the garment hang correctly.

The Chambray Fabric is plain and dark so I wanted something to lift it. I chose a piece of a coordinating fabric in the same weight and cut out the neckband facing and also the cuff facings in it.

I get the basics done first so I applied a lightweight iron on interfacing to both neckband pieces, all the cuff pieces and the front bands.  If I were making a formal shirt with a collar I would want more stiffness and would use a sew in heavy weight interfacing in the collar, and a medium weight in the cuffs and front bands.

A tip here is to place a sheet of oven liner on top of your ironing board, that way any scorched edges of interfacing will stick to that and not ruin your ironing board cover. Any stuck on bits will peel off easily once cool.

I wanted to add a pocket so I cut one out using a pocket template by Prym, but you could cut out a rectangle if you prefer.

Pockets are easy to make (especially with the Prym template pack), for the size and positioning you can just take a look at one of the shirts in his wardrobe. The template is very easy to use. There is a cutting guide which you draw around and another guide which you press the fabric around to give neat edges. 

I cut out a narrow strip of my contrast fabric, about an inch wide, folded it in half around some of my piping cord and added it to the top of the pocket before making it up.

The back is in two halves so to make it a bit different I placed some of my covered piping cord between the seam before neatening the edge. There is no need to cut your fabric on the bias as it does not need to stretch but do make sure that if it has a pattern then the pattern bit that shows looks good.

I then joined the shoulder and side seams, as explained on the pattern sheet, the side seams were stitched with a French seam which looks good with little effort.

To make the sleeves you need to do some work on the bottom of the sleeve before fitting the cuffs. Here you need to sew in a continuous placket. The instructions tell you to cut it on the straight grain but in order to give myself a bit of play I did in fact cut it on the bias. The placket is perhaps the only difficult part of the shirt, so if you have never done one before I suggest that you do a trial one on a spare piece of fabric first

The cuffs were lined with the contrast fabric and stitched on. To do this the front of the cuff is stitched on to the sleeve first, right sides together. The lining is slip-stitched in place afterwards. After pressing the seam allowance in place. I added a row of topstitching very close to the seam for strength.

Fit the sleeves and then put the front bands on. Top-stitch both sides of the band close to the edge.

Make your neckband in the same way. When it comes to turning the band the right way out the instructions tell you to clip into the curves at intervals. I find this messy. What I do instead is to use my pinking shears to trim close to the seam line. You will find then that the collar or neckband will turn right sides out beautifully. Attach the neckband to the neck in the same way you attached the cuffs.

We are nearly finished, so using the pattern pieces as a guide, plus a ready-made shirt to refer to if you like, mark the position of the buttonholes. As a guide the first one after the neck band is usually 2 to 2 ½ ” away, the following buttonholes, moving down the shirt are usually 3 ½ ” apart.

Cut your buttonholes very carefully, use sharp scissors, not a seam ripper and pin the fronts together along the button band so that you can mark the position of the buttons. Do the same on the cuffs.

A final press and it is ready to wear!

The instructions on this pattern are very easy to follow and it would look great made up in a patterned fabric. I do love making shirts and try to make each one I make that bit different, you could achieve that easily by using a printed cotton lawn. If you are a beginner patterned fabrics are a bit more forgiving too and tiny mistakes will be virtually unnoticeable.

Thank you Minerva for this beautiful fabric. I am sure you agree that this is a beautiful stylish shirt and that making one yourself is well within your grasp. 

Happy sewing!

Angela