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Vogue 8759 Man’s Shirt

Back of man's shirt

I cut the original pattern with no adjustments in size 46 in a light blue cambric pinpoint and we had a try on.  I hated it!  It looked like a school boy’s shirt but maybe that was because of the traditional fabric. And it was not appealing because it didn’t look like a proper “work shirt”,  I could see this style  cut with the mandarin collar but not with the collar and stand as I need to make.


The yoke is drafted to seam at .5″ below the shoulder point, not dropped like a proper yoke, the sleeve has enough ease in it that there might be gathers when inserted.  But oddly enough the collar might just fit my husband’s 18.25 inch neck.  I wish Vogue would print the collar length on the pattern somewhere so that those of us who are serious about making a fitted man’s shirt could chose the proper size.  But they don’t.

I don’t trust my measuring ability to accurately tell me just exactly how long that collar is. Between the pattern’s tissue paper that is inaccurate by it’s very nature, and the exact placement of a measuring tape, millimeters can be lost or gained.  Ah, well.  No shirts are built by stressing over the small details, right?  But I did have my day of pouting.

I lowered the shoulder seam line and by like subtraction I extended the shoulder yoke, shortened the shoulder seam, cut the armscye lower and wider, added fabric over the torso, and added 3″ to the length of the garment. I did not alter the sleeve pattern. And I did not alter for my husbands dropped shoulder and leaning stature. These details of sewing for him have completely stopped my suit making. One day I will overcome. Pray for me.


I cut the cloth and basted the shell together.
front of man's shirt

Button Stand left open

Side of man's shirt

It looks like the sleeve could be rotated in the armscye a touch towards the back. How odd. This sleeve has a high cap, again that’s odd considering that most men’s shirt patterns have a flat sleeve cap.

But that’s why I like this patten: it has a taste of side shaping, and high and tight armscye, a long collar band and some shape and finesse to the sleeve.

So Onward I go, now to cut 4 more shirts as accurately as possible from a tissue. I don’t know of a garment that needs the most accurate and nuanced cutting as a man’s shirt. And for a picky man, the bottom line is how comfortable it feels, who can blame them?


Work Shirt Sewing Ahead

I had a shock this morning as Mr Stitchery was leaving for work. Shredded fabric was hanging from his worn sleeves and button placket. We did a quick snip with the scissors and off he went to his heavy boards of raw oak and maple wood and big, loud machines and piles of sawdust.

I went to his closet to explore the state of the rest of his short sleeved work shirts and this is what I found. The worst of the lot had just walked out the door.

Made Jan 2008, 5.75 yrs ago, washed and worn avg 40 times a year

Between the rough work and the paint booth these shirts are falling apart and almost destroyed

threadbarewear and fading

We have fond memories of how they looked in the beginning


This shot was taken after 8 months of wash and wear weekly. He loves his custom made shirts.


I have looked for a denim to match this first 20 yards but can’t find anything comparable. I think I bought it through the Fabrics and Notions coop and know nothing technical about the weight or source.

In 2011 I did a quick test shirt of a candidate fabric and it turned out to be a total fabric fail

It looked good enough in the first few wearings

New Shirt 2011

but wear showed after the first wash on the all parts where the fabric was folded. This shirt is now only 2 years old and it doesn’t look much better than the shirts that are almost 6 years old.

Newer shirt, wear showed after the first wash

It is worn very little, only for those days when he might have to look presentable outside of the factory.

2011 shirt

but see how it’s already to shred and needs to be replaced soon too.

I will simply have to use what is in the stash and plan on making new shirts more often. Maybe I’ll eventually luck out and find a good quality, medium weight 100% cotton denim. Anyone have any suggestions???

I can hardly believe this is the first button I will have had to replace. After all these years. They were originally sewn on by machine, using a 1967 all metal White that I inherited from his Mother. Here it is in production in 2003.

commercial sewing with 1967 White machine

I used it in commercial sewing for years before I had to sell The Stitchery 2 years ago. I miss that machine. The foot lifted high enough that I could make thread shanks even as I machine sewed on the buttons. It sewed through Naugahyde and upholstery ultrasuede accurately and with ease. The feed was amazing.

But things change all the time and even though Mr Stitch says it will be time for long sleeves soon, I doubt these shirts will last until December when the temperatures get seriously cold.

Move over Fall Fashion plans, it is time to cut at new short sleeved shirts.

Vogue 1208 Quick and Easy Elegance

Back of dress

I made this dress for a one day meet-up last year. Due to bad weather the flight home that evening was cancelled and I had to stay an extra day. I had not planned on spending the night so I had to wear this for 2 whole days. Oh boy. I can go for some glamor once in a while but 2 days? That’s really pushing me to my limits.


But I liked wearing this dress and 2 days worth was not a problem. The fabric is a finely pleated black and white polka dot polyester from, and it proved to be absolutely wrinkle-proof. The fit was comfortable and I had the yellow coat I made and blogged about for the whole month of April 2009 with me. That was a great comfy coat to wear, too. And I had brought flats, Yay Me! Disaster averted.


The pattern is to be laid out on the bias but I cut cross grain to take advantage of the inherent stretch of the pleats. I cut a size 12 through the bodice and flared to a 14 below the waist.


I lined on the bias with black cling free poly lining which I trimmed with black lace at the hem. I cut the lining with extra width so that it could relax into place on my body. The bow at the shoulder is black and white silk chiffon as is the simple rectangle wrap I made.

V1208Line Drawing

What an easy and quick but comfy and stylish design. I really enjoyed sewing it up and wearing it. I can recommend this simple but interesting shift for many different body shapes.

We finally got some rain and the humidity and wind is poofing up my hair big time. It’s getting wider and shorter with every passing minute. I was feeling like I might go airborne a la The Flying Nun before I could finish doing this photo shoot :).


M4392 McCalls Sew News Coordinates



Full Length Front

This pattern has skirt, pant,top with side slits sleeves and with sleeves, and jacket in a casual style for wovens. I made the sleeveless top in linen.

M4392 OOP

The pants are again Vogue 8915, shown here over and over for the past 7 weeks.

I lengthened the top by 2″, and increased the depth of the neckline facings to allow for 1 3/8″ deep topstitching instead of the 1″ called for in the pattern.

I cut a 12 through the neckline, 14 for the armscye and 16 through the bust angling out to 18+ for the waist and hipline. I made no other changes.

If I make this again, I need to lower the bust darts and perhaps cut more room through the bust. My weight changes all the time and I am sewing for linen that comes from the dryer without benefit of an iron. This means it will relax and stretch with body warmth and movement. I’ll write these alteration notations on the front of the envelope so I should see it if I make this top again and haven’t dropped in weight.

I like this pattern esp since I lowered the hemline. The armscye is snug but not too tight. Good pattern for me.

McCalls 6244 Tee Shirt

McCalls 6244

I cut the medium size out last week and only sewed it up yesterday. I raised the front neckline by 3/4″, widened the sleeves by the same and used a pivot and slide method to add 1.5″ to the hip width. This is a colorful but thin cotton jersey ripened many years on the shelf. I only had a yard so this is it.

Real life: broken refrigerators, stripping floors, kitchen reorganization and a surprising flea invasion have tried to take over but have been conquered (almost). Frontline Plus is not working. It’s down to flea combs, traps, baths, and daily vacuuming of everything. They’ve invaded the neighborhood. I have one word: rabbits. But I blame almost everything on rabbits so don’t trust me on this. It could well be slacking humans.

Putting Pieces Together

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Mingling the old with the new
I’m wearing the lace top and silvery gray tee from McCall’s 6244, made in Dec 2010, and rayon pants purchased in the early 90’s. I have to admit I am so comfortable in baggier pants and higher necklines these days, I am intentionally cutting loose pants and wearing tops backwards 🙂
M6244McCall's 6244
I have shamelessly washed and dried the lace in the machines and wear it without worrying about the fraying edges or ironing it. I like the “distressed” look and find myself wearing it often.

I now wear that lace top backwards because the front hem area was cut too high to suit me. The neck is higher and I’m liking necklines that are higher these days.

New clothes from Summer 2013

The silver gray tee can be worn by itself over the bright colored pants I made this summer. I like it loosely tucked in the top of the new yellow pants best.

The yellow pants are exactly the same cut as the green pants but the difference is in the fabric. The green is a very soft hand, silk twill, the yellow is a harder silk twill and even though the weight of the two fabrics seems to be the same the fit and flow are quite different
Green and olive
Here is the green pant with the Dutch Wax print and I think the match is much better than the olive branch print. There is some of the same green in the olive print but it isn’t seen in the wearing
Because of the cut on sleeve these tops tend to ride up if the belt is not worn

McCalls 6753
I made the dress, View D,
M6753View D
in silk charmeuse. I wore it over the green pants for dinners out to celebrate our birthdays earlier this month. It works over the yellow pants as well
I am tempted to shortened it but at this length I can also wear it as a dress (beware: blindingly pale skin alert!)
The sides of this tunic are closed only to the hip so a very long tee is absolutely necessary
and it is cut very low in the neckline. I know that it is generally acceptable to show a bit of decolletage but this is too much!
So when wearing this tunic out I am more comfortable wearing the silver gray tee backwards as I did in the photos of it with the yellow pants.
Gray top backwards

Well, I think I’ve caught up with all the sewing done in the past few weeks. I’m happy that so many pieces can be interchanged.

More Later
Happy Sewing!

Vogue 1364 Easy Warm Weather Jacket

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Darts Side Front

Sandra Betzina’s summer 2013 jacket pattern, Vogue 1364, is unlined and has no front closing mechanism. Fortunately the pattern is drafted so well the front pieces lie nicely with no need for constantly arranging the fronts.


Ann at offered this polyester, acetate, and acrylic fabric as a FOTD, (Fabric Of The Day) a offering she makes to her GorgeousFabrics FaceBook friends at a deep discount and the colors are perfect for so many different pieces in my wardrobe and on my stash shelves. I took advantage of her, er, her generous offer and bought 3 yards. What a steal!

Fabric Closeup

It is a dry clean only fabric and I usually don’t tolerate having such in the stash but I couldn’t say no to the pretty colors. I researched the fabric components and have decided I may try to hand wash and lay flat to dry.


I did not make the fringed version of this pattern, nor did I do all the extra folding down the back piece. Instead I used the wrong side of the fabric in the inverted triangle on the back. It really didn’t have the contrast factor I had in mind. It shows so much better on the pattern model


I missed an opportunity for an excellent embellishment and If I make this pattern again I’ll make that V shape more glitzy


Let me just say this fabric made the whole sewing process a joy. I wasn’t up for fancy complicated stuff, I simply serged the edges and turned under 2x to finish the edges. I started out with a very cool iron due to the acetate and acrylic content but kicked it up to a wool setting and steamed the folds. No sheen or shine, no bunching under the iron and no melting on the sole plate. I didn’t want to do a Hong Kong finish and since this fabric was so darned easy to work I flat felled the seams.

Now that I see photos of this jacket on me I think it could stand to lose an inch or more of length. And I should take the time to make some shoulder pads as recommended. It’s been a long while since I’ve sewn up a Sandra Betzina pattern and I have such a rotten attitude toward pattern instructions her amount of verbiage made me nervous.

However, she packs in great tips and techniques, it’s worth the reading time to take it all in.

This turned out to be a really fun sewing experience, thanks to the fabric and to the well-drafted pattern and excellent instructions.