When it comes to menswear, shirts are my favorite garment to make.
I relish the challenges involved, like precise topstitching, special finishes like flat-felled seams, and the creation of a perfectly balanced collar. I also enjoy the creative challenge of finding coordinating fabrics to add special touches like a contrasting inner collar stand, cuff, or under collar. These details can be hard to find in ready-to-wear shirts, but make what might otherwise be an ordinary shirt into something special.
I love working with the Liberty of London and Liberty-inspired cottons available at Mood Fabrics. Last summer I found a beautiful lightweight poplin that I knew would be perfect for a men’s shirt (or women’s blouse) and this month I decided to cut into it to make my partner, Michael, a beautiful shirt for the new year. (You can see Mood’s large online selection of Liberty of London fabrics here.)
The pattern I used to make the shirt is McCall’s 8909, which dates from 1984. I am often asked why I prefer working with vintage shirt patterns and my answer is that these older patterns tend to be more fitted than today’s patterns and to include special details that aren’t often offered anymore. I generally find them online on Etsy or eBay, though this one was donated to me by my friend Duane.
I chose to make the most basic version (Version A) since I was working with a print, but I wanted to use a coordinating fabric for the inside collar stand and cuffs. In my stash, I found a mulberry-purple cotton gingham that looked (and felt) exactly right.
The shirt came together beautifully. I made only one minor change to the pattern: I gathered the sleeve at the cuff instead of adding pleats for a more drapey, romantic look.
The handsome results below:
I think most sewers would agree that there’s something oh-so-satisfying about being able to turn one-dimensional fabric into a three-dimensional garment. When it also flatters the wearer, that’s icing on the cake. When he gets compliments, we both feel terrific!