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Sewing, Style & Creative Writing
  • Grey Shirt with Red Dots

    Posted on 17/09/2013 by David in My Handmade Closet.


    Farewell blue sky, hello rain and gales… I have yet to fall for Fall coming suddenly out of the blue and giving me the blues. With outside temperatures barely exceeding 14 degrees over the last few days, I feel like London is being shown the red card by Mr Weatherman until we are blue in the face! No wonder I see all red now – not literally thankfully – as the sudden change of weather gives way to a more suitable colour palette in my wardrobe: enter the grey shirt with red dots!

    I recently talked about making a dress with the red & grey cotton fabric but project priorities – and fabrics – had to be reshuffled but be rest assured that as I write this blog, a dress project is already on its way!

    So what can I tell you about this shirt? Well, I decided to go back to using commercial patterns. When I did my first shirt, I used a Vogue pattern but at the time, I was more worried about the construction of the shirt than ensuring a perfect fit as I followed the size Small all along and quite luckily came up with a good result. The other two shirts I did right after were based on a basic block which I adapted to my size so I felt a lot more confident when I used the McCall’s Pattern M6044 this time round and adjusted it to my own measurements. I chose model E on the pattern which brought new challenges such as doing long sleeves (it was about time!) and having a yoke both at the front and back of the shirt.

    The yoke was surprisingly very easy to do. When I did the Elephants shirt , I chose a contrasting back yoke by cutting one piece for the back of the shirt and another for the yoke before stitching them together as you would normally expect. For this pattern, I had the full front and back of the shirt to which I pinned and sewed on top 1 back yoke and 2 front yokes, closing them by edgestitching along the pressed edges. Nice and easy really and I chose a red fabric which matched the red dots on the grey fabric (I also chose this contrasting fabric for the cuffs and the pocket flaps).


    The long sleeves were the main challenge but it went fine in the end…well nearly…as I swapped the left and right sides and ended with cuff buttons showing at the front instead of the back (duh!). Let’s pretend that was for design sake and frankly, it doesn’t bother me too much because this is not a formal shirt after all. I will be more careful next time obviously!

    The cotton fabric feels very soft and comfortable on the skin and when I wore this shirt for the first time – along with my handmade black trousers and matching hat – I felt like it was a perfect outfit to wear when playing music or attending an Indie concert such as Radiohead or The White Stripes!

15 Responses so far.

  1. Peter says:

    Great looking shirt and lovely topstitching. I made that cuff mistake myself once!

  2. oonaballoona says:

    that yoke! (which my husband has, in the past, referred to as a “saddle”) that yoke is delicious!

    • David says:

      Thanks Oona, just googled the saddle yoke and saw some cool vintage western shirts made that way!

  3. Wil says:

    Your stitches are always impeccable! Wonderful shirt.
    Looks like flat-fell seams Do

    • Wil says:

      Sorry, I wanted to ask if you use a felling foot?

      • David says:

        Hi Will! Unfortunately I don’t have one! I usually do my flat felled seams by hand, iron them a little and then use an edge stitch foot so that it looks as good as I can. So far it works although the armhole seams are a bit tricky. For this particular shirt, the fabric was a bit too loosely woven to my taste and felt that the flat felled seams technique would not work well so I serged all seams and then used a regular presser foot on the outside to keep them in place. Indeed it looks like flat felled seams and that allowed a very nice result on the outside although not as neat as my previous shirts on the inside.I’d love to get the felling foot one day though if it is that good? My next investment is likely to be an invisible zipper foot. I saw the perfect result you can get in a matter of seconds versus the amount of effort I usually put in for never quite the same result and I am totally sold!

        • Wil says:

          Invisible zipper foots make that big of difference? I don’t have a flat fell foot, but I have been reading David Coffin’s shirt book and he says how great they are.

          • David says:

            Everyone seems to mention his books with regards to shirt and trousers making. Even though I feel fairly confident in those areas, I probably would learn a few tricks I’m sure if I get his books (mainly the tailoring aspect of trousers which I don’t know about). I might get that foot as well after all, will check the price for Berninas!

  4. Delgado says:

    Superbes chemise, pantalon mais le plus magnifique c’est David avec son chapeau et sa guitare. J’espère que je ne me suis pas “plantée” au sujet du commentaire. Bisous

    • David says:

      Haha, merci maman, non tu ne t’es pas “plantée”, tu es bien dans la case “commentaire” cette fois 🙂

  5. maddie says:

    I second, or third, or maybe fourth everyone else’s comment – your topstitching is way above par 🙂

  6. Mike P. says:

    What a great shirt, both in design and execution. The red yoke and cuffs against the gray pattern fabric is a total winner.

    • David says:

      Thanks you very much Mike! Good luck with your chambray comfy shirt and can’t wait to see the final result 🙂

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