For Christmas last year my Honey asked for a replacement for a much loved chambray shirt that had seen better days. I couldn’t find anything similar online in the right shade of blue so I offered to make one. Besides a few pajama bottoms and a fleece, I’ve never made him any clothing. I know, selfish, selfish….
During our recent vacation at the lake in NH when I get to do nothing but sew and swim I took my time and made the shirt. I take over the entire dining area for sewing when we’re there and have a beautiful view of the water. Hah! This year I brought a pile of alterations and mending, and the makings for a jacket and pants for me, and Honey’s shirt. Don’t want to run out of things to sew! I kid. As the world’s slowest sewist I know I can’t make all those things but it gives me choices. I finished Honey’s shirt, including muslins, roughly over the first week. I promised myself I wouldn’t start anything else new until I got through the alterations. I made the easy changes like sewing on buttons but stalled out when it came time to taking in a few pants. I can be such a procrastinator. Ugh! I hate having to try stuff on again and again when I’m sewing.
After a quick search for a men’s-long-sleeved-popover-casual-band-collared shirt, I decided on Burda 7525. I haven’t made a pattern from tissue paper in ages! The last few years I’ve either drafted them myself or downloaded Burdastyle PDF’s but I really didn’t want to draft this for my first go. This pattern has a relaxed fit, band or two-piece collar, bib front option, back pleat, and cuffs. I’m giving it a thumbs up.
I am quite pleased with the fit! I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. I had hoped that fitting the male body might be easier than fitting a woman, but since my Honey is “mature” I knew I’d have to make a few adjustments. Some of the modifications are the same ones I’d make on a garment for myself.
I made the following design and fitting changes:
- Added a back yoke to allow for a rounded back.
- Moved shoulder seams forward and shifted the sleeve cap to match.
- Narrowed Shoulder width and raised cap height to accordingly.
- Shortened sleeves ALOT.
- Changed inverted center back pleat to knife pleats at the shoulder blades. The take-up of the fabric across the back is the same, but it’s distributed closer to the arms. I’m going with the theory that this makes the shirt more comfortable when you pull your arms forward. Curious if anyone has experimented with this.
- Made an “FSA”. (Full Stomach Adjustment!) I was trying to figure out how to add more length to the front just under the bib so the front would hang straight down and not stick out, not unlike an FBA. I found a little nugget in David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking book that referred to a full chest modification with a bib front. I basically created horizontal darts at the chest by opening a horizontal swath along the bottom of the bib. The darts are then then rotated up into the vertical seam between the shirt front and the side of the bib. Yah, there were some mental gymnastics required for this one.
Since this was my first men’s shirt I ended up making two muslins which may seem like a lot but I want to be able to use this as the starting point for other types of shirts. Next time I’ll add a bit more ease across the back, and I’ll make it a few inches shorter.
This is a 100% cotton chambray I found at NY Elegant Fabrics in NYC. (I was there a few months ago for the Patternreview Weekend 2017 which was a ball!) According to the dictionary, Chambray is a type of plain weave cloth of a cotton, silk or linen with a colored warp and a white weft. I knew this but I always associate chambray with a particular shade of indigo.
I ignored the Burda instructions and followed most of the techniques and varying seam allowances prescribed in Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. The seams are all felled including the sleeve/armhole seam. Coffin’s instructions are very clear. I also used his directions for the collar and cuffs. He uses a washable glue stick to ‘baste’ the inside faces of the cuffs and collar stand/band down before top stitching. The Lakehouse was fresh out of gluesticks so I pin basted which wasn’t quite as fun as gluing.
The machine I had with me doesn’t have a rolled hem foot so I sewed a baby hem (using the method with three passes of the machine) and it came out great, maybe even better than a rolled hem.
The INTJ in me usually tries to outsmart the instructions. In this case, my goal was to attach the bib with no exposed seam allowances. The bib consists of two pieces of folded fabric with the folded edge overlapped along the center front. Burda has you fold under the SA of the bib and topstitch it down which leaves you with an exposed seam allowance on the inside. There’s no attachment method explained in Shirtmaking but from the photos it could be felled, which would be mighty tough with the curved seam.
I couldn’t give a shirt to my Honey that had exposed seam allowance on the inside, could I? Technically yes, but I was determined to figure out how to get a clean interior. So how DO you attach the bib to the bodice without any exposed seam allowances? I made two tiny clips at the bottom of the bib and used the Burrito method! Everything is enclosed except for a ¼” slit on the back of the bib. I attached a tiny patch (hack job) to the inside of the bib to prevent any fraying. In hindsight this Burrito technique would work better with a separate bib facing instead of folding it. Then you could skip the clip and patch.
This was my first time using a ‘button foot’. I used it for the buttons on the cuffs and it was pretty easy. I could see how this would be a time saver if you had a lot of buttons. (The buttons on the bib were sewn with red button and craft thread for a pop of color.)
- Count your buttons and make sure you have enough thread when you sew away from home. I ran out of both when all I had left to do was put the buttonholes on the cuffs.
- Man-sewing can be fun and satisfying!
- Muslins can be made from old Marimekko sheets.
- You could, possibly, baste your garment down to the ironing board cover if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing. Just speaking for a friend.