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How about that time I delved into making menswear…

…and discovered that I actually liked it!  In fact, I can’t wait until my next menswear project.  It all started out with a little experiment where I went from this:

Despite appearances in this pic, it’s not a women’s shirt!

to this:

Yay! Pink flowers!

Dajarra came home from work one day last week looking a bit forlorn so being the caring person that I am, I asked what was wrong. He pointed to the bottom of the shirt he was wearing and showed me a hole.  And next to that hole was a small tear.

The death knell…

Since both the hole and tear were near the edge of the bottom of the shirt, and because it was such a favourite (it was first bought years ago as a fancy going out shirt and then devolved into a work shirt) I thought I could simply chop the rips off and re-hem it, but on closer inspection it looked like it was just one muscle flex away from falling apart completely so I decided to pick the shirt apart to use as pattern pieces to try to make a new one.  I’ve never made a proper shirt before so it was interesting to learn how all the pieces went together and I tried to take as many notes as possible (though I did get completely carried away with the seam ripping at times and forgot to note some important, tricky bits – grrr me!).

Sad, unpicked shirt

Warning!: if you decide to this yourself, beware of unpicking the underarm sections – especially if it was a much loved shirt…ugh!  Because I knew the original shirt fit so well I knew I wouldn’t have to make any alterations to the pattern, except adding a little more to the seam allowances.  I then pinned the old shirt pieces to paper and traced around the edges. I used pins stuck through both the fabric and the paper to mark other details such as button holes, stitching lines, etc.

Making the new pattern

I then marked all these details carefully onto the new pattern pieces…

New pattern

…and got to cutting out the new fabric. Because this was supposed to be only a muslin to see if I could actually put the blighter together I wasn’t too fussy with the fabric I used and went with the largest piece I had that I didn’t mind wasting. I then started to put the shirt together – most of it went together like a dream but some parts (remember how I said I forgot to take notes on some important steps?) took me an age to figure out. It took lots of running to the wardrobe to check out the construction of other shirts to work it out. After Dajarra saw the beginnings of the shirt he immediately declared he loved the fabric and would actually wear the shirt out of the house, so I began to take care with some of the details that I would ordinarily just skip through on a muslin.  Like this:

Amazing cuff break facing!

and this:


I had so much fun and learned a heap making this shirt and I’m actually immoderately proud of this humble achievement, even though there are definitely a couple of parts that just aren’t right. I’m really looking forward to making another one that’s not made of pink, floral bedsheets.



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