I’ve been sewing for a looonng time and I’ve been with my 💗 a looonng time. However, I’ve never sewn him anything. This brings me onto that old sewing chestnut – selfish sewing – we all know that so-called selfish sewing is a bit of a silly concept. There are many reasons why someone may choose not to sew for anyone but themselves. One being that sewing is often a sanctuary and may be the only opportunity many sewists have to focus on themselves and their own needs. It may be due to the fact that people often don’t value the time and expertise of a crafter and making for others can often be a disappointing experience. In this case I think it’s because I felt that making something for someone else is a highly stressful undertaking. I’m not a perfectionist but I do like things to be done properly. Having said that I can live with a little error or two if it’s something for me but I could not abide someone else spotting an imperfection on something I made for them. Never mind we all know we can make things to a better standard than most of the high street clothes shops and some of the designer ones too. I’ve never sewn him anything because I was afraid of cocking up. Anyway, I have finally done it. This has taken between 23 years (if you consider when I bought the pattern mag) to 2 years – when I bought the fabric, but finally here is MAN SEWING!
I made him a shirt from one of my old Burdastyle magazines. It was Burda Special Männermode 1995 to be specific. I bought this intending to make something way back then, but my shaky memory tells me I couldn’t get him to pick a thing so I tossed it aside. It kept surfacing and I finally decided to give it a go for this summer’s holiday.
The pattern is very Nineties i.e. oversized. It gives me Miami Vice vibes so I made sure to do a toile to check it looked OK in today’s close fitted world. The first thing that struck me was how big the pieces are. I measured thrice and traced my pattern pieces (urrgh) and cut them out but they looked gigantic. It wasn’t until I basted them and got him to try them on that I accepted that I hadn’t messed up.
Once I’d got over that mental hurdle, it was an easy sew. I used some white viscose linen for the practice version, I sewed it up using the overlocker – a note to all out there, if you use your overlocker for the seams remember to adjust your seam allowances or you may end up with your garment being too large. In my haste I sewed one side inside out, but despite this it will be a wearable toile once I tidy up this and a few other errors.
The shirt is quite a loose casual fit with a pleat in the back, drop shoulders and elbow length sleeves. It has a double layered yoke – queue “Burrito Method” installation – and a straight hem. Gary prefers this fit to the ‘fashionable’ (he says it with a bit of a sneer) close fit of the moment. Set the pleat by pressing at the markings and basting along the line. Press the pleat into place and then pin and then stitch one side of the yoke. The sleeves are added on the flat – my preferred method – and the sleeve and side seams are sewn as one – again a real time saver. We were both happy with the fit of the muslin and so I went ahead with the real fabric version.
This fabric came from Minerva two summers ago. I bought two lengths of this, one in a cerise colourway for me and this colourway with the intention of making this shirt. I really don’t know why it took me so long to sew it up.
Probably the most involved technique here is attaching the yokes using the Burrito method. It’s a very smart trick which allows you to make a double yoke without any stitching or raw edges showing. It’s harder to describe than it is to actually do, so I’m going to direct you to one of the many video tutorials which show clearly how to do this piece of sewing sorcery. This one by Stitchless TV is pretty much exactly how I did it.
Since returning to sewing about 3 years ago I have been sewing mostly knits and in a conversation with my new IRL sewing friend, I realised that I hadn’t sewn a buttonhole in all that time! It was time to get out my buttonholer! This gadget is so clever and so easy to use. If your machine does a one step buttonhole, you will have one of these. The attachment clips on just like your other presser feet, there is a gauge which measures your button to set the buttonhole length, and there is a lever which drops down from the main body of the machine to tells it when to turn around and do the second side. So clever and with just a little practice so easy.
I finished just in time to take this on our long summer trip and I’m really pleased with it. At several points throughout the make, he kept standing next to me and saying “It looks like a real shirt!” That was all the seal of approval I needed.
Ever since I knew we planned to go back to Antwerp, I knew I wanted to take a photo here on the Giant Severed Hand Statue (That really is the name of it) I had to have a battle of wills with a small child before we could get our shots, but you have to fight for your art you know!
I’m pleased to say he looks the business, the fit is relaxed, perfect for a summer holiday and the print is suitably loud, just as he likes it. I’m filing this under ‘Hits’ and getting ready to make the many more man sewing projects that are on the list.
What’s the longest you have mulled over a project? How do you get past the procrastination stage? If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them.
Thanks for stopping by.