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Monday, April 09, 2012

Tale of 3 Shirts

Plaid (left) for Tall Boy. Navy linen (centre)
and striped chambray (right) for Stud Muffin.

Two handsome men, three new shirts. The numbers don’t come out even, do they? In this case, my sweetie, Stud Muffin, came out the double winner, and my son, Tall Boy, got just one. I made these shirts in preparation for my One Shirt, Two Ways class a couple of weeks ago auditioning techniques to decide which ones I would include.

Perfecting my shirtmaking abilities has been an on-going project for the past few years. It began one fall when I sewed four shirts in a row and wasn’t happy with a single one. That was when I had the lightning bolt revelation:  there had to be another way of doing things. Notice I didn’t say better. As far as I know, there isn’t one BEST way of doing anything.

Continuous placket - not my fav.
The top "roof" isn't easy to make.
David Page Coffin Placket - I like!
Smooth and easy to sew

Fortunately, I like research. Armed with a shoulder-wrenching load of books and enough videos* to turn my eyeballs red, I dug for new ideas. David Page Coffin, Sandra Betzina, Mike Maldonado, Margaret Islander, Rusty Bobbin, Nancy Zieman, Ron Collins, Pam Erny, and Louise Cutting became my new best friends.

* My darling children called these sewing videos my sewing porn. Charming.

Love the fun with the stripes!
I learned. I experimented. Just when I thought I was done, more shirtmaking resources popped up (got to love the internet).  Yet another variation on a theme. I was amazed – who knew there could be so many ways to sew such a basic garment?

Buttonholes made with vintage Singer Buttnhole
attachment. Simple, perfect buttonholes
every time!
What techniques do I like? Margaret Islander made me rethink seam allowances. I love the 1-piece collar (Zieman, Collins, and Cutting). For front plackets, Nancy Zieman offers several great options. Pam Erny’s blog shows how to reshapecollars for a better fit. Rusty Bobbin has the best shirt deconstruction tutorial I’ve ever seen. David Page Coffin’s book is an all-round great resource and demystifies sleeve plackets.

Do you have any favourite shirtmaking techniques?

                - Lady T

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