Thursday, 24 May 2018

Green & Cream Test Shirt

18th century shirts are my very favorite kind of shirts, and I have not worn any other sort of shirt for several years. And I need to make more of them, because I intend to keep wearing them indefinitely!

But I want to try making some modern-ish shirts too, mainly because I have too much cotton print in my stash. (Most of the cotton prints are ones I know I didn't buy, and have no specific memory of obtaining. I think they breed.)
I don't expect to wear the modern-ish shirts very often, but I think they'll be useful to have on hand, especially for things that might damage or stain my nice white linen.

I say modern-ish because I just can't do a 100% modern button up shirt. They have so many qualities I hate. They're too fitted! Tapered sleeves and curved side seams and shaped sleeve heads, blagh!
They also sometimes have pockets on the front, which I think is weird for a shirt. And vertical buttonholes are insufferable little bastards that I want nothing to do with.

So I made myself a shirt pattern that I hoped would avoid all these problems, and after one mockup I sewed it up so I could properly work out the fit and construction. This shirt isn't terrible but I still have a few tweaks to make to the pattern. I will post a picture of the pattern the next time I sew it up.

I vaguely based the pattern on a regular modern shirt pattern that I copied for a friend, but I changed every piece so much that the shapes look more like the 1870's shirt from The Cut of Mens clothes than the original shirt.
The cream coloured fabric is a mediocre linen I got from my local fabric store some time ago, and the dark green is cotton. I added the green so it would go with the green and gold buttons I used, though I think it may have been a few too many green pieces.
My buttons, which I bought because they were shiny and green and 50% off.
Everything is machine sewn except the inside edges of the cuffs and collar.

I have several complaints about the pattern. The most noticeable one is that the placket is too narrow. I forgot to consider the fact that I prefer horizontal buttonholes, and so the ends of them are butted right up against the folded edge of the placket. It's not very visible from a distance, but looks terrible upon close inspection.
 There are no underarm gussets, but I still put the little triangular ones on the hem slit. They're too important to leave off!
Besides widening the placket, I also need to lengthen the sleeves a bit, and add more width to the back piece. When I was tracing out the pattern I foolishly forgot to make the back piece wider than the yoke so I could do some pleats or gathers or something, and as a result it feels very strained when I stretch my arms forward.  
The upper collar also need to be a slightly different shape, because it doesn't sit as nicely as it should, and I'm not happy with the way it looks when buttoned up.
I have (very grudgingly) decided to add a small placket on the sleeve next time I make this kind of shirt instead of just making the gap in the bottom of the sleeve seam. I put shiny contrasting buttons on the cuffs and they're underneath my wrists where nobody can see them!

The cuffs also feel uncomfortable. I think this is because of the interfacing. My regular shirt cuffs are just as tight as these ones, but they have no interfacing and they are comfortable. I'm not sure if I want to leave off the interfacing or loosen up the shirt cuffs a bit. 
I have at least 4 or 5 pieces of cotton that are big enough for shirts and that I have no other particular use for, but I'm not sure when exactly I'll sew the next one up.