Monthly Archives: June 2013

Shirt-making: Yay or Nay?


Shirt-making is not for the faint of heart.

I am talking about tailored dress shirts for men or women that you might buy at Brooks Brothers or Nordstrom. Starched. Crisp. Plenty o’topstitching. You definitely need to put your big-girl panties on before you tackle plackets, collar stands, collars and cuffs on these babies.

Recently I decided to add a few must-be-ironed-before-wearing items to my overwhelmingly knit wardrobe. I broke out my yet-untested Classic Shirt pattern by Ce Podolak and traced off my size according to the pattern measurements. I grabbed some nice white cotton with blue stripes from my stash, cut it out and fused Light Shirt Crisp interfacing to the collar, cuffs, collar stand, and front plackets.

Problem #1. No instructions in the envelope. Not that surprising, really, as I probably own a couple of hundred patterns, and those instructions could have snuck their way into any one of the envelopes. I planned to use the same process (mostly) as I do on my husband’s dress shirts, so no biggie.

Problem #2. After mostly completing the shirt, I tried it on for fitting. Uh oh. Looked like a sack. I added the optional back darts to try to introduce a little more shape into the garment. Better, but not great. More drastic measures required. I re-shaped the side and sleeve seams to remove the excess fabric bulk (i.e. I serged off a huge swath of fabric on both sides). MUCH better. Ahhhh, Ce’s web site says “Cecelia began designing The Classics to help fill a void for better-fitting patterns for the mature figure.” That’s the problem – my immature figure! 😉

The good news is I have an actual shirt in my closet. But it is just an OK shirt IMHO. Not terrific, not terrible, just OK. My favorite part is the KILLER cute buttons from Stitches. They increase my enjoyment factor immensely.


I should probably write some tutorials for you wonderful readers about shirt-making, because I have tweaked and tuned the process enough that I can help you make a pretty great-looking shirt. Hmmm, something to ponder!

Have you ever made a tailored shirt? Did you enjoy the process? What worked and what didn’t for you? Are you inspired to try again? Do tell!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen