The Christmas season is upon us and I was inspired to make this shirt for my husband (especially since I never got around to making one for his birthday).
He’s always loved western shirts and I was pretty stoked when I found this legit pattern from 1978 at a yard sale. The pattern, magically, is his same size. YAY ME! I made a men’s size 40 with a 15 1/2″ neck. I used some soft orange plaid cotton flannel from Joann’s, white piping, and pearl snaps. The yoke, front bands and cuff are cut on the bias to add visual interest.
I had a lot of sewing “firsts” with this little shirt. Since this was a gift I really wanted to take my time and do everything right. This is hard for me to do, because I have a hard time planning out how to finish my seams. I think it’s because I can’t visualize how everything goes together until I’m actually doing it.
Chris is incredibly hard on his clothes so I decided to do flat-felled seams for as much as the shirt as possible. However, I goofed a little bit by only skimming the directions in the book I got from the library. Therefore, the pretty flat-felled seams lay on the inside of the shirt instead of the outside, where they would look nicer. Oh well, c’est la vie! I couldn’t figure out a way to do a flat-felled seams on the side seams. Is that even possible? While poking through his other shirts, it appears that most of them are serged along the side seams. So, maybe not.
Chris likes to wear his clothing on the more fitted side. He once to my chagrin, purchased several pairs of stretchy girl’s jeans. I made him return them all due to the appearance of his camel toe. Ick! But I digress, I didn’t need to take out any of the ease, because, well, dudes in the 70′s also liked their clothes supah tight. He doesn’t tuck his shirts in so I shortened this pattern by 4″. I went by the length of a shirt he likes. I didn’t calculate in seam allowances, whoops! So it’s probably an inch too short, but I may just be hyper critical of my work. It’s so hard to step back from something you’ve made and look at it from the macro rather than the micro level.
I originally had planned on using black piping when I purchased the fabric, but I woke up the next day worried it would be too “Nightmare before Christmas”. I switched to white, and I find the result rather pleasing. The white pops against the orange and black and doesn’t make the yoke look like a spider’s web. I was really freaking about that.
This was the first long sleeved shirt I’ve ever made. I became really stuck on the sleeve placket. I ripped it out twice and cussed up a storm at it. I couldn’t figure it out! So I used another style of placket I found in a shirtmaking book. While this is the first cuff and placket I’ve made, I still feel like I need to make another proper placket to be able to say I’ve successfully completed that task.
Another first was using pearl snaps instead of buttons. This was actually pretty fun to do. I didn’t buy a special snap setter or anything. I had to hammer them all on. My apartment manager came up (his office is below our apartment) and asked me to move my little construction site due to the noise. I finished in the lobby which lead to lots of questions, stares, and requests to alter clothes. I’m glad I decided to add another “first” to this shirt by doing snaps. I feel like it’s a proper western shirt with them.
In other news, we saw Other Lives last night at Mississippi Studios and they were rad. They’re also pretty groovy and western. You should give them a listen.