Adventures in Shirt Making

As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted any garments lately.  That’s not because I haven’t been sewing.  I actually have been sewing a lot — I just don’t have anything completely finished!  I have been making 1920’s outfits for my husband and I for the Gatsby Summer Afternoon next month in Oakland.  My dress is a seafoam and yellow floral chiffon dress from 1928 and I’m also making my hat, purse and gloves to go with it.  I have the buckram for my hat all put together, but had been waiting for my silk dupioni to arrive to cover it.  I already have my shoes, stockings, jewelry and parasol and all the fixings for our picnic.  Right now, I’m working on Brian’s outfit — shirt, vest and golf cap.  We picked up some vintage trousers at a thrift store the other day and I bought a silk foulard tie on ebay for him.  He just needs to get some brown wingtips and he’s set!

So, right now I am working on his shirt.  I made a muslin of it first as I had only made one button down shirt previously and that was a banded collar one I made for myself for an Old West outfit (complete with vest and split riding skirt!).  I am sooo glad that I made a muslin of his shirt first so that I could test out the fit and get the workings of a man’s shirt just right.  I made some mistakes, like the button front closure is on the wrong side…. I knew this while I was sewing, but I didn’t want to waste my time changing it…..  The only thing I have to change with the fit is the collar, as he wants it a little bit looser.  All in all, I think I just a good job for the practicer.  I used up some old buttons and made this into a wearable garment.  Only thing is, the fabric is itchy and he doesn’t want to wear it…. I tried it on and he was right!

I used McCalls 2447 and used some shirting fabric that came in a mystery fabric bundle from Fabric Mart.  This fabric is itchy, like stated before and I still have some left, so I think I will make some kitchen linens with it.

shirt muslin

And no, I didn’t bother ironing or hemming this….

shirt muslin 2

And no, Brian didn’t want to show his face…. I made him try this on when he’d just returned from a day at his school getting his classroom ready. :)

I am making a different view of this shirt, as this is the more casual one.  The one I’m making has a wider collar, collar stays, and wider cuffs with cuff links.  I am making a classic dress shirt in a blue Burberry herringbone stripe shirting with white cuffs and collar.  I happened to luck out and find this fabric a while back on Fabric Mart deeply discounted to $2.50/yd.  It is a sublime shirting with a little bit of a sheen.  I also bought four yards of it in a burgundy stripe that I will someday use in a garment for myself when I can figure out which garment….

burberry shirt etc

That’s the vintage 20’s/30’s silk foulard tie I bought.  I thought about making one and decided I’d rather just buy it…. It doesn’t exactly match the shirting fabric, but does look good with that fabric and the vest fabric (which is navy).  Brian is probably going to go without a blazer as we think it will be too hot.  I am not sure if I will be using those buttons or not.  I got them a few weekends ago in a clearance bin at Beverly’s for 20 cents a strip and they seem to match.  Although I am well versed on women’s fashions of the 1920’s, I was not so on the men’s, so I’ve been doing a bit of research on that.  They did a lot of mix and match prints and I’m trying to be a bit historically accurate.  I’ve also been looking at photos from past Gatsby afternoon’s as well as giving Brian options and letting him choose what he wants to wear.  After all, he’s the one wearing it!   This is the first thing that I’ve ever sewn for him, BTW!  I’m looking forward to showing you the completed ensembles. :)

Happy Sewing!


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  • Gjeometry

    Oh my goodness, I totally want to see your Great Gatsby makes!! I just sewed and blogged a drop waist dress and really love the fashions of the 20s. Wish I was going to the Gatsby Summer Afternoon, I could wear my new dress! The shirt is looking good, as well!

    • tanya maile

      I’m looking forward to it as well! I’ve had many of the patterns and fabrics for months and a picture on my head and can’t wait to see it all come to fruition.

  • sewexhausted

    I am totally looking forward to seeing the clothing you are making for you Gatsby Summer Afternoon. It sounds like so much fun! ~Laurie

    • tanya maile

      I can’t wait either!!