Posted in sewing, Shirt-making, Style

The “Perfect Shirt” Project: Finished at Last!

There can be no doubt about it: I take longer than anyone on the face of the earth to complete a project. But, in my defence, I’d like to think that the project teaches me lots along the way and the final product is one that meets my initial objectives. Well, this one does!

I started this project in search of the perfect, perfectly-fitted shirt. My personal style runs toward the tailored and since I no longer need suits for my day-to-day life (actually, the last two decades of my career needed them less and less), tailored shirts with crisp collars are a nice, more casual alternative (sans jacket). And they look equally great with dressy pants and jeans.

I began this project in January before I left for vacation, before we all faced what is turning out to be some kind of existential challenge around the globe. But throughout it all, some things provide stability and meditative equanimity. For me, that’s a long, involved design and sewing project. This one was perfect for that.

When I first began exploring this project, I said the following:

“…A shirt can say corporate meeting. It can say casual Saturday. It can say sexy Saturday night. Youthful, put-together, classic, chic, tasteful, refined and classy – these are all words that come to my mind when I think of a classic shirt…”

And I hold to that. It all depends on the fabric and how the shirt is styled. Anyway, I then created a test shirt that was a kind of “frankenstyle” mash-up of fabrics that allowed me to test the fit, design lines and a few techniques, like sleeve plackets.

Then I loosened up the pattern, removed the waist darts and the back yoke and whipped it up in a light-weight, summery fabric that took on the flavour of a “blouse” rather than a traditional mens-wear-inspired shirt. I really loved that one – alas, it still has no buttons since the button stores are all closed (see above our existential crisis at the moment).

Then it was on to the final design.

I brought the fabric home from my Florida vacation and I must say it was wonderful to work with and it feels extraordinary. I think that even my Brooks Brothers shirts are not as comfortable.

By the time I got to this one, I could have made it with my eyes closed. I even finished the side seams and the sleeve seams with French seams but I still find it best to serge the armhole seam. I once again tried to use the rolled hem foot to complete the hem, but I have to say that it’s a bit too tricky. I can get a few inches on the sample but more than that and it’s a hot mess. So the hem is turned twice as usual.

When it came time to do the finishing touches, it suffered from the same problem as in the last version: no buttons! Button stores closed! I have so many buttons but not the nine or so matching, navy blue ones that I so needed. That’s when I got creative.

I have a well-loved Diane von Furstenberg silk twill blouse that had developed a very nasty tear along its piped armscye. And since it had always been rather generous on me (my husband says I buy many of my clothes too big), I had decided to recycle the silk which is lovely into a smaller top. That sucker had buttons — buttons that I was not likely to use in the new project. So, of course, I cut one off and voila! I had buttons to complete this project. And don’t you love the look or pristine machine-made buttonholes before you cut them open?

The shirt is finished and ready for its first outing. The only problem is that it seems a bit much for wearing from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen, don’t you think?

Oh well, the restaurants and the shops and the offices will re-open some day and I’ll have plenty of opportunities to wear it. Stay safe everyone! Now , let’s all go wash our hands again!

Author:

...a Toronto woman of a ‘certain’ age who writes women’s fiction and business books...deeply interested in fashion, but mostly style, which as anyone knows is not the same thing...designs patterns, sews, reads style books...Gloria Glamont is my pseudonym.

8 thoughts on “The “Perfect Shirt” Project: Finished at Last!

  1. Washed hands down, that is a terrific shirt. In fact, all three of them are pretty darn spectacular. I love a classic shirt, and you look fabulous in one. Turned up collar, A other favourite of mine. I’m so happy for you that your efforts have paid of so wonderfully. (I’m having button issues too! ) what’s next?
    Joyce, from Sudbury

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you, Joyce! I have a lot of shirts but this is the most comfortable! I am planning another “project” – a tailored jacket learning all the ins and outs of traditional and speed tailoring. (Wish me luck on that one). But I want to feel the fabric for that before i buy so will have to wait until the fabric stores are open. (At least I hope I can wait.) In the meantime, I have a small project to create some soft knit shirts since I’m forced into a RTW fast. I prefer to try on my clothes before I buy so not so much online shopping these days! Keep well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely! Congratulations on the beautiful “perfect” shirt. I enjoyed reading about your process. 🙂

    Warm regards, Suzan

    >

    Like

    1. Thank-you so much! I’m delighted that you enjoyed reading about the process. Sharing this gives me a kind of documentation of my work. The fact that others enjoy it is a real bonus for me. Stay well!

      Like

    1. Thank-you! I truly love the process of planning, researching and thinking about the project as it moves from step to step. Fast-fashion sewing isn’t my style. So happy there are others (like yu!) who appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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