Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Menswear, linen shirt

Today is my husband's birthday, and my gift to him is a linen shirt.  Handmade by me, of course!  He requested that I make him some linen shirts after he bought himself one and loved the feel of the linen and its amazing wearability.  In my opinion the only downside to linen is its high crease factor, but this is acceptable in a casual garment.
So, being a birthday present I had to make this one on the sly, which wasn't easy!  He always seemed to be popping in to the laundry(my sewing room), or coming home from work early, or getting up in the morning earlier than expected; just when I was sneaking in a bit of birthday shirt construction time!
I used Burda 7767 for the pattern; and I had decided on this pink handkerchief linen with gunmetal blue topstitching because he has a pair of pinstripe navy pants that don't really have a shirt to go with in his wardrobe.  I really like the combination of navy and pink.  Also our eldest son commented that he would like a pink shirt, so I figured that if my husband didn't like it then I thought he could have it!!
Luckily my husband does really like it.  The sizing was my biggest worry, as obviously I couldn't fit it to him during construction, being a secret.  I measured it up against other shirts in his wardrobe.  It fits perfectly well, luckily, but I will be making a few minor adjustments to future shirt-making efforts.  Namely making the armholes just a tad deeper, at his request.  I also just made a basic shirt this time, with no fancy design features, but will play a bit with other details next time...
I used the new collar construction technique that I learnt from my mother's Louise Cutting DVD (through Threads magazine), but as this was a bit of a rushed, secret sewing job I didn't take any photos of this process.  I will take photos next time and post them, as I feel this is a marvellous method that eliminates some of the excess fabric bulk within the collar and results in a cleaner more streamlined collar.
I am a tiny bit disappointed with some of my topstitching on the sleeve placket (see photo), and being such a high contrast in colours it really stands out!  However my husband nearly always rolls up the sleeves on his casual shirts anyway, so it won't really matter that much.  In future I will be more careful and spend more time on getting this just right. 


  1. The shirt looks really good! I must have made about 10 men's shirts by now, and I have to say it is hard to get the topstitching on the sleeve placket exactly right. The differences thickness inside of the placket take care of that. If you like to play around with the traditional details in finish and construction of men's shirts, I can recommend the book 'Shirtmaking' by David Page Coffin (I've been able to borrow a copy from my local library several times, but if I couldn't, I would seriously consider buying one)

  2. An amazing feat. Craig must be very proud of you. It sounds like the book would be good. There are some old articles in the Threads mag. about getting the curve on the collar.Mum

  3. It has been some time since I visited website with such high quality information. Thank you so much for providing such helpful information about linen shirts.