FACT: I am a selfish seamstress.
I hate sewing for other people. I love being able to pick and choose where to cut corners, where to fudge things, what details to add or omit, and all that. When I sew for someone else, I feel obligated to sew in a textbook fashion, lest they think the item is too obviously homemade. Also: too much pressure.
Still, since I’ve had a bit more sewing time (shockingly to me, having a baby eats up less free time than a long-ass commute), I’ve found it in my cold, dead heart to make a couple of things for others. And I literally mean a couple — just a sleepsack for JuJu (unblogged and unworn at this point), and this shirt for my husband. Oh wait, and a couple of pairs of boxers, but those are so easy that I’ve already forgotten about them.
Another reason why I hate unselfish sewing? Because other people always want details or features that are actually a huge pain in the ass, and they have no way of knowing this when they make the request. They’re not actually trying to torture you, it just kind of turns out that way. For me, men’s shirts epitomize this. Oh, you want me to whip you up a quick garment with a bunch of pieces, fiddly details AND a need for exactitude and perfection in order to look good? Sure thing.
I decided to switch from McCall’s 6613, which is a little boxy, to Simplicity 8427 on a whim, and it was the right decision! (Anecdote: I hate unselfish sewing so much that I made a version of 6613 for my husband YEARS ago — like, before we were married — and I still haven’t sewn the buttons on to give it to him!) Thankfully, this pattern solves my shirt problems and I’m in love!
I am not one to fangirl, but Mimi G has been hitting it out of the park for me lately!
Note 1: This version is kind of a wearable muslin, since the fabric is not ideal shirt fabric — quilting cotton, and not super high-quality at that — so I’m going to focus on the pattern here instead.
Note 2: Part of this being “selfless” involves me not even hinting to the recipient that I would want to take a modeled photo. So you’re stuck with me instead, because I have no shame.
Here’s the quick and dirty: this is a men’s shirt pattern that turns out a quality shirt while using modern methods to make the process easier and more fun. There might be other patterns out there like this, but it was new to me to see these methods included as the main instructions in a Big 4 pattern. What am I talking about?
- Yoke constructed using the burrito method (which I have never been able to really *get* from tutorials before this)
- Sleeves set in the flat
- Buttonholes marked on separate pattern piece to be marked after construction
- Self-fabric facing and interfacing for the front button/buttonhole zones — simple as fold and fold!
- Itty bitty loops that don’t require turning (loop-turning is my current nemesis)
- Minimal hand-stitching and mostly optional top-stitching
There’s nothing revolutionary here, but put together, it made for an awesome sewing experience. So much of the fiddliness was taken out! There was also a tower placket that came together relatively easily. I’ve never done a tower placket before, so I can’t compare if the method was typical or streamlined in any way. But the fact that I made it correctly (and pretty damn neatly) on the first try is a good sign!
And while fit is personal and YMMV, I cut a straight size and it fits my husband much better than I hoped. I was worried it would be too form-fitting and that the sleeves would be too wide and long, but nope! It’s a really nice fit. (My above-average-height husband typically wears a shirt size small because he’s super lean, and I cut a straight 38.)
The only thing I might change is to add collar buttonholes to make this a true “button-down” shirt. Most of my husband’s favorite shirts have this feature, and it goes an extra step to keep things from looking homemade. Also, I might consider adding a sleeve tab if I made this in a casual fabric that was yarn-dyed instead of printed.
Bottom line? I totally recommend this pattern. If you loathe sewing men’s shirts, but feel bad that you never make anything for a dude in your life (or you are a dude in your life or just like this style), consider trying this one. Yes, you’ll spend a bunch of time cutting out a million pattern pieces compared to making a cute something for yourself, but because this is well-drafted and the instructions are clear, you might be surprised at enjoyable it can be.
Welcome to… someone else’s closet, my Foxy Fabric Selfless Shirt!