I have made a few shirts for my husband over the last couple of years and have previously used the ‘Gentlemen’s Wardrobe’ book which contains both long and short sleeved versions. Much as my husband appreciated them I have never been quite happy with the fit at the collar which is a little on the tight side, this isn’t really an issue in that he doesn’t tend to fasten the top button anyway but it is something that as always bugged me and I have not felt that I have the experience to change it.
I recently won the Wendy Ward ‘Basics for Everyone’ book when I took part in the @Sewover50 challenge (#so50visible) on Instagram, this challenge showcases pattern companies that use older models for their advertising/pattern illustrations.
I modelled the Closet Case Sienna Maker Jacket for the challenge whilst also adding the #poselikethemodel.
The book contains several patterns that can me adapted for both male and female, including a jumpsuit, coat and shirt so my first make from the book was the Rowan Shirt.
The shirt offers several different options in both length, sleeve style and shape of hem. My husband opted for a short sleeved shirt and I sent for this fun holiday print for him from Textile Express.
One thing that I noticed straight off is that the instructions in Wendy Ward’s book are far user friendly than in the Gentlemen’s Wardrobe book, the first time I attempted a shirt for my husband with the Gentleman’s Wardrobe book I spent hours on the internet following tutorials. One of the first stages was preparing the front plackets for the buttons and buttonholes. This book uses a different method than I have used before. Previously I have used a separate placket piece whereas Wendy’s book simply folds the front over. One thing I would say is that I did change her method slightly. In the book the instructions ask you to cut along the cutting line and then turn the fabric over once then unless you add binding to the edge you will be left with a raw edge (this could be finished with an overlocker). I really appreciate nice finishes on the inside of the garment so I decided to cut the front pieces wider so the I could turn the edges over twice thus tucking all the raw edges inside.
One thing that is explained really well in the book is the burrito method. This is a great method and ease once you get the hang of it and gives a really nice finish on the inside with the shoulder seams concealed.
The collar and collar stand are also very well explained but one thing I would point out is that if you have a directional print then you need to cut out your collar pieces so they appear upside down otherwise when you fold the collar down your pattern design will be standing on its head!
Another thing I really like about these instructions is that the sleeves are attached on the flat – this is definitely my favourite method for adding sleeves. I also like how the sleeve heads are finished off with binding and then top stitched into place. On my previous shirts I have used the flat felled method which is so fiddly and I can guarantee that I usually miss a section that doesn’t catch in the stitching.
Overall I am really pleased with how the shirt turned out and the fit is much better around the neck. It is a more loose fitting shirt my design and I could possibly go down a size for him next time. Hubby is very pleased with his new shirt and he will certainly look the part when we can finally go on holiday (at the time of writing we are about 8 weeks into lockdown).
I look forward to making some other items from Wendy’s book and may treat myself to a new shirt, I am sure I have some suitable fabric in my stash. I will also refer to these instructions should I use a different pattern, well written instructions make sewing so much easier.