Friday, May 27, 2011

Project 17: Black Linen Dress Shirt

Well, that was fun! I just made my first dress shirt and it came together easily. I drafted myself a new pattern, taking all my favorite features from my current crop of dress shirts and combining them with some ideas of my own. The base material is black linen, which I purchased in bulk online from If you can buy the whole bolt, you save a great deal of money. This material would probably be about $18 a yard in a fabric store, but I got it for about $9 a yard by buying a 12 yard bolt.

I made the placket and collar band out of black silk dupioni. I hoped to add a touch of pizzaz, but it's too subtle, I think. My humble mistakes this time were:
  • Not turning under the seam allowance on the inside of the collar band before constructing it. That would have made the topstitching on the inside of the band come out much better.
  • After serging the side seams closed, I stitched them to the body of the shirt, but went a little quickly on one of them and made a swerve.
  • I put the button holes on the cuffs on the wrong sides again!!!!

I'm really looking forward to making the next dress shirt. If I've learned my lesson from the mistakes listed above then the next one is going to be hard to tell from a professionally made shirt. So. Excited.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Project 16: Neckties

I have to admit that I love ties. They are one of the only pieces in menswear in which you can use shiny, colorful fabric. They are also such an icon of masculinity, which to a gay man is very inspiring.

The most difficult aspect of this project was pattern and construction method selection. I watched videos on YouTube, looked for patterns online and from the big pattern manufacturers. Nothing was quite right. I wanted a traditional lining (also called 'tipping') that folded over the bottom edge, but I didn't want to do the hand stitched seam up the back. I finally gave up and drafted my own pattern, which after quite a few botched attempts works well.

Just for fun, I purchased some labels for my creations that read "Taigh Sheumais Fashions." They make good keepers for the backs of neckties, I've found.

I've gotten all the usual questions. "Why make a tie when you can buy one for $10 at Macy's?" Because, darling, the $10 tie you buy at Macy's is made out of polyester. It looks cheap. Look at the silk ties for $60 and up. I can make one of those for about $12 now.

I love sewing. I love ties. I love men wearing ties. I love men absentmindedly stroking their ties. Oops - was that my outside voice?