A Celebration of Concentration

Remember I told you I was making my first ever man’s shirt and, as that represented quite a challenge for me, I was going to take it slowly, make a muslin* which, in the best case scenario, would be wearable and follow a sew along by somebody much more adept than me in the shirt making field?  Well, I didn’t lie.

(* for the non-dressmakers amongst you, a muslin or toile is a sort of try out of the pattern to test fit etc.)

This is the Walden (or Negroni) by Colette and was recommended by many so I thought I’d give it a go.  I thought I’d go with the short sleeved version first as it will hopefully still be warm around here for a couple of months yet and used a locally bought, reasonably priced fabric for the muslin rather than cut into the Liberty tana lawn I’d bought specifically for the purpose shown below.

The man in question – aka Mr. Tialys – didn’t want any pockets which was fine by me so, with those out of the equation, plus no plackets on cuffs which the long sleeved version has, it was a little less daunting than it could have been.

So, some of the ‘challenges’ –

This is the back yoke and you can see that there are a couple of pleats incorporated in the body of the shirt.

This is one of the felled seams of which I am quite proud as it goes right round the armscye (or ‘armhole’ when I’m not speaking ‘dressmaker’).

Not too many buttonholes which I did on the machine anyway and, for the first time, I used my machine to sew the buttons on – which was fun.

You will be relieved to know that this is not a real person’s neck – not even one used in a scary cosmetics advert about ageing. It is, of course, one of my antique mannequins doing the modelling honours.

The kind of collar on the short sleeved version is called a camp collar :/  It’s a bit weird – having a button loop right up on that left hand side of the shirt front which would, if somebody wanted to throttle themselves, loop over a tiny button just under the right hand side of the collar.  As if.  However, I was being an obedient pattern follower so I did the loop but drew the line at a tiny button.

Reader – it fit!


Excuse the tatty jeans but he was gardening or something when I forced him to model which, as you can tell, he feels supremely comfortable about 😉

Next time I will be sensible and make an XL which is what Mr. T. is in RTW stuff as he is very tall but the measurements on the pattern sounded enormous so I thought a large would do which it sort of does but with not much wriggle (or pretend pointing into the distance) room.

Anyway, I have decided that much as I love the idea of it when somebody tells me they ran up a dress in a couple of hours, I get much better results when I find something a bit of a challenge because when I concentrate, I slow down and don’t make as many mistakes.  I have ‘run up’ so many ‘easy’ tops and dresses on my overlocker and ended up throwing them away that I’m determined to treat every new thing I make as if I’ve never made it before and concentrate!

Having said that, I did make a tunic top in a knit fabric for Mlle. Tialys the Younger yesterday which I did fairly quickly but definitely not in two hours.  Photos to follow soon if I can persuade her to get out of bed allow me to take some photos.

Meanwhile, another shirt shot, another antique mannequin neck.

You are not going mad, these are the same doors as in the first photo but I was playing around with my photo editing and thought the turquoise colour in the first shot showed the fabric of the shirt up better.  The doors are actually red.

How about you? Do you find you sometimes mess things up when you think it’s going to be easy or you’ve made something so many times already you make silly mistakes through being over confident?  Or is it just me?

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  1. #1 by claire93 on September 10, 2017 - 14:44

    congratulations to both seamstress and live model. The shirt is brilliant, and all the détails (yoke, felled seams and pleats) look spot on to me! I agree that Mr T could probably do with a XL when you cut into your expensive fabric, for a bit more ease and possibly length, but this first shirt is perfectly wearable and looks very dashing with the gardening jeans.
    Re those people who can run up an item of clothing in only hours . . . I’m not one of them and I don’t think I would ever wish to become one of them lol. I like to take my time, and endless coffee breaks while sewing. It usually takes me a couple of hours just to decide on fabric and cut out pattern pièces anyhow, so even a simple item (like recent tunic) usually extends over 3 afternoons of sewing.

    • #2 by tialys on September 10, 2017 - 20:04

      Coffee breaks are essential!

  2. #3 by PendleStitches on September 10, 2017 - 15:31

    This shirt is wonderful. Are you sure this is the first attempt? 😉 Mr T is wasted….he should be a knitwear model at the very least!
    I’m so over “running up” a “quick” garment. Mine always end up in the bin too. Slow and thoughtful is the way forwards, I think.

    • #4 by tialys on September 10, 2017 - 19:57

      Well, it didn’t do Roger Moore any harm did it? 😉

  3. #5 by Lynda on September 10, 2017 - 17:02

    Claire, I love this shirt, especially the fabric. I don’t have x-ray vision and therefore can’t see your errors, but I think it looks fabulous! I have been practicing flat felled seams on fun boxer shorts for summer. The curved seams do get easier. I am impressed with how flat yours are!

    BTW, I love what you’ve accomplished with the photo editor too, because you have given me an idea for color auditioning on my kitchen cabinets! THANK YOU. This will make the job more fun and get a color that will truly please me when I have finished the job. Genius!

    • #6 by tialys on September 10, 2017 - 19:54

      Errors?! You must be mistaken – I have made absolutely no errors at all on this shirt because I took my time and concentrated. Well, maybe one or two teeny ones but, by and large it’s error free by my standards. I think, if felled seams have to be practised, it should be done on boxer shorts – with lots of fitting sessions 😉
      I did think about colour auditioning too once I’d messed around in my editing program – I thought those doors might look very good in turquoise but I do actually love them in red so I’ll leave them for now but it does give you a good idea of how things might look doesn’t it? I hope you have fun with choosing your colours.
      Just saying – I’m a ‘Lynn’ not a ‘Claire’ but, despite that, I’ve just subscribed to your blog as I keep seeing your avatar everywhere and, anyway, you have a photo of Dumbo on your latest post so I could no longer resist.

  4. #7 by nanacathy2 on September 10, 2017 - 17:32

    Reader is well impressed. A stunning shirt! I make mistakes all the time whatever I do!

    • #8 by tialys on September 10, 2017 - 19:45

      It’s how we learn isn’t it? Or at least that’s what they tell us 😉

  5. #9 by Janice Marriott on September 10, 2017 - 23:36

    Im impressed! and I like the cheapo fabric.

    • #10 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 10:39

      Thanks Jan – it wasn’t that cheapo actually but bought locally so no p&p. In fact, because I bought the tana lawn with 60% off, it actually worked out at the same price. Still, I would still be more upset if I messed up with the Liberty.

  6. #11 by katechiconi on September 10, 2017 - 23:53

    Lacking confidence in these matters, I don’t tend to forge ahead without concentrating quite so much. I also completely fail to make muslins because I only make the simplest possible patterns… And I too tend to disbelieve pattern sizing and make the dratted thing a smidge too small so that it’s either unwearable or a fraction too snug. Now that I have a couple of tried and tested garments, though, I crank those out without too much trouble. It does make my dressmaking rather limited, though.
    M. Tialys looks very handsome in his shirt, even if modelling will never be his profession of choice!

    • #12 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 10:37

      All the big pattern companies vary in their sizing and so do the independents so, unless you use a particular pattern maker a lot, I always find it a bit of a gamble. I guessed about the size for a tunic I made at the weekend for youngest daughter but it fits her perfectly – although if I make it again in a knit fabric with more (or less) stretch that will affect the sizing too. It makes me appreciate quilt making as there are at least no fitting problems.

      • #13 by katechiconi on September 11, 2017 - 11:29

        …unless you have a problem maintaining a quarter inch seam allowance, in which case it could end up a tad small!

      • #14 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 16:05

        True, but at least you could add a border I suppose whereas that just wouldn’t look right on an item of clothing 😉

      • #15 by katechiconi on September 11, 2017 - 17:43

        Can you imagine, a nice thin strip of contrasting fabric up the centre back of a shirt, to give you some breathing room. Hmmm… that gives me an idea about taking in a shirt that’s (gasp!) too big now…

  7. #16 by Ann on September 11, 2017 - 00:26

    Great shirt, great model, and impressive photo editing! What program did you use to change the door color? I’m always up for learning new tricks. And I feel no need to rush… relaxing enjoyment is the whole point of handmade, if you ask me.

    • #17 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 10:29

      Thanks Ann. I use Gimp (free to download) for all my photo editing. I’m sure it’s more limited than a lot of the expensive products but it does most of the things I need. I can only tell you what I do in Gimp which is to open the photo you want to edit, select ‘Colours’ from the task bar and then ‘Hue-Saturation’ from the drop down menu that appears. Select the colour you want to mess with – in my case it was red – and then use the slider bar in ‘Hue’ to change the colour – I had the option of turquoise, through royal blue, purple, orange, yellow and lime green. Have fun.

  8. #18 by Trisha on September 11, 2017 - 00:40

    That’s a very smart shirt, looking forward to the Liberty version

    • #19 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 10:29

      Hmm. I’m wondering whether to go mad and make the long sleeved version – I might do if I have enough fabric.

  9. #20 by poshbirdy on September 11, 2017 - 13:42

    Cool shirt. Lovely arm seam. You are rightly proud!

    • #21 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 16:05

      Sometimes you just have to give yourself a pat on the back don’t you? Usually, I’m cursing myself so it makes a nice change 🙂

  10. #22 by Ann on September 11, 2017 - 14:06

    Thank you so much for the color-change instructions! I’m excited to try it. 🙂

  11. #24 by jendavismiller on September 11, 2017 - 16:17

    Well hello Mr T! And furry photo-bomber! I like the fabric on this “practice” shirt and hope it gets some wear. Looking forward to the new version. Those necks are terrifying and have me reaching for my moisturizer… Oh, and indeed I make silly mistakes (one is so boldly furnished to the world via IG just today) but overconfidence is certainly not an issue! yikes. I keep hoping it will get easier.

    • #25 by tialys on September 11, 2017 - 17:07

      I don’t ‘do’ IG because I don’t dare take on anything else that will necessitate me being online more than I already am so I will just assume your newest work is wonderful.

      • #26 by jendavismiller on September 12, 2017 - 13:03

        Haha! It is certainly a time-sucker, but a fun one. Fingers crossed on upcoming works….. 😉

  12. #27 by Kim on September 11, 2017 - 17:37

    Good looking shirt Mrs T. Slow sewing is definitely the way to go 😃.

    • #28 by tialys on September 12, 2017 - 18:19

      You are the expert so I will take heed.

      • #29 by Kim on September 12, 2017 - 19:57

        Ooh no! Not expert 😱

  13. #30 by Born To Organize on September 11, 2017 - 17:50

    You’ve done a beautiful job with this shirt. I haven’t made one in years, but I remember the complexity and detail. Mr. T. makes a fine model, and though perhaps you would like the shirt a bit more roomy, my guess is that the large with a bit of lengthening would do the trick. It’s funny, but the pattern, though not exactly the same, reminds me of a shirt my husband wore the day we left for our honeymoon. I keep doing double-takes. Are you excited to make it again?

    • #31 by tialys on September 12, 2017 - 18:19

      Well, I’ve just had some success with a tunic top for my daughter – to be seen in my next post – so I might make another of those and then the shirt. If I’ve got enough fabric I will make it with long sleeves so he can wear it through autumn and winter. I’m glad I was able to bring back happy memories 🙂

      • #32 by Born To Organize on September 19, 2017 - 02:29

        Thank you! I’m looking forward to the next post.

  14. #33 by magpiesue on September 11, 2017 - 19:00

    Well done you! Taking your time and concentrating are definitely the way to go for jobs such as this. I applaud your effort and your success (and your live model!).

    • #34 by tialys on September 12, 2017 - 18:17

      It’s just a shame it has taken me so long to come to this conclusion.

  15. #35 by Dartmoor Yarns on September 12, 2017 - 17:49

    Damn fine shirt! Damn scary mannequin as you scroll down thinking it’s person! Think I’d better go for a lie down.

    • #36 by tialys on September 12, 2017 - 18:15

      I can foresee the day – not too far off now – when I look in the mirror and see something similar :/

  16. #38 by Beads and Barnacles on September 18, 2017 - 10:44

    Ooh a man’s shirt. I haven’t even got round to making a proper sorry for me yet. This one looks great.
    Some times I need to slow down and focus on my sewing but most of my makes recently have just been things like t shirts so I do tend to power through. Although I possibly did make a ballgown in a few hours the other day…

    • #39 by tialys on September 20, 2017 - 14:38

      Well then, in that case you’re definitely ahead of me in the ‘proper’ makes.

      • #40 by Beads and Barnacles on September 23, 2017 - 22:16

        Lol I’m not sure it really counts. Crush velvet hides a multitude of sewing sins

  17. #41 by dezertsuz on September 25, 2017 - 03:44

    It’s just you. LOL, no I think that’s probably true of everyone. I must tell you I’m very impressed with how the lines of pattern are synced with the yoke, even with pleats! Great job.

    • #42 by tialys on September 25, 2017 - 08:04

      I think that might have been a case of more luck than judgement actually.

  18. #43 by Thimberlina on October 2, 2017 - 23:06

    Mr T looks super cool posing even though he’s not comfortable with it!
    I have this pattern (I’ve had it ages!) and maybe should make it for my dad as a surprise – it’s his 70th birthday in November. He’s not a smart shirt sort of person and this casual style would be perfect for him. I’m still in shock your sewing clothes…. I must carry on catching up!!

    • #44 by tialys on October 3, 2017 - 08:22

      Well, I’ve got too many clothes really – my eldest lives in the U.K. now and makes her own, the youngest is not that enthused (can you tell?) so I thought I’d inflict my efforts on Mr. T. I’m going to make the pattern again – it’s a really good one – with the Liberty tana lawn I bought and also with the long sleeves. Sleeve plackets and shirt cuffs here I come!

      • #45 by Thimberlina on October 7, 2017 - 01:07

        It does look really good and I bet he’ll be chuffed you’re sewing for him. Maybe you should make the cosmox trunks and get him to do some proper modelling! :-0

      • #46 by tialys on October 7, 2017 - 08:33

        Or maybe I’ll just knit him some socks.

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