Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Men's Casual shirts - A Student Accomplishment

 This month in the studio a student of mine .....dear Elizabeth, made these shirts for her beau.  He has an upcoming trip to Hawaii and she thought he should have appropriate attire for the occasion.

The skills learned during this project were:

1.  Crisp and proper pockets ( Elizabeth's pride and joy)
2. Buttonholes
3. Collars
4. Top stitching with doubled thread
5. How to cut and mark difficult fabrics ( the blue bamboo)
6. Cutting out a garment with a rotary cutter instead of scissors.
7. Altering the pattern based on a shirt we knew fit him well.
8. Using a serger/over lock machine.  Blade engaged and not engaged, convex and concave curves.

Here they are neatly folded and ready to be gifted:)
These are not her first shirts mind you....I believe her 2nd or 3rd if memory serves.  Her first were more difficult dress shirts and although accomplished successfully, she desired, as do we all, to improve on her first results.  In particular the quality of her pocket .  Additionally she wanted to try her hand at a slightly more difficult fabric.  This pattern was a wise choice for these goals because the simplicity of the shirt allows you to focus on the new skills, while not becoming overwhelmed by the whole project.

Both were made from the same pattern.  Repeating the same task is very helpful in learning new skills, conquering them and imprinting them into your new skill sets.

This shirt is made from Bamboo, it was the 2nd to be made due the higher difficulty level.  The fabric behaves like a rayon challis and is quite a bit more squirreley(so not a word apparently imagine that ..) then previous projects Elizabeth worked on.

This first version is hemp and you can see has quite a bit more body then the bamboo.  It was the perfect training ground. The fabric was easy to work to sew and press.

The shirt has a minimal amount of top stitching but Elizabeth chose to add this small touch at the shoulder line.  She learned how to use 2 threads through her needle to achieve a bolder line.  

Inside each shirt pocket she placed a small hand embroidered initial.
How romantic.

Less romantic was learning how to use the serger.  
This is one of the advantages to learning in my studio, important equipment, like the serger to try out. Multiple machines, various notions and tools are all ready at hand.

This button and button hole are one of the many new things that Elizabeth conquered on this project.  
She used a new tool for these as well, my singer buttonhole attachment which provides a beautiful rounded on both ends proper shirt/dress buttonhole.  This was accomplished on my Singer 401.
  Another hurdle conquered as she learned how to thread and operate yet another machine.

This beautifully pink machine is Elva Mae and belongs to Elizabeth...of course.  
This is the machine she primarily used for this project.
Here it is threaded for that double thread top stitching.  
This machine has such a beautiful even feed, a lovely stitch and the smoothest pedal action.  No delay at all and it can sew incredibly slowly.  It does a rather wide zig zag and the the feed dogs can be dropped.  The only downside is that the needle position is to the far left.....which takes some getting used to and limits the types of feet you can use with it.  It is as heavy as the dickens and will be awesome no doubt for free motion quilting.


  1. Elizabeth did a beautiful job with those shirts. I'm sure her beau will be delighted.

  2. Elizabeth did a lovely job. I knew as soon as I saw them that it was her project! And I am so in love with the wonderful pink machine......only two things could improve upon it.....1)If it was green, and 2)If it belonged to me! LOL

  3. The dressing sense of you is very important these days to make a good impression of you on a people around you.These days hwile going  out or at work the dressings is very important for both men and women.

    T-shirt printing


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