Sewing With Scraps: Making a Men’s Shirt

Story time… some fabric arrived a little while ago that my husband took an immediate shine to. It was a beautiful Robert Kaufman flannel and I had ordered it to make myself an autumnal Eliis dress. However, when my husband said he would really love a shirt made from it, I decided I probably have enough sack dresses and it would be lovely to (finally!) make him a shirt. No big deal, I’ve only been sewing ten years and have still never made him a shirt – it’s probably time right?

This is the flannel we both wanted.

Before I was going to actually give over my beautiful new flannel, I wanted to make a toile to see if the pattern fit well and to see if he actually wanted to wear a shirt I had made for him. I went through my stash, showed him the two or three fabrics that I have that would work for a shirt and he chose one. However, before I cut the shirt out, he saw me wearing this dress and asked if we could match! How cute is that?!

This is the dress he wanted to match!
This is the leftover piece I was working with

I pulled the scrap out of my scraps bag and it was touch and go whether I would be able to get it out of the fabric. I had what probably equated to around 1.5m but it was oddly shaped and I wanted to stripe match as much as possible. Eventually I managed to cut out a short sleeved version from the scrap with barely wisps of air left!

I chose the Thread Theory Fairfield shirt as I have made a couple of Thread Theory patterns before with great success. I’ve had to repair these shorts once already because my husband practically lives in them, and this t-shirt is well worn in the winter – his only complaint? that the fabric is too good quality, he doesn’t like how warm it is!!

I took the opportunity to play with stripe direction in the back.

Anyway, the Fairfield shirt seemed like a no brainer and so I cut out the size nearest my husbands measurements – the size L. This is a beautifully written pattern with lots of details packed in if you like technical sewing for example, all of the seams are flat felled, there are separate instructions for interfacing depending on whether you are making a smart or a casual shirt, and both the collar and button bands go together beautifully. I am very impressed with the pattern.

The mismatched stripes went down well on Instagram!

I had a little trouble with pattern matching the pocket because I had so little fabric, I thought I had it matched but when I put it on the pocket placement markings I had cut out the wrong stripes and didn’t even have enough fabric for a pocket sized piece! I asked in my stories, and people unanimously said that it looked good so I kept it. Now I see the shirt on, I think the pocket could have moved up to the matching stripes as it does look a little low, but never mind!

The short sleeved version is a quicker sew than the long sleeved as there are no tower plackets or cuffs. The linen behaves well under the sewing machine and iron and as a result this shirt came together pretty quickly! I am so thrilled to be able to use up a scrap in this way, scrap fabrics often feel like they can only be used for small garments but to now have this option for larger scraps is a game changer. I think it looks good and my husband has worn it regularly since making it so I have conceded that a flannel version would definitely get a lot of wear, watch this space…

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