Monday, March 28, 2011

Man's/Boy's Shirt Tutorial (Simplified)

I found a Pioneer Man's Workshirt on line several years ago from The Mountain Man's Sketch Book and have made it in different sizes over the years.  I don't really need this size yet, but thought I'd make it so I could create a man's (or boy's) shirt tutorial.  I don't know if The Mountain Man's Sketch Book is a credible source. I haven't done my research.

From the get-go, you should know:

  • I found in trying it on myself that if I button it, it is rather choking!  If I unbutton it, and let the shirt fall to to the back, it fits more comfortably.  I'm surprised my little boy has never complained of the neck!  Maybe, though, the shirts he has worn were big enough on him that he didn't notice the ill fit.
  • I found this version of the pattern that seems to have more instructions and more of a neck cutting guide -- so it might be better than the version I used.  I'd like to try something from The Workwoman's Guide also, but thought I'd stick with something I was familiar with for now.  Perhaps I'll actually buy a pattern some day, but this will suffice for now.
  • The original pattern calls for a facing for the neck opening.  I've made it that way in the past, as well as tried some other methods, but this time I totally cheated -- you'll see. I didn't even use a facing.
  • You're also supposed to cut a slit in the sleeve for the wrist opening, but again I cheated for simplicity's sake and just left the arm seam open a few inches near the wrist.

The dimensions for this pattern at full size are on the downloads, but if you want to reduce the size, here are the dimensions:

75% (this is the size that almost fits me -- I'm about 5'4")         
Body          22.5" x 49", with the center 17" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves 16" at either end)
Neck          7.5" wide maximum x 3" high maximum*
Neck slit    7.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve        18" high x 20.5" wide -- the 20.5" is the part you gather)
Sleeve slit  5.25" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3.75" deep
Collar        17" x 3"*
Cuff           8.5" x 3"*

65% (boys' 7/8)   
Body          20" x 42", with the center 15" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves 14" at either end)
Neck          6.5" wide maximum x 3" high maximum*
Neck slit    6.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve        15.5" high x 18" wide -- the 18" is the part you gather
Sleeve slit  4.5" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3.25" deep
Collar        15" x 2.5"*
Cuff           7.5" x 2.5"*
Facing       3.25" x 8.25", with a slit cut 6.5" deep from the top

55% (5T)
Body          16.5" x 36", with the center 12.5" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves approximately 12" at either end)
Neck          5.5" wide maximum x 2.5" high maximum*
Neck slit    5.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve        13" high x 15" wide -- the 15" is the part you gather
Sleeve slit  4" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3" deep
Collar        12" x 2"*
Cuff           6" x 2"*
Facing       3" x 7", with a slit cut 5.5" deep from the top

* I'm sure you could keep your collar and cuffs bigger (keep the width the same, but increase the depth so that you have a bigger collar or cuff).  You could also leave your neck hole bigger, rather than reducing it.  Kids' heads are still really big in proportion to their bodies!

Here's how I did it:

1.  Cut or tear the fabric out according to the desired size.  Next time, I may try shifting my neck hole a couple inches to the front to see if that helps alleviate the choking neck line.  Any other suggestions?

2.  Run two gathering stitches (long straight stitches) along the edge of the sleeve (at 1/2" & 1/4").  Gather the sleeves down to fit the appropriate area on the shirt body (according to the pattern dimensions).  Attach the sleeve to the body, right sides together, with a straight stitch 1/2" from the edge of the fabric.  You can zig-zag the edge, or to be a little more authentic, just stitch a second straight stitch 1/8" again closer to the edge. 

3.  Fold the shirt in half and sew your side and underarm seams. I did not sew completely to the wrist, but stopped a few inches short to leave an opening in the seam for a wrist opening (I didn't want to have to bind wrist openings).  Again, you may also zig-zag your seam, or do a second row of straight stitching. 
Here are the few inches I left open in the seam:
I folded the raw edges under 1/4" and again 1/4" and pressed and stitched around the opening:
From the inside:

4.  Run two gathering stitches along the edge of the sleeve.  Pull threads to gather the edge of the sleeve down to fit just inside the wrist band (leave 1/4-1/2" of the wristband sticking out on either side of the gathered sleeve.).

Stitch at 1/2".

Press the wristband away from the sleeve.  Press the short side edges toward the wrong side and then press the long edge also toward the wrong side.
Fold the wristband in half and carefully press and pin.
Stitch along one short side of the wristband, along the long, open side, then along the other short side to close. 
 I made a loop with a button for the closure.
  Repeat on the other sleeve.

5.  Now it's time to finish the neck.  Instead of cutting a facing for the head/neck opening, I just cut away horizontally from the bottom of my vertical slice about 1/2" to either side.  (Looks like the bottom of an "I.")
I folded the fabric to the wrong side 1/4" and again 1/4" and pressed.
Then, I pulled the left side of the shirt directly over the right side of the shirt.
Then I secured the "pleat" with some backstitching.  I also stitched closed the fabric that was pulled to the inside so there wouldn't be a little tube on the inside of the shirt.  I've never done it this way, nor have I ever seen it done this way, but it was easy, and it will be interesting to see how it holds up.  When my little boy wears this shirt he is self-conscious of the shirt being open in the front.  This overlapping at least closes up the front of the shirt.

6.  Then I attached the collar just as I did the wristbands.  I used a button for the closure.  I've also used a tie on one shirt as well as a loop and a button on another.

7.  Hem the bottom.  I folded my hem to the wrong side probably 1/2", then again 1/2", pressed, then straight stitched.


Liz C said...

I spy why the shirt instructions make a "chokey" shirt! The neckline is a round, with the center axis in the middle; human necks are a slightly squashed oval, with the axis in the back 1/3, not the center. If you deepen the curve at the center front, you can make it less chokey. (I hate sewing man clothes.)

Vonnie said...

you make that shirt look pretty simple, I love it!

Rachel said...

I made the size 5 shirt today. Pretty sweet deal, it went together pretty quickly. Thanks for doing all the math for me!

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much! Lengthened this made a fantastic nightgown for Ebenezer Scrooge.

Emily said...

What a fun idea!


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