When Mr D and I were engaged I actually taught him to sew: he made a classic collared shirt for himself under my guidance. It was quite a project for an absolute beginner, but he had an exceptionally patient and indulgent tutor. 😉
Just after we were married we made a few more classic collared shirts together, and he wore them to work. Then I got a job, and life got busy, and he stopped sewing because it just took too long and it was easier to buy shirts and too hard to find good shirting fabric. Still, if Mr D can make a good tailored shirt it’s proof that anyone can!
I still have a soft spot for the classic collared shirt as a sewing project though. There is something so satisfying about a good tailored finish, and I love all the little details: the placket and collar and cuffs and buttons. I learned some really nifty shirt tailoring tricks working with a tailor some years ago, and they are always fun to use. So, last month I taught a classic collared shirt class.
This was my sample shirt:
Isn’t it swish? It fits me, but it’s not really my style. I love making them, but I don’t love wearing them. It’s a combination of three 1970s shirt patterns (Simplicity 5802, Simplicity 5259, and one other which I’m going to have to look up). When it comes to the classic collared shirt, 1970s patterns are where it is at. Other than slightly exaggerated collars (so easy to alter) they really are classic and timeless, and unlike most modern shirt patterns, they really fit. Plus, they have all the details I want: plackets, collar and collar stand, slim fit.
The only thing these ones were missing is a back yoke. I would have altered the pattern to add one, but I was short on fabric.
When I make a woman’s classic collared shirt I like to include traditional masculine details: the collar and placket (I am a huge fan of plackets. I always add plackets to CCS’s, even if the pattern doesn’t have them), with a very feminine silhouette with as many darts as possible.
I also prefer to do simpler, more feminine continuous lap plackets on the sleeves, rather than the heavier, stiffer, more masculine exterior sleeve placket. And I like gathered cuffs rather than pleated cuffs. It’s all about the balance of feminine and masculine to make the classic collared shirt for women work.
I polled you guys on facebook on what buttons to use on the shirt, but ended up blithely ignoring your opinions (sorry) and going for the most boring buttons.
I hope you are impressed with my stripes. They look like they would be really simple, and in some ways they did help the shirt, but they also made it really tricky. Wider stripes are harder with such small details. I had to make sure to cut all my pieces perfectly precisely and sew them perfectly precisely and figure out how to make the stripes match exactly in places like the placket and collar. I was quite pleased with the placket layout in particular.
The fabric is a beautiful 100% cotton shirting that I found in Fabric Warehouses $5 a piece bin. Perfect collared shirt for $5? Yes please!
I’m running another Classic Collared Shirt class in September. Maybe it’s time to make Mr D another shirt for it, to inspire anyone who wants to make a men’s shirt. Maybe he wants to help…