A Manly Shirt that you can sew in a day

IMG_4632The last thing I sewed for my son was a vampire cape, black satin (of course) with a stand-up collar and red lining. That was awhile back. So when he said he would like a new shirt, I jumped at the chance to sew for My Only.

Of course, once committed, I worried. The fabric…the pattern…what to choose…how to choose. After all, we do want to please, right? But then, one day while traveling through the lovely town of Sisters, Oregon, he agreed to wander through a fabric store with me. That’s when I knew things were going to be OKAY. In his usual decisive fashion, he found a fabric he liked in record time. One store. Five minutes of browsing. Choice Made!! (If only I could shop like that.)

IMG_4641The fabric that caught his eye was a nice white cotton, decorated with colorful bicycles. Since he’s heading to Washington D.C this fall to be a congressional intern, he was all over this fabric. Bicycles to him meant – – Bicycle Commuters! Alternative Transportation Policies!

The fabric choice was easy. Finding a pattern? Not so much.
 Did you know there are zillions of men’s shirt patterns out there? Perhaps, I’m the only clueless one, but I just have to say, I was shocked at how many choices there were. The Big Four offered many, which is great and (almost) to be expected, but many Indie pattern designers are in on this too, which means there are so many possibilities, you can’t help but find something that works. Honestly, when it comes to sewing pattern options, the choices are endless. Isn’t it a great time to sew?
IMG_4637 Back shot of the yoke
At first glance, many of the versions looked similar. On closer examination though, you find there are subtle differences in the cut of the bodice, the collars, even the sleeve cuffs!! Then, when you try to pair the patterns to the needs of the man you are sewing for, things can get rather….mmmm….complicated. If you quiz that man, you might be as surprised (as I was) to discover that, although they seem to be fashion novices, they are VERY interested in shirt design. They have very specific needs. It can’t be too boxy, but not too fitted either, or too baggy because then you can’t tuck it in if you want to. And don’t make it too long, or all that fabric will be in the way, but don’t make it too short either. The pressure!
After looking at a million and one patterns, and reading the many helpful opinions posted on Pattern Review.com (thanks to all!), I finally settled on McCalls 6044. This shirt has a back yoke, which gave it a bit of interest. Also, the pattern received High Marks from those who were sewing for guys who liked a slim fit, but also had an athletic build (This seems to be the key to success – -whether or not your guy likes a slim fit or a loose fit).
Bullseye! The pattern was perfect. The only variations I made was to take the curve out of the yoke seam and to add collar buttons. Also, I added french seams so that the shirt would survive through many, many washings.
This pattern is a winner!  The shirt is cut so well, it works alone, or under a jacket. And the pattern is very straightforward and easy to sew. The only modification needed was to take in the side seams a little. This I can do!!  And the best news of all, from cut-out to final press, it was only about six hours (much less if you don’t have fitting issues, or if you just finish with an overcast stitch instead of french seams).
When all was said and done, the shirt fit, the fabric passed muster, and I believe this shirt will actually be worn on Labor Day to a barbecue. The shirt is a versatile style that looks good all by itself, or under a jacket. How great is that?
Thanks for stopping by. And Happy Labor Day weekend – –  I hope you find time for a bit of sewing!

17 thoughts on “A Manly Shirt that you can sew in a day

  1. Great shirt and it looks great him! I wish I’d waited to buy a shirt pattern for my husband. I picked a different pattern. Hopefully it will still turn out as great as yours!

  2. I love this! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I have been overwhelmed with deciding on a shirt pattern for men too and your post just made the decision for me 😃. Your man looks great and the shots are well framed. That fabric is perfect. Job well done.👏👏👏

  3. Ahhh, what a happy guy 🙂
    I’ve made a lot of shirts for my husband. He absolutely loves the shirts I do for him. A note of warning, this will not be the last shirt you make. He WILL want more 🙂

  4. He looks adorable and so does the shirt. As a DC area resident, I can say that the biking scene is huge…..and motor traffic is mean so biking experience counts (all 4 of my nearest and dearest bike in the city and no problems so far…..KOW). ALSO it will stay very warm here thru beginning of November so a cotton shirt will be very useful, as well as lovely.


    1. Oh that’s all very good to know. We were just wondering last night how long it would be before it was too cold there to wear the shirt! Good to know he’ll get some warm days before he’ll have to put it away. I can imagine that biking in DC would require patience and lots of experience. It Must look pretty great from the seat of a bike though, you have a stunning city!

  5. Not to worry, he will want some from winter fabrics and probably more summer ones too. I am thinking of making dh some every day work shirts again. I quit a long time ago as I was sewing for my daughters and once you let the genie out of the shirt box it is hard to put it back as they wear them out being men and not keeping a closet full like women. Lol! One thing I found is that most times the serged seams last longer than the shirt fabric so I quit all the flat felling after a bit. He still is always tearing up his shirts like a little boy doing things outside.

    1. You have a point about the flat felled seams..I could just serge and they would likely still be good through multiple wearings, washing and whatever else might befall this shirt. Shirts don’t last long around here either LOL

  6. Hello, I am making a special shirt for my new SIL and picked McCalls 6044, but it looks like you added a yoke to the back. I think it improves the shirt but not sure how you do this. I’d appreciate your tips on how you did this change on the pattern. Thank you!

    1. Hi suz, before cutting you modify the pattern a bit. you draw a line on the back bodice where you want the yoke to end. That becomes your yoke and bodice seam. You retrace that piece which becomes the yoke adding a seam allowAnce. . Then you retrace the modified back bodice adding a seam allowance where you will attach the back bodice and the yoke. As long as you add a seam allowance to both of your new pieces, the fit of the back of the shirt will remain the same. I hope that helps….there are several u tube videos, just search add a yoke to a shirt.

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