A Perfect Match: Mr. Mike and a Bespoke Tropical Shirt
Mr. Mike is always there for me when it comes to taking pictures, offering suggestions or just supporting my endeavours with sewing and Instagram. So much so that I thought, what can I do for him that connects to all of this work. The answer was simple, but finding just the right pattern wasn't.... until I found the Tropical Shirt pattern from Wardrobe by Me Patterns.
Mr. Mike loves Hawaiian style shirts. He loves the lightweight fabric, the coolness of the fit and the comfort. So, I set out to make him his first bespoke shirt, custom fit so it would be perfect. I have now created a tailored pattern just for him that will fit perfectly.
Wardrobe By Me Patterns is founded by Christina Albeck from Denmark. They offer classic style patterns that are carefully and thoughtfully put together. The company supports slow fashion, classic styles and clothing that you can recreate and personally design.
They offer wardrobe essentials and contemporary patterns that are chic and comfortable. That is a fantastic combination.
This is exactly what the Men's Tropical Shirt pattern offers. It is a casual style with a button up convertible collar and short sleeves. There is a double yoke, back pleats for lots of ease and movement and the option for side slits.
As I was using a vibrant scenic tropical pattern from Fabricland for Mr. Mikes' shirt, I wanted it to it to match perfectly along the front bodice closure and the breast pocket. To get a perfect match on the pocket I cut the pocket pattern out of tracing paper so I could see through the pattern piece to the fabric. I placed the pattern piece overtop of the fabric for the left front bodice and traced the pattern image underneath. Then I placed the traced image overtop of the fabric and aligned my design tracing so that it was a perfect match. I traced the pattern piece, cut it out and voila, I had a perfectly matched pocket for the left front bodice.
Matching the two front bodice pieces was a bit more complicated but my technique worked well. I cut the left front piece out first, single layer and with the right side of the fabric facing up. I slide the pattern piece around until I was happy with the placement of the pattern. Then, I cut the one piece out. Then I flipped the pattern so that I would have the mirror image to the left front. I matched the front edge of the fabric piece to the fabric, making sure that there was enough fabric for the flipped pattern piece. It is important to remember that you need to have some overlap to account for the seam allowances for the interfacing. As each seam allowance is 1 cm I made my overlap 2 cm. So, once the pattern was perfectly matched to the left front bodice I slide the flipped pattern piece over to the right by 2.5 cm- this accounts for the two seam allowances for the interfacing and a slight overlap for the button hole fastening. I am really pleased with how well the pattern matches. The front of the shirt now looks like a complete scene without any breaks. I think it adds to the overall design of the shirt.
The shirt itself sews together really nicely. The illustrations and instructions are really easy to follow. I had never sewn a men's shirt before so it was nice to have details steps. The top stitching steps are outlined and colour coded making them easy to understand.
Sewing the double yoke was really interesting and a bit of fun because the technique that is used involves a burrito style roll up of the front and back pieces so that they are tucked out the way between the two yokes. I understood the directions and pictures but my brain had a hard time wrapping around how it was going to all work. All I can say is to have faith, follow the directions and you will be pleasantly surprised at the how it all works and the perfect end result which is a lovely double yoke. Ok- I may have laughed out loud at how it all came together in the end.. it is pretty cool I have to say.
Attaching the collar and sandwiching it between the interfacing goes smoothly. You may have to ease the fabric through the curves, but take your time and it will sew together really nicely. I chose not to sew slits in my version of the shirt, so I left the hemming until the final step. The sleeves fit really nicely into the arm syce and there isn't much to fiddling at all get them to match up and sew together.
I chose to use coconut shell buttons for the shirt, it was important to Mr. Mike that the fabric and buttons were authentic to a Hawaiian shirt design. They look great and add the perfect tropical flare to the shirt. They come in a variety pack which is great because you get some larger buttons that will be great for cardigans as well.
I highly recommend this pattern, especially if you want a versatile men's shirt pattern that you can sew up in a viscose, linen, cotton or silk. Each fabric will give you a slightly different look. Its a great pattern to reuse in a variety of ways so that your man can have a summer collection of shirts that fit perfectly and are stylish and comfortable.
After all.... There is Sew Much To Design.
Lou Sheffer (and Aloha Mr. Mike)