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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Men in my life!

Have you ever sewn for the men in your life?  Do you have many of them?  I have a husband, father, two sons two son-in-laws and an adorable grandson.  That is a lot of men!  I decided to create a shirt for them all, except for my father who is probably one of the pickiest people on the planet when it comes to clothing....but that is another story!

I chose the Strathcona Henley from Thread Theory as my pattern base.


I like the slim fit of the top--do you call it a top for a man?  Maybe I'll refer to these as a tee shirt with variations.  The pattern is described as a modern fitting, or slim fitting tee with neckline variations, sleeve length options, and the opportunity to create a Henley placket if you desire!

I briefly asked several of the guys what color of a shirt they would like/possibly wear if I made them one and they came up with gray or blue. Funny in a weird sort of way!  So, I made things easy on myself and ordered 4 yards of gray and 4 of the navy blue.

Both are lighter weight poly blend with good stretch and recovery.  I also let each of the choose their preferred style: long or short sleeves, placket or not.  I guessed on my grandsons as he is only 21 months and probably doesn't really care as long as it is comfortable.

The first shirt I made was for the hubby who wouldn't benefit from a slim-fitting top :).  I knew I would have to majorly alter the pattern to fit him.  The size range on this pattern is XS to XL.  The size on the pattern for an XL is 46-48" chest and 40-42" waist.  Without telling you his exact measurements, I knew I would have to widen the waistline by at least five inches so I added three inches to each side starting under the arm and ending at the hemline creating an a-line shape.  I only did this on the front shirt as I was thinking about how for me I have to create FBAs and I only do that on the front of the garment, not the back.  He also wanted elbow length sleeves and the crew neckline.

Construction is very easy and intuitive for this top and the instructions are really very good!  A beginner could tackle this with the right fabric and a good set of measurements--which in hindsight means more than just the chest and waist.  You also need to measure neckline length and depth, shoulder area and sleeve length.  All the necessary steps are in place for this pattern--stabilizing the shoulder seams.  Have you ever watched a guy pull off a shirt?  Not at all like I do which is carefully. They just grab the back of it by the neckline and yank.  I made sure to sew a stretch stitch everywhere and I topstitched everywhere as well just to keep this from falling apart in the future.

My first go for the hubby didn't receive the reaction I was hoping for--he HATED it!  He didn't like the lightweight fabric and he prefers his tops loose, not a slim fit as the pattern calls for.  I had him get a tee from his closet that he likes the fit of and I found a heavier all cotton knit and drafted my own pattern for him.  Success!  I have his approval now yay!

Next up was Daniel, my youngest.  He isn't a big guy.  His adorable wife makes him eat as he forgets! No wonder he ended up with the smallest shirt--next to the grandson of course!

Daniel needed a small shirt.  His chest is 36.5" and waist is 31.5.  He is always cold so he asked for long sleeves and in blue, just like dad!  He also wanted the shirt to look like he was wearing a short sleeve top over a long sleeve so could I put gray long sleeves there as well?  Of course I can!  In the photos, he is wearing Kevin's shirt but holding his shirt.  Why?  No idea but that is what he wanted to do so I rolled with it.

Andrew, my oldest son is the only guy requesting a placket.  He asked for gray and needed a medium as his chest is 40 with a 34 waist.  He is about 6'2" and I also measured the sleeve length for him as I was concerned it may be a little on the short side.  The placket directions for this tee are very interesting and drafted pretty much like what I imagine an engineer to draft a placket like.  It isn't difficult at all but there are a few steps that do help you get a very nice looking placket.  My only regret with this is that I wish I would have interfaced the placket area on the shirt itself as with this lightweight knit, it isn't the best placket I've ever made but it will do for Andrew.

Now, onto the son-in-laws.

Kevin and Daniel as just about exactly the same size with Kevin's chest being an inch bigger but with the same waistline.  He lives in Baton Rouge so I knew that he'd rather have a shirt a little bigger than smaller with all the heat and humidity present.  I went with a medium for him.  He too wanted gray with short sleeves.  I had a little mishap with his top and as I was trimming threads I accidentally cut a small hole in the sleeve.  Did I mention his was the last make of six shirts?  I just about cried but then remember that Thread Theory sends you an awesome little label for your shirt so I stitched that over the slit and now it is a cool design element--sorry you can't see that in the photos!

Brad, or son-in-law 2, needed a large with a chest of 44.5' and a waist of 39.5.  He is a solid guy and so is his son, my adorable grandson, Simon!

Simon's shirt was a mashup of the blue and gray and I used McCall's 6683.

I'd made the romper for him before and knew the pattern would fit.  I just left off the collar but kept the stand.  Simon measured 20 chest and 21" waist.  I asked his mommy if she wanted another onesie for him and she said no, simply because he occasionally likes to play with his belly button.  Oh the joy of being less than two years old!

It was interesting and fun to sew for the guys in my life.  They are just a picky when it it comes to fit, color, fabric weight and texture.  I'd really like to introduce some more color into their worlds but at least I didn't have to make six brown shirts.  Gray and blue was at least some variety!

Thanks for reading this very long post! Try this pattern from Thread Theory Designs, as long as your man is very slim and doesn't mind a clingier fit.  It's well drafted and looks good on a smaller sizes and shapes--as long as you aren't out of square--meaning your waistline is larger than your chest!  I'll make more of these if they ask, or maybe I'll just make more and give away to all these guys!



  1. I admire you for taking on this challenge! Well done!

    1. Thanks Georgia! It was a lot of work, but it was also fun!

  2. Well done indeed! Lots of work, but well worth it, I would say! TFS, Annette (I am here by PR.com!)

    1. Thanks Annette! I hope you'll try this pattern!!!

  3. All your men are handsome:) I have thought about getting that pattern but I'm concerned about the slim cut. I have a couple of sons that would suit, but two others I'm not sure about. And my husband would never go for it! I tried to get him to wear slimmer cut jeans and he hated them (although I thought they looked cute;)

    1. Hi Angela! Thanks so much! I too was concerned about the slim cut but I wonder about grading first of all going up one size and then also widening the waistline a bit. I used a rather lightweight fabric, but I think it could easily be made from a heavier cotton type and turn out great!

  4. I've been meaning to pick up this pattern for my husband...maybe this is the push over the edge I needed: these look great!

    Not sure how much time I'll actually have to make him one, though...and you've made almost half a dozen! Sue Parrott, do you ever sleep? ;)

    1. Haha sometimessewist, yes, I LOVE my sleep time! I don't sit well so sewing is very relaxing for me!