Seeing as it’s the summer, I offered to make the Boy a shirt. It’s the one time of the year that I can sew something for him, that isn’t going to spend most of its time hidden under layers of warm clothes. I love sewing for him. He always choses such fun prints for his fabric and has just as much fun wearing them.
I’m a big believer that boy’s clothes don’t have to the boring. When his older sisters were little, I used to feel sorry for the boys’ clothes sections in shops. They always seemed to be full of muddy, green coloured clothes, as if they already anticipated the colour the garments would turn after a day outside on the back of an adventurous boy. What did they think washing machines were for? Also, why the girls weren’t supposed to join in, I really don’t know. Judging by the colours in their clothes sections, their world was brighter and cleaner.
Then the Boy arrived in our lives and I found myself searching out brighter colours. He wore a lot of red and brighter blues. He has his share of darker clothes, but he has a sense of fun, so why shouldn’t his clothes reflect it? Least when I sew, I can add that in.
Back to this summer’s shirt.
He suggested a long sleeve shirt this time round.
Gulp. That means a pattern with both a collar and two cuffs. At the same time. OK. Time to get the big scissors out.
He chose a dog print. We have big dogs so of course he adores small dogs. His ultimate favourite are dachshunds. It’s the paws and the way they walk. Everything, really.
We couldn’t find a dacksy print in cotton, but we did find one with Boston Terriers, Beagles, Basset Hounds and Pugs on it. Close enough.
I love that blue.
Turns out the cuffs weren’t as hard as I thought. The instructions walked me through it without a problem. Only two niggly points. I thought the cuff would be bigger. More like a grown-up shirt covering more of the wrist. Next time, I’ll cut them out twice as big. The other problem is that somehow the sleeves are a bit too short. I thought I’d measured. I think this is my error and not to do with the pattern.
He loves the sleeve length. I can see how it stops them draping in paint and food, which is a good thing, but I am really tempted to cut out bigger cuffs and swap them for the smaller attached version. It wouldn’t take too long and it would mean he could wear this shirt next year.
I added buttons to the cuffs that look like cufflinks and he is as pleased as punch that they look like his father’s, without being as fiddly.
The collar wasn’t too different from the usual shirt pattern I make for him. I still paused. Misunderstood. Understood. Added notes to the pattern for next time and moved on. Am I the only one that adds notes? I do it in recipe books too. Amazing how I manage to forget in between and then am glad of my scribblings.
As always I like a matching front. It would have looked weird to have dogs cut in half in the centre of the shirt. I really think it is worth taking time at the cutting out stage to get this right. I took the advice of the fabric shop on how much extra to order, to allow for the repeat of the pattern, so it would match. I wasn’t keen to repeat the same mistake as last time.
I did manage to sew all the buttons on in the wrong place, as I did it late at night. Out came the unpicker and they were sewn on again. When will I learn!
The buttons are simple, half inch shirt buttons. I have my Grandmother’s collection of buttons. Bringing up four sons, she was a resourceful lady. I have a tube of these buttons which show signs of being cut off other garments. Presumably once the shirts were worn out, they were turned into dusters or rags, while the buttons were saved for another shirt. Nothing was wasted.
So the shirt is made and being worn. The Boy could not be happier. I took the children into Bath for a bit of back to school shopping and a hair cut for the Boy. It’s the height of tourist season, although that is pretty much all year round for Bath.
I don’t usually take my camera on shopping trips, but this time it was too good an opportunity to take some photos of the Boy in his new shirt. Bath is a fabulous setting.
I thought I’d fit right in with my camera, while we did our shopping. Its true. You cannot walk anywhere without dodging a good number of people holding a phone or camera. One person even walked straight into me as she filmed her whole trip around Bath. She will have captured the moment when she startled an English woman. Weighed down with shopping bags and a camera.
My daughter was less than pleased when I stood in the middle of the shopping area and snapped the flying bikes. Why not? There was a bunch of tourists doing it. Why not a local too? I could hardly resist flying bikes now could I?
Anyway, the sewing details….
Notes and alterations to the pattern
I made view A in size M. I added a bit of length to the shirt as the Boy is tall, but slender. He is age 9.
I liked the folded pleats where the sleeve meets the cuff. It adds interest and also a bit of room in the sleeve. There is also a little loop and button at the top of the front, which closes the top of the shirt. Presumably useful when wearing a tie, although I don’t think the Boy will use it.
I would add length to the sleeves next time.
The repeat is big. To match the pattern, I was adviced to add an extra 30cm. This turned out to be plenty.
I used french seams, instead of the suggested ones, as I think they give a better finish.
Would I make it again? Yes.
Disclosure: Minerva Crafts supplied me with the fabric and pattern, in return for a review. All opinions and words are my own, and honest.
Long time readers may remember the boy’s VW Camper van shirt I made a while back. He has loved it and worn it tons, but now it’s too small. Sigh. How they grow.
Pauses long enough to reflect. Then…
Cue more fabric. Same pattern. Just bigger.
I knew he would love the anchor fabric. It’s thinner fabric, but perfect for all the hot weather we are going to get this summer. She says with optimism.
I’m always more comfortable handstitching this fabric weight as opposed to machining it. Results in a better finish. I used the machine for most of it, but finished the last bits by hand.
Maybe not the perfect fabric weight for a windy day. Ah well. Needs must when your mother requires photos. We took him to the waterfront in Bristol. Down near the SS Great Britain. They have big anchors, which are perfect for a boy to climb and pose for photos in his anchor themed shirt. Even in the wind.
I love how Bristol has morphed in the time I’ve worked here. The waterfront and centre really are bustling areas now. The modern mixed in with the old. Of course, it’s always fun to watch the ferries and admire the moored boats.
Right. Back to the shirt. I think all the balancing on bollards prove the new shirt is a comfortable fit. Doesn’t prevent goofing around, and boys being boys.
He got a little overwhelmed being the centre of attention. Fortunately big sister was there to help. She suggested certain poses, and jumped out of most photos in time. Caught her this time.
Joining in with Fiona’s inspiring #CountryKids Linky. He did have fun on the waterside. A country kid in the city!
Pattern: Simplicity 5581 Boy’s medium (from stash)
Fabric: Sky & Royal Blue Nautical Anchor Print Cotton Dress Fabric from Minerva Crafts
Buttons: Local fabric shop
1. Copied the pattern on to stronger paper. I’ll be using this size a few more times.
2. No need for me to make any changes to the pattern. Children are so easy to sew for!
3. Straight forward pattern, as before, although I did muck up the collar at the back. I cut to the wrong place. It was late at night. I know its a bit bulkier, but I doubt anyone else could tell.
4. Buttonholes are on the wrong side. Distracted at the wrong moment. Never mind. I’m over it.
5. Used lighter weight interfacing this time. Collar has turned out flatter (apart from mistake) and behaves better than last time.
Did I mention he has already picked out his next fabric for a shirt? Retro sports cars, this time. I wonder where I’ll take him for the photos for this one……