My Baby´s Come Back!

Shirt refashioning

Less than a week a go, my darling came home from a two months long trip abroad. I did go visit him in February, but it´s so nice to have him back!

My mission this year is to make him the perfect shirt. He was supposed to get a nice white dress shirt for Christmas last year, but when I started measuring him, and comparing these measurements to the one´s in the pattern I was using, I quickly understood that I didn´t have a clue on what I was doing.

I have somehow wound up with a body that has the exact same proportions as many big pattern company´s draft their patterns from (that is hip to waist, waist to chest, crotch length etc), so the only pattern adjustments I need to do to make things fit on me, is usually a FBA, and adding length to pants and skirts.

Now for my man, he is in a whole other division when it comes to alteration needs. First of all, he is two meters tall, and just that little issue is causing some major alteration needs. To make things clearer for you, here are the measurements for the biggest size from Burda, compared to his measurements.

The thing is that these measurements involve some major grading of pattern. But they don´t take into consideration HOW everything looks – like shoulder to shoulder measurement for instance. When I tried to tissue fit the yoke from the pattern I was using (McCall´s 2447), on my man, nothing seemed to be in place. His upper back and shoulder area looks completely different from what the pattern piece did! So making clothing for him really sets my skills to the test. Hopefully I´ll learn a great deal from this!

The first thing I did, when realizing I wouldn´t be able to finish the shirt in time for Christmas, was to order the book Shirtmaking, by David Page Coffin. I´ve heard wonderful things about this book, and I must say, I really enjoy reading it. There is a lot of “AHA” and  “is that so” when I read it.

Coffin is a big fan of pattern alterations (even drafting your own patterns), and stresses that a good yoke pattern piece really is what matters for making a shirt with a good fit. So this will be my first task, take the yoke piece from my pattern, and alter it to fit my man. I am now using Negroni, we both really like this style (like everyone else, ay?) and conveniently enough, MPB had a sew- along not so long ago using this exact pattern. Perfect! I´ll also scan through Tasia´s excellent and thorough tutorials on this matter, she made a very pretty shirt for her man for Christmas (and made it in time;-).

I do have some good shirting fabric for this project. Hopefully I´ll be able to whip up some short sleeved shirts just in time for spring. For the first “trial shirt” I´ll use some cheap cotton shirting I got here in Sweden a while back. I bought 4 meters, so that should be enough for a couple of short sleeved trial&error shirts. When I went to New York earlier this winter, I of course made a little trip to the garment district. I went to Mood Fabrics (what a wonderful staff!), and bought some lovely fabric there, I got my darling to come with me to pick out fabric for his shirts. We got a solid brown cotton shirting, a solid white, rather densely woven linen fabric, and another linen fabric with teeny- tiny houndstooth on it. Sooo nice!

Fabric from Mood

With all these planned me-made shirts (and some shirt shopping in the big&tall departments in various american stores), it was time for my man to do a little de-cluttering in his wardrobe. Let me tell you, this man is not oblivious to what he wear (thank goodness), and has got a rather impressive wardrobe as it is. Last night he decided to get rid of some of the shirts he no longer uses, and I could all of a sudden add 9 men´s shirts to my refashioning stash. Yay! Hopefully you´ll see the results of that  work here in the coming months.

Do you have a favorite refashioning tutorial you use for men´s shirts? Please share! I´ve done one refashioning before, you can see the result here. There are a lot of wonderful ideas out on the Internets, I am using this one for my first try. This is how far I´ve come:

Refashioning in progress

Have a wonderful week!


  1. Debbie on 21/03/2011 at 12:02

    I have three men’s shirts lined up for refashioning. One is a white formal dress shirt with lots of pin tucks on the front in a kind of bib shape. I was thinking of just making it into a more fitted white shirt but now you have made me think of a tunic with casing for summer. Hmmm, you have inspited me now. I will let you know what I do. Good luck with the shirt sewing for your Darling. I have steered clear of sewing for Mr Minnado so far. The advice on MPB looked very good though. Have a good week. x

    • Sølvi on 22/03/2011 at 10:24

      Ooo, that shirt sounds so nice for refashioning, I´d love to see what you do with it! 🙂

  2. Shiny Green Penny on 21/03/2011 at 12:19

    What about using one of his discarded shirts to make a pattern from? It might take a lot less time to unpick the seams and trace the pieces rather than pattern fitting, since you already know it fits.

    • Sølvi on 22/03/2011 at 10:25

      That´s a great idea, but none of his RTW shirts really fit him properly, (like in a tailor made kind of a way) so I think I´ll have to do it the “hard way”. Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  3. Kristen on 21/03/2011 at 18:01

    Welcome back to your honey! Wow, 2 months is a long time!!! I love that refashion you linked to share! Good luck in your men’s shirt sewing, I need to make one for my husband but he is very particular in how things fit him so it would be a big endeavour. I’ve finally managed to make jumpers that fit him perfectly but somehow that comes a bit more easily to me than pattern drafting.

    • Sølvi on 22/03/2011 at 10:27

      Yes, I know, two months are much longer than you´d think, isn´t it? You´re such an amazing knitter, Kristen. I´m very impressed by your skills!

  4. Alexandra Mason on 21/03/2011 at 23:48

    I used a Mans X-large shirt to make a muslin for newlook 6808 it just fit with the short sleeves 🙂 I found a few shirt re-fashions on you tube and here are some i have saved….

    hope the links work ok!

    • Sølvi on 22/03/2011 at 10:30

      Thank you so much for the links! I especially loved the peasant top. So cute! You did use a shirt for 6808? That´s so great. Love the idea. 🙂

  5. Weaveron Textile on 13/08/2019 at 08:30

    nice colors and great pattern for shirt…****

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