Fairfield Button Up Times Two
Son number one was having a birthday and planning on moving out of home so I decided to risk making him a shirt. I say risk, because he is one of those people that have hang ups about home made, not hand made, clothing. He would rather wear a cheap chain store shirt, although if I was being fair to him, he wouldn't turn his nose up at a designer store shirt either. The back story to this shirt is that whenever he heads into the city to go clubbing he always wears a shirt that completely annoys me on a couple of levels. It is a linen shirt that he insists on not ironing and because I am all about tough love where my kids are concerned I flatly refused to do it for him. The second issue with this shirt, is it is just slightly too small especially when you factor in the tee shirt he often wears underneath it.
I was in The Fabric Store not actually looking for fabric for a shirt for him, when I came across this lovely cotton fine checked slub shirting that had the feel of a linen blend. It had a bit of a rural vibe to it. If you are from New Zealand, you will know what I mean! It is the sort of fabric that is made into shirts that rural people seem to wear when they come to town but with a slightly smaller check. I hope I am not offending any farmers here! Since my son is very much a towny, the style of the shirt had to reflect that. The fabric was very similar to his original version but much better quality and actually didn't crease nearly so badly, so I decided I would replicate the original band collar shirt. He would then have no reason to complain about it being 'home made'.
I bought just enough fabric to actually make the shirt up and cut it out to a size small. The fabric has no right or wrong side and this is where the whole process started to go wrong but at this stage I carried on completely oblivious to the monumental disaster that was unfolding. I went to great pains to ensure I sewed flat felled seams, even around the armhole. I wanted this shirt perfect. Once I was finished I was really happy with how it turned out until I went to place the button holes and laid one of his existing shirts on the placket. The front placket was round the wrong way! Sh....*! Swear words were said, and lots of them! I knew he wouldn't wear the shirt with the button placket around the wrong way so I was left with two choices; either scrap the project or try and reverse it. I chose the latter.
I carefully unpicked both plackets, removing the collar band first and pulled off the interfacing. I did manage to make a small hole with my seam ripper and more swear words were said, but it didn't take too long before the placket was reassembled as good as new, or so I thought until I tried to put the collar band on. For some reason it didn't fit. Queue more swear words! It then came to me that the left and right front were not the same size and my placket now was not centred in the front of the shirt, actually far from it! This would never do. I had a wee chat with my sewing side kick, Courteney, and she thought I should just recut the entire body of the shirt and rescue just the sleeves. By now the air was quite blue. This project had taken the best part of a week and now I was back to square one! If it hadn't been such lovely fabric, the entire project would have been destined to the bin at this point.
Another Saturday rolled around and once again I was back at The Fabric Store, this time quite reluctantly. I was there at opening and not even the vibrant rolls of gorgeous fabrics were enough to wipe the now, permanent scowl off my face. I was a woman on a mission, and I would not let this thing get the better of me!
So after my fabric had been washed I cut two fronts and a back and marked both very carefully. I had pretty much lost the will to live at this point so the quicker this darn thing came together the better. This time there were no flat felled seams only overlocked and topstitched. I figured he was 20 years old, he will never know the difference between a flat felled seam and an overlocked one. I cut a new collar band and attached it and then proceeded to make the buttonholes. The buttonhole Gods were smiling on me that day, and they came out perfectly. I chose some wooden buttons as a contrast to the blue.
Despite the process of making this shirt, which I can only describe as gruelling, I am really happy with it. It fits perfectly. When I gave it to my son, I even admitted to it being made with love and swear words and told him the whole sorry saga, in man terms of course! Oh and the second shirt that Callum got for his birthday was made by Courteney using the same pattern. She really is the master shirt maker. I have lost count of the number she has made for her partner. She chose a lovely cotton shirting from the sale table at Fabric Vision, which is actually the same fabric I made my husband his Christmas shirt from. The inner collar and trims were made from some lovely vibrant rayon she picked up and Spotlight. It will go really nicely with his navy suit.