For this installment of the Pink Shirt project, I’m covering (almost) all of the style decisions that are going into the project.
As was apparent from Part 1, if I want a nice pink shirt Brooks Brothers is happy to sell me one for $49.50 – probably less if I can find a discount coupon somewhere. So, I’d like to come up with a unique item that distinguishes itself from something I can buy off the rack at the store. That, along with a custom fit, is one of the advantages of being a home sewist.
(You can click or tap any picture for an enlargement).
Pattern and Fit
The Brooks Brothers shirt is a sport shirt. In the online photo, it has some pretty straight sides.
I’m planning to use my dress shirt pattern from the Blue Gingham Shirt project, with no major changes to the silhouette. Coming from a dress shirt origin, mine has more tapered sides (see the screenshot below).
I’m thinking some of the styling will place this shirt somewhere between casual and dressy.
A major inspiration for this project is this shirt I saw on an anonymous individual on the subway some years ago. I was struck by the style enough that I snapped this candid cellphone photo:
The inspiration shirt is a subtle, two-tone design. It uses a slightly stronger accent color on the inside cuff, front band underlap, inside collar stand, and the underlap on the sleeve plackets. (It’s not clear from the photo if the undercollar is also in accent).
I’m copying most of the style details for my own shirt.
I visited Britex Fabrics late this week, and picked up a yard of fabric in a stronger shade of pink to provide the accent pieces.
So you tell me – is pink my color?
(Yes, the wall behind me is also pink).
The inspiration shirt has beveled edges on the cuffs. This was a look I was seeking even before I revisited that photo.
I looked at the pattern for Thread Theory’s Fairfield Button-Up shirt. The pattern has a selection of alternate collars, cuffs and pockets available for free download. (Links to the free pattern downloads are on the Thread Theory page).
I printed out their beveled cuff, marked and trimmed the seam allowances (red in the photo), then folded it up to get an idea of how it looked.
The pattern gives a nice triangle notch on the cuff, with a gap about 3/4 inch wide at the cuff edge.
I chose to adapt the plain barrel cuff I had produced for the Blue Gingham Shirt. There are some minor differences between my cuff and the Fairfield cuff, the biggest being that I place the button 1/2 inch from the edge rather than 3/8 inch on the Fairfield pattern. I decided to add a bevel to mine rather than adopt theirs.
The sleeve placket on the inspiration shirt is also cool because it is a two-tone design. The overlap (with the little tower on most shirts) is made from the primary fabric, but the underlap (inside) of the placket is made with the accent color.
To do this calls for a two-piece placket pattern. After reviewing my options for placket construction in David Coffin’s The Shirtmaking Workbook, and asking him a quick question over email, I settled for the easiest option: just divide the tower placket pattern down the middle. The overlap piece is cut from the primary fabric, the underlap is cut from accent fabric.
I created the pattern pieces in Wild Ginger just to illustrate what’s going on. The standard placket is on the right. The divided pattern pieces for the two-tone effect are on the left.
I could just as easily print out the regular placket piece and cut it down the middle with scissors, which is probably what I will do.
The inspiration shirt has an accent underlap that is narrower than the overlap, about 1/2 inch. To reproduce this detail would require narrowing the cuff piece as well. I haven’t decided if a 1 inch or 1/2 inch underlap would look better in the accent color. I may make samples of both and decide.
The inspiration shirt uses the accent color on the front band underlap, where the buttons are sewn. It also foregoes a sewn-on front overlap. Instead, it uses a cut-on, folded band to get a clean, minimal finish on the front overlap. I took the same approach with the Tuxedo Shirt.
I’m reproducing both those features on the Pink Shirt. I sat down with some scrap paper and drew out the folding steps involved, to avoid confusion.
Here’s how the pattern pieces came out, drafted in Wild Ginger. The right front is much narrower than the left, because the front band is a sewn-on strip of accent fabric (appearing on the left). Dashed line on all pieces is center front. (Click for a super-size version).
For right now, I’m sticking with a box pleat on the back piece. If I am ambitious, I may try two side pleats, one at each shoulder blade, but I don’t understand the fit implications and if I try this approach I would want to test on a muslin first.
I’m not including any patch pocket on the front of the shirt.
Gussets at the hems, maybe? I’d like to try this, but probably on a different project.
The Blue Gingham Shirt used the button-down point collar I traced straight from the Famous Maker. I plan to use a different collar on the Pink Shirt, which will be the subject of the next article in this series.