Greetings after a long absence. My personal life has been rather hectic lately, and after completing the shirt for my client’s wedding I took a break from sewing for a while.
Readers who have followed the Tuxedo Shirt saga to this point will know I actually made two shirts. The first was from a fabric that looked beautiful but was prone to wrinkling. Since the wrinkly shirt was largely complete, I took time over the past week to finish this shirt for the client. I personally put a lot of effort into it, so I did not want to see it go to waste.
For the third article in my Tuxedo Shirt series, I wanted to reflect on the project, as well as the prospects of turning a hobby into a cottage industry of sewing for others.
Some Lessons Learned
Though the project was ultimately successful, I had my share of setbacks along the way, and there were a few things that didn’t go the way I had hoped. Continue reading
For the second post in my series on the Tuxedo Shirt, I delve into fitting. As I had mentioned previously, fitting took longer than I had expected, even with a headstart in the form of an existing garment.
For the first fitting, I traced a pattern from a RTW shirt provided by the client. I produced a bodice muslin, lacking sleeves, collar and other details.
Overall, the RTW shirt already fit well. The client said the collar was slightly too tight on the RTW shirt.
My “Make it Work” moment worked!
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, in a cozy Northern California country club with idyllic views everywhere you looked, my client Kevin beamed with pleasure as he married his beautiful bride. Also not coincidentally, he was the best-dressed man at the event.
A gorgeous pair of golden cufflinks handed down to him from his grandfather, together with a black satin bowtie and suspenders, finished the look of his bespoke, one-of-a-kind tuxedo shirt. Both bride and groom were thrilled with the way our project turned out – the shirt added a personal touch to a formal outfit. And I was thrilled too.
I won’t include wedding photos here, out of respect for the bride and groom, but I’ll illustrate how the project turned out. I’m planning four installments to this series:
- reflections on the experience,
- and finally some shirt-making tips.
I’ve been devoting so much time to my Tuxedo Shirt project that I haven’t had time to blog as I go. I’ll fill in more details after the job is done, but here’s an update in the interim.
After several rounds of fitting, the good news is that I’ve arrived at a shirt pattern that fits the client.
I got a trial-by-fire lesson in sleeve fitting, which I had not had a chance to practice on myself before trying out on the client. After draping the muslin and tracing out the client’s armscye directly on the muslin, I drafted a new sleeve to match.
I started by making a new sleeve pattern, using a draft I learned in Paul Gallo’s patternmaking and design course I took in January. Contrary to the original sleeve that came with the model shirt, and also contrary to many men’s dress shirts, I used a much higher sleeve cap based upon measurements from my client.
Here’s the first sleeve draft that I produced; it was a little tight around the bicep and the wrists because I didn’t get the measurements right. But you get an idea of the overall shape of the sleeve cap. The solid pencil is the stitching line, I added both 1/2 inch (dashed) and 5/8 inch (red) seam allowances.