Colette Negroni vs. Kwik Sew Men’s Shirt: Round 2

Happy MPB Men’s Shirt Sew-Along day everyone!! Today is day 1 and Peter has already posted the first instructions. Since I rarely have enough time after work to sew on week days, I traced my pattern pieces last Saturday and cut out my muslin.

And speaking of the Colette Patterns Negroni Men’s Shirt, on to placket applications…

Admittedly, the majority of men’s shirts I’ve sewn have been short sleeved, they’re quicker and easier. I have made one long sleeve men’s shirt and here’s the one and only placket I’ve completed (on both sleeves, of course):

Kwik Sew Men's Shirt Placket

Not bad, looks as it should. Here’s the pattern piece:

Placket Pattern Piece

I didn’t like how it was put together, you had to make a tiny, awkward hem on the wrong side of each sleeve, easy to screw up.

Kwik Sew Placket Instructions

Now here’s the Negroni pattern piece and instructions:

Colette Negroni Placket

I like the application of  the Colette Negroni placket far more (than Kwik Sew), it reminds me of how you would make a welt pocket in a way and is a text book application of a sleeve placket. I think I’ll merge the Kwik Sew and Colette Negroni patterns adding the Kwik Sew collar stand and yoke application method to Negroni pattern and the Negroni sleeve placket to the Kwik Sew 2777 pattern.


Colette Negroni vs. Kwik Sew 2777, Men’s Shirt Patterns

Yesterday I was studying the Colette Patterns’ Negroni men’s shirt pattern. I quickly discovered she does things a little differently from convention and, IMHO (I’m no pro by any stretch of the imagination), not any easier or better.

The first bell that went off in my head was triggered by the fact that there is no collar stand on the Negroni shirt. It’s true, I was brainwashed by David P. Coffin’s Shirtmaking book, which I read cover to cover, and agree that all shirts should have a yoke and collar stand. For me, it represents quality but in this case, I can overlook it.

The second issue I encountered was the way she joins the front and back yoke, first she joins the front facings with the inside yoke.

Back Yoke & Front Facings

After attaching the back of the shirt to the outside yoke, you attach the front facings, sewing around the collar like you would on jacket construction.

Attaching Front to Back

And here’s the problem with attaching yokes in this manner, you can’t sew it properly and she states in the pattern, “You will not be able to stitch all the way to the neckline, but stitch as close as you can.”  You end up with a gap where you can’t sew which drives me nuts! Sure, you can’t see it from the outside but I know that small gap is there and I don’t like it.

In comparison, here’s how Kwik Sew attaches the front yoke to the back in a very neat, efficient way. First you sandwich the back of the shirt between the inside and outside yokes then press the yokes up.

Kwik Sew method of attached the front and back yokes.

The first time I tried this next step, I had to sleep on it before figuring it out. First you pin the right (or left) front piece to the outside yoke piece, then you take the inside yoke piece and bring it to the front of your work, moving the shirt front and back to the side and out of the way.  Pin all four layers together at the shoulder and sew (the shoulder) seam. Repeat on the other shoulder, turn everything right side out and voila, a neat and tidy yoke attachment, I love it! No gaps, no sewing acrobats, simple, neat and clever.

Kwik Sew Yoke Attachment Step 2

I checked the plackets and cuffs, more on that later.

Embroidery Inspiration

One of the many details I love about Robert Graham shirts is the subtle — or not so subtle — embroidery, on the inside yoke and sometimes on either side of the placket.  And since I have a new embroidery machine, why not put it to good use?! I initially purchased it with the thought that I would make my own clothing labels but have found many more uses for it.

I plan to embroider the inside yoke of my men’s shirt , the design has to be light and airy, so last night I downloaded more embroidery files from Embroidery Library Inc., my favorite downloadable site. Who doesn’t love a product you don’t have to pay shipping/taxes and duties for?! Here are the designs I’m considering:

1) Golden Flower and Paisley


Flowers & Paisley

2) Golden Flower and Paisley II

Golden Flower and Paisley II

3) Floral Filigree 1

Floral Filigree 1

4) Floral Filigree 2

Floral Filigree 2

5) Simple Swirls

Simple Swirls

6) Simple Symmetry Medallion 2

Simple Symmetry Medallion 2

Please give me you opinion on which one you’d choose for a Robert Graham-esque shirt? I’m not 100% sure if the fabric will be solid turquoise or skinny stripes or something else and the thread colour will obviously change.

What a Wonderful Day!


Sew-Along Shirt Fabrics & Pattern

It’s another double post day! As mentioned earlier, my MPB Men’s Shirt Sew-Along fabrics arrived AND my Colette Patterns Negroni pattern was waiting in my mail box when I arrived home from work! Wow, what a wonderful pattern company, I love the detailed instructions, helpful hints, format & layout and style! Leafing through it, you just know you’re looking at something special. To refresh your memories, my plan is to create Robert Graham-esque shirts. A big shout-out to TonicLiving who delivered the fabric in one day!

I was worried about the size of the pattern on the paisley fabric but I LOVE it. It’s such a detailed, colourful, decadent print, I think I’m going to buy more for another project for myself!

And here are the fabrics for shirt #2. I know, you must think I’m crazy. the striped fabric is the main body and the other 2 are for accents on the inside neck band, cuff, etc…

Fabrics for Shirt #2

Fabrics for Shirt #2

So the last thing I’m waiting for is my order from Joanne’s Creative Notions and I’m all set for Peter’s Sew-Along!

Simplicity 3684 Complete!

Misses' Blouse with variations

In my mind I’m saying “Finally!” but in reality, it was less than a week that I started this project. It’s not the perfect fit as you can tell by the creases at the underarms — forward shoulder adjustment needed, but I love it nonetheless, it fits everywhere else. I love the length, the bib and especially the pleated sleeves. I used white pearl-like buttons which mysteriously appear silver in the photo. My biggest challenge with this shirt was the collar, I ripped it out and reattached it at least 5 times before I was happy with the placement. Since I need many more tops in my wardrobe and love mandarin collars, I’d better get a little better and quicker at attaching them. I also really like the length of this shirt, I can’t wait to wear it today!

Simplicity 3684

Next on my hit list is New Look 6407 which I’m going to make out of a light blue cotton as my muslin with a forward shoulder adjustment to finally get rid of those unsightly underarm creases. View E with the sleeves of View D with the ties. The plan is to then make it again with a cotton vole border print which most people use for skirts. I thought it would be very interesting to use the border in a top instead.

New Look 6407

Rolled-Hem Foot Heaven!

Yesterday I purchased a Rolled-Hem Foot from Whitby Fabrics on the advice of David P. Coffin in his book, Shirtmaking. Yesterday morning I had started making Simplicity 3684 and couldn’t sew without the foot. This morning, after a few tests, I sewed the narrow hem with ease and it looks beautiful! I couldn’t be more thrilled and highly recommend you get this foot if you intend to sew tops and shirts! And thanks to Mr. Coffin’s book, my top stitching and edge stitching has improved ten fold.

I’m not happy with my collar on this shirt so I’m going to recut and sew it. It’s a lot of work but worth it!

Simplicity 3684 Almost Complete

Pleated Sleeve Detail

I also finished M’s white linen shirt, it need to go in the laundry to get rid of the makings I made, photos to follow…

It’s too Damn Hot!

Holy hannah it’s hot here in Southern Ontario, 31C! Too damn hot to sew, that’s for sure. I spend all day in an office so after we get home from work, we prefer to sit on our deck under the awning drinking cold beer with fruit (Corona + lime, Rickard’s White + orange) YUM!

However, all is not lost, David P. Coffin’s book is excellent and I’m learning tons though I’m going to have to read it twice and perhaps thrice when I attempt to put his words into practice.

I’m also perusing sewing websites and enjoying them immensely, The Selfish Seamstress and Male Pattern Boldness are always fun and full of drama, I’m also enjoying Eugenia’s (fabulous) world of sewing, Gigi Sews, La Sewista and Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. Thanks ladies and gents, for contributing to this fabulous hobby, I love your blogs!