For as long as I can remember, my Grandpa (a.k.a. Grampie), has proudly worn the impeccably sewn button-up shirts be-decked with wild prints that my Grandma (a.k.a. Nonnie) sews for him. A few of my favorites have included a leafy green shirt covered in tree frogs, and a warm brown number complete with giraffes and other safari animals. The two of them have lots of fun picking out wild cotton prints and, as a result of their awesome choices, he receives compliments everywhere he goes for his memorable shirts.
Of course, when I was finishing the final touches on our upcoming Fairfield Button-up Shirt pattern, my Nonnie was the first person I decided to ask to test sew our shirt. She is very familiar with the construction of a button-up shirt and she is also very clear, after years of sewing for my Grampie, about what style and fit he prefers. Also, my Nonnie makes an excellent pattern tester because she is very detailed oriented and meticulous while she sews. She is also an experienced editor so she is likely to catch errors while reading the instruction booklet. I sure am lucky to have such a willing and devoted pattern tester in my family!
As you can see, the end result of her hard work is stunning! The cotton that the two of them chose is a Kanvas Studio cotton designed by Maria Kalinowski called “Eclipse”. It is a fairly thick cotton that presses nicely but frays quite a bit (which my Nonnie reported was a little annoying while sewing the details such as the sleeve placket). I think the print suits my Grampie very well – it looks very dressy on him while still being unusual and fun!
The fit of our Fairfield is more slim than my Grampie is used to. I tested for range of movement by having him stretch his arms out in front of him and cross them – he had full range without any pressure being placed on the fabric across the shoulder blades. Perfect! I think the slim fit looks very modern and proportionate on him but not to ‘trendy’ or conspicuously youthful. He always tucks his shirt in and the Fairfield was plenty long enough to allow him to do this. It blouses over his waistband just the right amount in my opinion.
My Nonnie and Grandpa agreed that they liked the narrow collar stand and collar included with the pattern. My Grampie has a fairly short neck so the trendy narrow collar really suits his proportions. I’ve also created some alternate collars, cuffs and pockets which we will be including as free downloads – so if you prefer a wider collar or even a band collar, you are in luck!
My Nonnie really took care with the details on this shirt. For instance, she perfectly matched the print on the pocket – have a look at that!
She didn’t have to worry about matching the print on the button placket because we decided to go with a ‘grown-on’ or ‘built-in’ placket that is folded over and topstitched rather than sewn to the shirt front. This makes matching prints and plaids very easy! It also leads to less fabric bulk caused by seam allowances.
The back of the shirt features a proper yoke with two layers and a crisp pleat (though we are also including a version for darts at the back with no pleat). The sleeves and side seams are sewn using flat fell seams. My Nonnie’s sleeves are impeccably stitched!
Best of all, the Fairfield includes a proper one piece tower placket. The inside and outside of the placket feature no raw edges. This placket style is very strong and is simply a must on a classic menswear button-up shirt. My Nonnie gave me some great feedback about my instructions for the placket sewing process and I will be modifying the folding technique at the top of the placket so that it is really easy to create an even triangle! I’m thrilled that she pointed out an alternative folding system because I have never seen it done the way she described before yet it achieves very consistent results with little fiddling.
She also commented that she loves the placement of the pleat on the sleeve because it lines up exactly with the crisp line that she likes to iron down my Grandpa’s sleeves. The end result is a very slick, formal looking sleeve.
I received the rest of the pattern testing feedback via email this week (it is all so thorough and incredibly helpful – thank you test sewers!!!) so I know what I will be doing this weekend. 😛 Not long now until we can set a firm launch date! The Fairfield PDF pattern will easily be launched in time to sew Father’s Day presents and prepare for summer weddings.
Thank you, Nonnie, for spending so much time working on this pattern for us! All of your feedback is very valuable. And thank you, Grampie, for making your modelling debut on the Thread Theory blog! You look very smart, as always.