Thread Theory

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Pattern Testing Success – The Fairfield Button-up


Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (16 of 16)

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!

Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (2 of 16)

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!Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (9 of 16)

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.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (3 of 16)

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!
Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (11 of 16)

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.
Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (13 of 16)

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!Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (14 of 16)

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.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (15 of 16)

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.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (10 of 16)

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.

35 thoughts on “Pattern Testing Success – The Fairfield Button-up

  1. Nice shirt. Your Grampie is seriously trim. Have you tried sewing for fat guys? I’m looking for a pattern to reliably produce shirts that I can button the neck on and don’t assume I”m 8’7″, as if all the [atterm-maker did was create a linear scale on the original pattern. I see that this pattern has larger sizes – are they proportioned differently than the smaller sizes?

    • You’re in luck! We grade our patterns proportionately based on a German survey of citizen measurements that is updated often (our patternmaking software is German). This way the larger sizes are proportioned to the actual height and dimensions of real people and not just a blown up version of size Medium :). I think you’ll find the Fairfield suits you! I put lots of work into drafting a separate pattern for larger figures that is not only proportioned but also allows for a rounded stomach. A slim fitting shirt will not look good paired with a larger stomach unless it is drafted to suit this shape. You can compare your measurements to the Fairfield measurements in the last image on our website: Feel free to email me ( if you have any fitting questions!

  2. This is the best news! I have so many meters of fabric I couldn’t not get to make a shirt out of one day, but never found a shirt pattern that I liked enough. This one looks epically cool 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness – your grandparents are the cutest ever! No wonder you’re such a meticulous sewist yourself – it’s in your blood! 🙂

    Pattern looks amazing!

  4. Can’t wait for this to be released – I’ve been on the lookout for a great new men’s shirt pattern for ages!

  5. Grampie’s shirt is so perfect, both style, fit and he looks very dashing. I can’t wait to get this pattern.

  6. Hi! Lovely post…I just happened upon your blog today~ I like this shirt very much. Is there a projected release date for the shirt pattern that I have perhaps missed somewhere? I’m on the email list, so I should get a notice when it’s released, yes?

    • I’m glad you found our blog! The Fairfield is loosely scheduled to be released early May – which is very soon! You’ll be notified through the newsletter email list and through a blog post as soon as the pattern is released (I’ll probably send something out a day or two before the release too so you can get into a shirt sewing frame of mind).

  7. Your grandpa is so hip!

  8. I can’t wait for this pattern! Grampie looks soo cool and Grandma did a wonderful job! My husband was looking the pictures and he loves the shirt

  9. I love your grandpa’s style! Also, this pattern sounds amazing – so many details and options!

  10. This is so exciting! I’m so eager to sew this one up! It looks great! I love how much Thread Theory is a family business. You are so lucky to have all this support!

  11. Wow! Totally impressed with both your Grampie and your Nonnie (and of course you too)! Your Nonnie’s precision sewing is very evident from the photos, and great that she could give you such useful feedback. You have taken a lot into consideration with the options, style and fit. This looks like it will be my ‘go to’ pattern for men’s shirts once it’s released. Hubby and I will have to go shopping soon for some summer wedding appropriate material!

  12. Your Grampie is soo cute and way cool! He reminds me of my Dad who also loves to rock a wicked shirt at 84, so this would be a very good gift idea. Cant wait for this pattern!

  13. What a fabulous pair, and really excited about the pattern. You’ve obviously put an enormous amount of thought and effort into it.

  14. Your Grampie looks so cool! i liked reading about all of your Nonnie’s thoughts on the shirt and all the different options. I told my husband this pattern was coming and he was definitely interested. I’ve found button down shirts challenging but fun, although I’ve never made one for him. Maybe this will be in my future. 🙂

  15. Can’t wait for this! Just the type of short my husband likes.

  16. Wow! Your grandpa is SO cool!

  17. Beautiful material for this shirt and I’m excited about the new pattern release too! Maybe I can get my “sorely-tempted sewer” man into the idea of making himself one!

    • Oh, that would be such a fun project for you two to work on together! When Matt and I first started dating he expressed interest in sewing with me so I had him make an apron for his Mom for Mother’s Day. That project went so well we headed straight to the fabric store to purchase fabric for the next project – a button up shirt. He carefully cut out all the pieces (it took him ages) and then the project sat un-sewn for at least a year and ended up travelling across the country with us when we moved to Halifax. I wonder if he was a bit intimidated by the number of pieces compared to the apron project. I ended up sewing it for him just to get it out of my project pile 😛 While he hasn’t gone on to become a proficient garment sewer, Matt certainly never gave up sewing entirely – right now he is working on his second hammock camping system complete with an insulated underquilt, bug net and tarp!

  18. The shirt looks great! I look forward to this pattern coming out!

  19. Love it. I’ve just started sewing for my husband. My thirteen year old grabbed the shirt I made him, so I think I will be doing more unselfish sewing! Hope there is also a short sleeve option, as our summers are long and triple digit heat.

  20. Grampie looks so dapper in his Fairfield shirt! I’ll be first in line to purchase after release!

  21. What a fantastic shirt. Go Grampie! I too love the idea of them fabric shopping together.
    Can’t wait for this pattern, in paper format, to add to my Thread Theory collection

  22. That’s simply marvellous!!! Can’t wait for the new pattern!

    Kind regards, Helene _____________________________ Helene Goldberg Stitch 56

    e p 03 8566 6725 m 0412 589 584 w

    At the Stockroom 14, 19-23 Clarinda Road Oakleigh South VIC 3167 Open Shop : Friday Afternoons 1pm to 4pm

    PO Box 3150 Moorabbin East VIC 3189 Australia


  23. Aw, I smiled all through this post. I love the photos of your grampa is his shirt, and I love the thought of your grandparents shopping for fabric together!

    I also love the shirt. 😀 I will definitely be buying this pattern when it comes out.

  24. After crafting for 15 years I think might be the first garment my husband lets me make for him.

  25. Awesome shirt. I’m so incredibly excited about the pattern release!

  26. Nice to know the pattern is coming. I’ve put it on my list as I am a sucker for shirt patterns,.
    Theresa in Tucson

  27. Very smart shirt, Grampie and fabric! Hope this will work on my man’s generous waist but slim hips.

    • Yes, it will! The pattern comes with two separate fit options – one for ‘average’ figures (with a waist slightly smaller than their hips) and one for ‘larger’ figures with a slanted center front to accommodate a wider middle!

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