Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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Meet our Summer fabric collection!!!

Hemp and Cotton Shirting

Earlier this week I sent out a newsletter to introduce our mini summer collection of sustainable fabrics.  If you didn’t receive the newsletter, make sure to sign up here.  It is the best way to hear about new items in our shop the moment they are launched.

Men's shirt fabric

This Summer collection of fabric is comprised of breezy hemp and organic cotton yarn dyed fabrics that are ideal for casual summer button-up shirts (or dresses and skirts).  Many of you requested solid versions of the shirting that we launched alongside our Fairfield Button-up pattern.  Thank you for sending in your requests!  You now have four colors of solid fabric and two fabric weights to choose from.

They are going quickly already – the natural stripe and denim shirtings are just about sold out!

Summer Fabric Collection - menswear

We only ordered one roll of each fabric so they will be available for quite a limited time.  Once they sell out this season my studio shelves will be cleared for a mini Fall collection.  Any special requests for the Fall collection?  What menswear fabrics do you want to see in our shop?

 

 

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Free pattern download: Short Sleeve Shirt

It’s the beginning of a hot summer’s day here.  It is most definitely short sleeve weather at last and we are ready for it!  I’ve added a free pattern download to accompany the Fairfield Button-up so that you can sew it as a short sleeve shirt.

Short-sleeve-technical-illustration

I designed the short sleeve to be 4″ long at the seam.  In my opinion, this length is the happy medium between trendy super short styles that expose the bicep and the more traditional short sleeve that extends almost to the elbow.  Our short sleeve will create a look similar to this inspiration from Canadian retailer Frank & Oak:

Short sleeve shirt sewing pattern for men

I added a deep 1″ hem which is shaped along the seam to accommodate the taper of the sleeve.

The construction of this short sleeve is very simple (the exact same as the long sleeve but without the added details of a sleeve placket or cuff!) so I wrote construction notes directly on the pattern piece.  There is no instruction booklet to print with this download so it is a small file with only four pieces of paper needed.

Shirt-Pattern-Short-Sleeve

The short sleeve pattern piece is available for the “Average Figures” sizes – XS-XXL right now but I will be drafting a short sleeve to pair with the “Larger Figures” pattern soon.  We are away for a few days of camping and wedding festivities (Matt’s brother is getting married!) and then we are moving in to our new house when we get back.  I will get to work on the Larger Figures short sleeve pattern as soon as we recover from all of that.  In the meantime, I thought many of you would want to get started on the XS-XXL short sleeve as soon as it was ready for you:

Download your free short sleeve pattern and wear your short sleeve Fairfield Button-up out in the summer sun!


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Happy Father’s Day!

There are only 2 hours left for you to receive 50% off of all our PDF patterns!

I hope your Father’s Day has been filled with loving Father/Daughter or Father/Son bonding time.

Father's Day Gift Sewing

Matt and his Dad sported matching Fairfield Button-ups today – Matt wore the plaid flannel one (his favorite) and Rick wore a gorgeous white linen Fairfield that Matt’s mom just finished sewing!  Rick will be wearing it to Matt’s brother’s wedding this July.  She sewed a band collar and added buttons to the sleeve plackets.  It’s the perfect cross between dressed-up and summer casual (to suit the tone of the wedding).    He’s holding the plane Matt gave him today (cute!).

Father's Day Gift Sewing-3

Happy Father’s Day!


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Fairfield Parade for Father’s Day

sewandillustrate

Comox Trunks sewn by Maike of Sew and Illustrate

Father’s Day is this Sunday!  Have you finished your hand-sewn gifts?  Don’t worry, you still have time!  If you are looking for a quick little project that you can start tonight and finish easily for Sunday, you might like to sew up a pair of Comox Trunks.  They take me 2 hours to sew from laying out my fabric to hemming and they take even less time if I am sewing multiple pairs in a production line format.

The Comox Trunks PDF pattern is only $4.75 CAD ($3.68 US) during our 50% off Father’s Day Sale!

Father's Day Sale 2016

 


Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt

Father’s Day sewing plans aside, today I want to show you an inspiring selection of Fairfield Button-up Shirts sewn by you as well as the finished Ikat Fairfield that I sewed during our sew-along.

Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-3

Matt really loves this print (an Ikat from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric) and I think the indigo blue looks lovely with his brownish/blue eyes.

Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-6

I’m really happy with the casual look that the contrast Tagua Nut buttons gave to the shirt.  The amber color looks very summery against the blue – like the sun against a blue sky!

Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-13

I decided to sew the buttons on by forming a cross with my shirt to echo the print of the fabric (usually I sew two horizontal lines when working with four hole buttons…sort of like train tracks).  I’m not sure if this echoing of the motif is too subtle that it is virtually unnoticeable.  I notice it though!

Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-4

Matt really likes how the print placement worked out on the back yoke.  I’m glad I decided against placing the yoke on the bias.  I think the print was just a bit too large in scale for this cutting technique to have been effective.  I’m pretty pleased that the print matches along the collar and yoke at center back!

Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-7

With all the shirt sewing that I’ve been doing lately, Matt’s closet is beginning to look quite fresh and full!  I have been choosing his fabrics with a general theme of “blue and bright” since last winter his wardrobe had become almost exclusively dull brown and olive green.  The influx of a few bright colored items has made a huge difference!  I might do a photo shoot of his new shirt wardrobe soon – all of the prints and colors look really nice together.
Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt-12

Now, the best part of this blog post – it’s time to show off your Fairfield Shirts!

Plaid Fairfield Shirt

_ym.sews_ achieved beautifully crisp cuffs and excellent print placement for her plaid Fairfield.  I love the careful use of contrast fabric for the cuff facing, collar stand and yoke facing!
Anniversary Fairfield Shirt

tiny_needles whipped up this Fairfield so quickly!  It was the first Fairfield Button-up that I saw in the wild after our pattern release.  Her boyfriend wore this very dapper shirt for their anniversary celebrations.

Fairfield Button up featuring sleeve tabs

One of our test sewers, Sarah, sewed this fresh and summery Fairfield for her husband.  I like how the sleeve tabs add such versatility to this shirt.  With the sleeves full length it looks very dressy but with the sleeves rolled up it takes on an airy and comfortable vibe that could easily work with brightly colored shorts!

Fairfield Button up with contrast yoke and pocketAfter completing her first Fairfield Button-up, Sarah immediately cut out another one – this time for her brother!  She had a lot of fun playing around with the stripes (she added a seam down center back) and she added some hidden froggy details.  Isn’t the frog peaking out of the front pocket such a great idea?!  She added a lining to the pocket to achieve this detail.

Fairfield Shirts by you

These three Fairfields have been sewn by bego_aguilera_caballero, Ana, and sewing_dutch.  The whimsical print on Begoña’s shirt is just lovely (especially with those dreamy houseplants as a backdrop). Ana sewed the band collar (available in our Alternate Collars free download) on her green linen shirt.  The band collar and linen are a match made in heaven!  Lastly, the subtle floral yoke adds such hanger appeal to Becca’s shirt.  She also sewed a striped grosgrain ribbon down the right front of her shirt which adds structure (for stronger buttons) and the perfect contrast if the top button is left undone.
Scared Stitchless Fairfield Shirt

And last, here is a great example by scaredstitchless of how much fun you can have when sewing a wearable mock-up!  Quilting cottons provide a limitless palette of bold colors and unique prints.  I’m impressed that she managed to find perfectly matched orange buttons!
Thank you, everyone, for joining me on the Fairfield Sew-along and for sharing your Fairfield photos by emailing me or by using #fairfieldbuttonup !  It’s been a thrill to see how smart your shirts look.  If anyone has wrapped up their shirt to give on Father’s Day, I look forward to hearing about the grand reveal!


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Fairfield Sew-Along: The Yoke

Fairfield sew-along

Today we are sewing the yoke on our Fairfield Shirts.  I like to use a method that many sewists lovingly refer to as “the burrito method.”  It results in a yoke seam and shoulder seams that have no exposed raw edges.  Let’s jump right in:

Begin by attaching your yoke pieces to the shirt back.  Lay one yoke piece on your work surface right side up.  Lay the shirt back on top of it with the wrong side up.  Baste the two layers together if you like (not necessary but it’s helpful if you are trying to maintain a perfectly matched print).  Lay the last yoke on top of this with the wrong side up.  This last yoke will be your yoke facing.  It is the visible yoke in the photo below:

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (45 of 81)

Stitch all three layers together using a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (44 of 81)

Grade the seam allowances so that one is 1/8″, one is 1/4″ and one is 3/8″.  This will help to reduce bulk.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (46 of 81)

Press both yokes upwards.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (48 of 81)

Edgesitch 1/8″ from the bottom of the yoke.  If you would like, you can also topstitch along this seam 1/4″ from the bottom of the yoke.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-3

Now it is time to sew the shoulder seams.  To do this, let the yoke facing drop out of the way. You will only be working with two layers of fabric – the shirt front and the yoke.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-7

Pin the yoke and front shoulder seams.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-4

Stitch these seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-8

Now this is the point in to process when you will begin to understand why it is called the ‘burrito method’!  We will now proceed to wrap up our shirt so it becomes the filling and the yokes become the tortilla.  Let me explain:

Lay the shirt back onto your work surface so that the right side is up (you will be looking at the wrong side of your shirt front).  Make sure that the yoke facing is still drooping downwards.

Roll up the shirt back until you reach the yoke seam.  Roll up the shirt fronts until you are close the to shoulder seams:

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-9

Rolling up the shirt back will have exposed the yoke facing.  Fold it upwards and over your rolled shirt.  With a little bit of tugging you will be able to join the yoke and yoke facing shoulder seams with right sides together (and no other shirt fabric in the way).

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-10

Pin the shoulder seams and stitch using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  You will be stitching over top of your previous stitching line.  You can grade these seam allowances to reduce bulk too.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-11

To dismantle your burrito wrap, pull all of the rolled fabric through the neckline.  You will be left with finished shoulder seams:

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-12

And a gorgeous interior featuring absolutely no visible seam allowances!

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-13

At this point you can edge stitch along the yoke shoulder seam if you would like – this is purely optional.  I like to do this extra stitching if I have decided to top stitch and edge stitch the majority of the seams.

Fairfield Sew Along - burrito method-14

And now you’ve completed a proper shirt yoke!

For this tutorial I used the same photographs that I traced to create the illustrations for our instruction booklet.  I thought it might be helpful to show you the photographed version of my instructions.  If you are stuck on any steps and want a different perspective than the photographs and illustrations provide, there are tons of excellent resources available!  Be sure to check these three out in particular:

Video Tutorial by The Sewing Arts Center (it’s very clear!)

Tutorial by Male Pattern Boldness (scroll down past the collar drafting part of the tutorial)

Tutorial by Grainline Studio for the Archer Shirt

I will be back on Wednesday to show you how to sew the sleeve plackets on to your Fairfield.  See you then!


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Fairfield Sew-Along: Apply interfacing, sew the placket

Fairfield sew-along

Today we are applying our interfacing and then we will do a bit of origami to create the button placket.

Apply Interfacing

Within the instruction booklet I mention that you can create a stiffly interfaced shirt or a softly interfaced shirt.  I’ve photographed either end of the spectrum here by using the plaid button-up as my stiff example and the Ikat button-up as my soft example

The plaid shirt features very stiff interfacing – I added one layer of our crisp Shirt Collar and Cuff interfacing (back in stock very soon!) to as many pieces as possible.  The Shirt Collar and Cuff interfacing adds a maximum level of stiffness without adding much weight.  Here is where I added it:

The Left Front button placket…

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (1 of 81)

Both collar stands…

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (2 of 81)

The upper collar…Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (4 of 81)

The under collar… I toyed around with the idea of using two layers of interfacing on this piece but found it to be too bulky so I later peeled off the top layer that you see pictured below – two layers of interfacing is worth experimenting with if you love the crisp collar look like I do!  Just avoid making your collar too thick since this will make it difficult to achieve crisp points.  Doubling up would work best with a less dense interfacing.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (7 of 81)

…and all four cuff pieces (two of which are pictured).

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (10 of 81)

To achieve a casual softly interfaced look for the light and floaty Ikat, I interfaced as little as possible.  I used our Cotton Fusible interfacing to add a medium level of stiffness while still encouraging the fabric to drape and naturally mold to the body.  I added one layer of interfacing to the following pieces:

The Left Front placket…

Fairfield Sew Along - applying interfacing-4

One collar stand (the one without interfacing will sit against the neck) …

Fairfield Sew Along - applying interfacing-3

The upper collar (I left the under collar without any interfacing)…

Fairfield Sew Along - applying interfacing

Two of the cuff pieces (the two without interfacing will be the facings)…

Fairfield Sew Along - applying interfacing-2

Button Placket

We elected to create a button up shirt with a ‘grown-on’ button placket – this means that the placket is part of each shirt front instead of a separate rectangle of fabric that is sewn to the shirt.  We decided to draft the shirt this way because it is easier to match stripes and plaids across the most important area (center front) with fewer pattern pieces.  Also, the placket will be less bulky because there are no seam allowances enclosed within it.

To create the right front band to which the buttons will be sewn, fold the fabric with wrong sides together at the first notch.  Press along the entire length of the fold.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (13 of 81)

Fold one more time at the second notch so that the raw edge of fabric is enclosed.  You’ll see that the neckline will no longer have any strange jagged shapes and will now be one smooth curve.  Press along this entire fold.Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (14 of 81)

Stitch 1/8″ from the folded edge to secure the placket in place.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (27 of 81)

Now we are going to sew the Left Front placket – this is the one that the button holes will be added to and it is the one that we have interfaced.  Begin by folding the fabric with wrong sides together along the first notch just as we did before.  Press along the entire length of the fold.

The pins in the photo below indicate notch 2 and notch 3.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (19 of 81)

Fold again at notch 2 and press along the entire length of the fold:

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (20 of 81)

Stitch 1/4″ from the folded edge of the placket (the right edge in the photo above).  Think of this as a pin tuck (a small fold of fabric that is stitched closed).

Fold the placket outwards so that pin tuck faces towards the body of the shirt and press.  You can see in the photo below that this creates a smoothly curved neckline.

Button Up Shirt Sew-Along (24 of 81)

Now stitch down the other edge of the placket (the left side in the photo above) 1/4″ from the fold so that the placket appears symmetrical.


Not too difficult, right?  (Once you wrap your head around the origami folds!)  Tomorrow we will continue to sew by adding our pockets to the chest and sewing the back shaping.  I will be launching some free pocket downloads as well, so stay tuned!

 


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Fairfield Sew-along: Cut into your fabric

Fairfield sew-along

Today is a great day for those eager to sew – we are cutting into our actual fabric at last!

To celebrate this progress we have two announcements to make before we start cutting:

First:

I forgot to announce during our post on choosing your fabric that Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics has generously offered a 15% discount off of your entire order in their shop.  Use the code: FAIRFIELD15

I’m sorry that I failed to mention this earlier since some of you have probably already made your fabric purchases!  In case you have, let me point out that you can use this discount for other projects too – it applies to their entire shop.

Thanks for offering this code to us Stonemountain & Daughter!

Second:

We have another free pattern add-on download ready for you!  It contains a variety of cuff shapes to add to the Fairfield Button-up along with the necessary instructions.

Free-Pattern-Download---shirt-cuffs

Create a button-up shirt with snazzy angled cuffs (to match the shape of the chest pocket) or get really fancy and break out the cuff links to pair with the french cuff option.

If you download the free cuff add-on now your pattern pieces will be ready for you to cut out during our sew-along today!

And, in case you missed the earlier post, you can also find a free add-on for collar variations in our shop.  There will be more add-ons coming soon!


 

Okay, let’s get to the sew-along now:

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-1

The first thing I suggest when cutting out a pattern is to wash and iron your fabric.  It is tempting to skip the ironing step (especially if you’ve just pulled the fabric warm out of the dryer and it is fairly wrinkle free) but it really makes all the difference when carefully matching prints such as stripes and plaids.  A wrinkled selvage can lead you astray when folding your fabric in half and may result in your pieces becoming off grain.  Long story short, take that extra step and iron your fabric before cutting into it!

The cutting layouts included within the Fairfield instruction booklet are intended to be used with fabrics that feature either one solid color or a print that you decide not to match.

If you are working with a fabric like this, go ahead and follow along with our suggested cutting layouts!

You will notice that part of the shirt is cut on folded fabric and part is cut on a single layer of fabric.  When working with a single layer of fabric you will need to work with the wrong side facing you (the right side is against the table or floor).  Working with the fabric placed in this direction will result in a center front button placket that faces the correct direction for menswear!  The Ikat I am using has no obvious right or wrong side:

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-7

Keep in mind that you will be sewing quite a few flat fell seams on this shirt – I recommend clipping notches outwards rather than snipping into the seam allowance because an intact seam allowance is needed to create a tidy flat fell seam.  Some of the seam allowances are very narrow (1/4″) so it is also safest in these cases to clip outwards (even if they won’t be sewn into a flat fell seam).

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-11

If you are working with a printed fabric, lay out your pattern pieces to suit your print rather than to match our cutting layouts.  Chances are you will need to deal with one of these three challenges: Matching, design placement, or a one way layout.

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-2

One Way Layout:

If your print has an obvious ‘up’ and ‘down’ you will need to place all of your pattern pieces facing in a single direction.  Our cutting layouts do not need any adjustments to work for one way prints!

Many shirt patterns suggest that you cut your cuffs and collars with the long edge of each piece aligned to the grain/selvage.  I placed the pattern pieces with the short edges aligned to the grain/selvage so that the flowers or birds (or whatever directional print you have) face the same direction as the sleeves.  The only piece that is not placed in this manner is the under collar – it is so thin that you will likely not be able to see the direction of the print and it is also mostly hidden by the collar.  If you prefer, though, you are welcome to rotate it on your fabric so it’s longest edge runs from selvage to selvage.

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-3

Design Placement:

Large scale prints with motifs that are several inches wide often need a bit of special treatment and extra fabric.  If you are attempting to match the print (across center front, for example), keep in mind that the design repeats less often than a small scale print.  According to my favorite sewing reference book, Reader’s Digest, Complete Guide to Sewing, a general rule of thumb to figure out how much extra fabric you will need is: “The length of one print repeat should be added for each yard of fabric called for.”

Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (11 of 16)

If you decide not to match the prints you can instead place your favorite elements of the print in highly visible areas.  For example, you might like to place the most interesting or most complimentary colored motif across the chest of the shirt so that it highlights the face and is very visible.  You might like to ensure that the left chest does not feature the same motif as the right chest as this can tend to look a bit strange :P.

Also keep in mind to avoid choosing the same motif to feature on the yoke as on the upper portion of the shirt back – this immediate repetition of the pattern always appears jarring.

When working with a large scale print I like to cut small design elements such as the sleeve placket and the collar out of the least busy areas of the fabric so that the print doesn’t overwhelm the design.  In the photo below, the main column of the sleeve placket is positioned so it avoids the main elements of the ikat print:

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-6

My Nonnie did a great job of this here – she avoided any large black areas on her sleeve placket:

Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (15 of 16)

Matching:

Common choices for men’s shirts include vertical stripes, horizontal stripes or plaids.  If you have chosen one of these you will need to do at least a small amount of pattern matching.  In my opinion, there are three levels of pattern matching:

Fairfield-Button-Up-10

  1. You can take a very careful approach to matching that creates the illusion of a seamless garment by continuing the print across two or more pattern pieces.  In the photo above you can see that I cut the yoke and shirt back to carefully make the distance between the dots continue evenly across the seam line.
  2. You can choose one element of the print to match and ignore the rest – This is what I normally do.  It creates just enough harmony to make the shirt look thought out while preventing you from loosing your mind due to the frustration of cutting out and sewing perfectly matched printed pieces!  I find, for example, that a plaid or other grid style print still looks nice if only the vertical pattern is matched, leaving the horizontal pattern to position itself more or less randomly (or vice versa).  Of course, this is a matter of taste- you might not feel the same way about plaids and grid type prints.
  3. You can choose one main area of the garment (across the center front of the shirt) to match and ignore all other areas of the garment.  As you can see in my quick plaid shirt below, the yoke, cuffs and sleeve placket are not matched but the center front is (or at least it did match until I placed the snaps in the wrong position lol).

Fairfield-Button-Up-63

Fairfield-Button-Up-79


Regardless of which ‘level’ of pattern matching you hope to achieve, here are some guidelines based on the style of print you are working with:

Stripes: Horizontal stripes usually require extra fabric while vertical stripes do not.  This is only a loose guideline – if you are working with very wide vertical stripes, you may need to get more fabric than the pattern calls for because you will need to spread pattern pieces farther apart.

 

Plaids: Even plaids generally take less fabric to match than uneven plaids.  When working with plaids you must pay attention to both lengthwise and crosswise matching.

Even plaid:

Shirt Sewing Tools-8

Uneven plaid:

Fairfield-Button-Up-78


Now let’s move on to the specifics of print placement.

The Procedure:

This is the order of events when you would like to create a perfectly pattern matched garment.  I’ve adapted these from my Reader’s Digest, Complete Guide to Sewing.  Stop at step 1 for vertical stripes, at step 2 if you aren’t a perfectionist (that’s where I’m stopping today!), and at step 3 if you enjoy a good puzzle and want to put your pattern matching skills to the test!

Working-with-plaids---centering

1. Centering: Decide which lengthwise stripe or bar of plaid will be at the center of the garment.  For a men’s button up shirt, this is along the button hole and button placement markings.  I find it looks nicest to choose one of the smaller bars of plaid when working with uneven plaids – it can look a bit strange to have the widest and brightest bar running down center front like a runway!  For my Ikat shirt I have made sure that the button and buttonhole markings fall on the same double pointed prong radiating from the center circle.  Note that I didn’t line up the center front with the prominent circles to avoid the runway look.

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-9

Place all pattern pieces so that the center front or center back is lined up with this specific stripe or bar.  When cutting a piece on the fold (such as the back of the shirt, fold the fabric so that the centered stripe is folded exactly in half.

Working-with-plaids---dominant-crosswise-bars

2. Place the dominant crosswise bars:  This is only a concern when working with plaids or crosswise stripes.  Usually the most dominant (brightest and widest) stripe is placed at an area that flatters the body.  For example, if the wearer wanted to make his chest appear broader, you might like to place the dominant stripe across it.  If he wanted to avoid accentuating a wide waist, you would want to avoid placing the dominant stripe at waist level.

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-8

Pick a notch or our “Lengthen and Shorten Here” lines as a point of reference to ensure that the dominant stripe is circling the body at the same level.

Working-with-plaids---crosswise-matching

3. Crosswise matching: This type of matching allows you to continue a plaid or horizontal stripe across two curved pattern pieces at areas you prefer – for example, you might like the plaid to continue across the chest and into the sleeve as much as possible.  This isn’t really necessary to do but it can look quite fancy if you achieve it!  In order to do this, you need to work with the seam lines rather than the seam allowances.  Draw these onto your pattern pieces.  Then place the notches along the armhole and along the sleeve cap so that they sit on the same section of plaid.  It won’t be possible to match the plaid all along the sleeve cap (near the shoulder seam for example) but it is generally most effective to match near the notches and ignore the rest of the seam.


 

If all of that has you a touch overwhelmed, approach your printed fabric in a different way – here is how I like to think about cutting it out if I don’t feel like messing around with much matching.

A couple tricks to reduce frustration (and as a bonus you might use less shirt fabric!):  Men’s shirts present some great opportunities for playing with prints so that you don’t have to perfectly match them and so that you don’t have to waste so much fabric between each pattern piece (arguably the worst part of matching prints).

Fairfield Sew Along - matching plaids and stripes-5

  • Cut details on the bias – the pocket and sleeve placket can both be placed randomly on the fabric at a 45 degree angle so that you can utilize some fabric scraps rather than perfectly matching them to the chest and sleeve pieces.Fairfield-Button-Up-69
  • Add a center back seam to the yoke (don’t forget to add a seam allowance) – this way you can cut it on the bias to create a fancy chevron effect. You will only need to match the small vertical center back seam instead of needing to match the long horizontal seam between the yoke and the shirt back.
  • Only cut one yoke and collar stand and two cuffs from your main fabric.  Use a contrast fabric (possibly from your scrap bin) to cut the second yoke and collar stand as well as the remaining two cuffs.  This way you will have more yardage for pattern matching the exterior of the shirt and you will have a contrast fabric on the interior of the shirt (which can give a shirt great hanger appeal!).  Here is a very old shirt – my first button-up! – that I cut in this manner (but not because I was matching plaid obviously):

Contrast cuffs.jpg


To wrap things up, here are a couple of my favorite resources for matching plaids and stripes:

I’ll be back tomorrow with a post on applying interfacing and sewing the button placket!