Corrupt Gentleman Shirts

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Wow, thanks everyone for your very thoughtful and detailed comments on my blog post last week!  We ended up reaching 123 comments, 122 which were entries for the giveaway of David Coffin's Shirtmaking Workbook.  I drew the winner today using a random number generator and am pleased to announce that Bechem, hailing from Australia, will be receiving the book in the mail shortly!  Here is the comment that she posted:

So exciting Thread Theory was included in this amazing book! I would be sewing for my husband, who wears a size 41 shirt here in Australia. While he does wear business shirts for work, if I were to sew him a shirt it would a more “smart casual” style for weekends, etc. I’d love to see a slim fitting shirt with long sleeves (and sleeve tabs to roll up). A 2-part collar, as well. Modern & trendy & the perfect shirt to go with his Jedediah shorts :)
Even if you didn't win David's book, I highly recommend checking it out in whatever format you most prefer (be it from the library, from you local book shop, on Amazon, or from a friend!).  After all, you might be wanting to use it when you go to sew our upcoming button-up shirt pattern that we (and you!) are very excited about! Just to be clear after all of last week's excitement, our shirt pattern is still in the very early stages of production so please don't hold your breath or switch up your sewing plans while you wait for it's release!  I hope to have it ready for late Fall this year but this is certainly not a deadline because I want to continue to work on perfecting it as much as possible and will only release it to you guys when I feel that it is ready. I've been sifting through all of your comments and have been unearthing some very interesting commonalities.  I made a big chart and tallied various themes.  I thought you might like to see some of the trends that emerged in your shirt design requests:


The large majority of commenters are looking for a fairly slim fit shirt (but not overly fitted).  A good number of people are hoping the shirt will include options for two levels of fit - one with a looser back and one with a more fitted back. I VERY much appreciated hearing what your specific fit issues are.  The majority of the comments mentioned struggling with arm length when buying RTW shirts.  Clearly it will be necessary to include lengthen and shorten lines as per usual and also a detailed section within the instructions on how to figure out what length of sleeve and body you need.Frank and Oak Oxford Many commenters struggle with fitting tricky areas such as the neck, shoulders and belly.  Men who work out often tend to develop large necks and shoulders but require a more fitted waist which can be tricky to find in store bought shirts.  As men age, it is common to develop a little bit of a belly.  Men who prefer slim fit shirts will need to have the shirt adjusted to allow for their mid-section. It is very clear that there are a large size range of men waiting for custom sewn shirts.  I will do my best to include as large a range as possible without making an overwhelming nest of size lines during grading!  I wonder if it would be a good idea to include the very largest and very smallest sizes only in our PDF patterns.  This way we can offer an increased size range for digital customers.  We are often limited in our size range due to the size and weight of the tissue paper in our printed patterns.

Design Features

It was almost unanimous that you are looking for a shirt with a collar stand and a proper tower or house placket on the sleeves.  Don't worry, these features will most definitely be included!  I will be putting a large emphasis on writing and illustrating clear instructions for these portions of the shirt and will of course do a photographed sew-along. Band Collar - J Crew When it came to collar and cuff options, I was quite surprised to see how popular mandarin/band/grandad collars are and also how many of you would like the option for French Cuffs.  I'm glad that you let me know this because, while I had originally had these two features on my list of design options that I wanted to include, I had been thinking of removing them...but I won't do so now that I know that you would like them included! Thanks, also, to those who mentioned they would like the option for sleeve tabs so that long sleeves can be rolled up and to those who would like the option for short sleeves.  I wasn't sure how commonly these design elements would be sewn but it seems they are requested enough to warrant including them. Many of you mentioned that you would like to sew the button-up in some sort of flannel/plaid.  This is a great idea and I think it would be nice to include instructions for cutting out plaid either within the instruction booklet or at least as a tutorial on the blog. I need to do a bit more thinking about what pocket styles and yoke styles I would like to include.  I am partial to simple pockets and a nice medium size yoke with a straight bottom but it seems that quite a few of you are looking for a bit more flare!  More pocket and yoke options would be an interesting thing to include as a separate download from the pattern if we end up having an overwhelming number of pattern pieces included within the main pattern. Lastly, when it comes to design/fit, there is no consensus on how the back of the shirt should be shaped.  I had been intending to shape the back with a small centre pleat for a very nice middle ground between slim fit and comfortable (erring towards slim fit).  Some of you mentioned that you prefer darts on the back.  I  had been hoping to avoid these because they limit fabric options considerably (stripes and plaids wouldn't look so great with darts) and I worry that darts are a bit too "Euro-fit" to please the majority of people.  After reading your comments though, I wonder if it would be worth including a seperate back piece without any pleat and with darts instead...hmm, that's a tough decision. PLEATS   Thank you very much for your feedback!  Please feel free to keep commenting with your shirt pattern requests as I have been really enjoying feeling as though I am working with a big team of you rather than working to design the pattern in my isolated office while I worry away about what it is you actually want in the pattern :P.
July 24, 2015 — 33363409


Lisa | Paprika Pat. (@paprikapatterns) said:

How exciting! I’m already looking forward to sewing up your shirt pattern. How are the Lazo pants coming?

Jane said:

Ooh, I missed the last post but am excited to know you are designing a men’s shirt! I would also add another vote for back darts. My husband is very particular about his shirts and I’ve noticed the RTW ones he wears most tend to have the back darts. Not tightly fitted, just a bit of shaping and I guess removal of volume. From a ’what’s out there’ point of difference view it would be great for your shirt to have clear differences to the Colette Negroni.

Birgitte said:

I’ll be the euro-representative on the dart! :) They are indeed quite common here, especially with the 20-40s crowd. My experience with taking in older dress-shirts has been that I can get a slim fit in the front and arms, but even with taking out more at the side seams from the back than the front, without darts the back ends up billowing when tucked in and looks unflattering. My eyes have been thoroughly trained to expect a fitted silhouette also in the back. It doesn’t have to be skin tight though!

Kate said:

I’m so glad you are doing a mens shirt! I think a separate download for different options is a great idea.

ellen said:

regarding pockets, I saw a men’s linen shirt at RW & Co. today with a welt pocket, where the phone pocket usually sits. It caught my eye, but my practical side said, nope. They need a pocket for pens and phones or I will hear about it. But it really was “different”, and I think my guy might like it for a going out to the clubs shirt. I may have to go back and get it as it was half price ;)

tworandomwords said:

Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you with this one, Morgan! I’m really excited to see how it turns out.

I think having a separate download for pockets and yokes is a great idea – save the paper space in the physical copy and it would be less overwhelming in the PDF file. Obvious options would include a western style yoke and a bias cut one for stripes.

For the back shaping – myself, I dislike darts on a mens shirt although I may be biased because my husband doesn’t need them, and I clearly remember reading in David Coffin’s first shirt book that “darts are a sign of poorly designed side seams” or something similar. I think a box pleat seems more formal and the side tucks is a bit more casual, perhaps?

ThreadTheory said:

Neat! I can’t say I’ve ever seen a welt pocket on a shirt; thanks for letting me know. I hope you were able to get it at the sale price!

ThreadTheory said:

Excellent to know, thank you! I don’t often see darted shirts here in B.C. so it is very useful to know that they are the norm in other areas of the world :).

ThreadTheory said:

I have been researching all the button-up pattern options I can find to make sure ours isn’t competing with all of the great patterns that already exist. I think we can easily fill some very large gaps though :). That is great to know about your preference for darts – I’ve added you to my tally of dart-lovers!

ThreadTheory said:

Thanks for your comments! I have been researching all the button-up pattern options I can find to make sure ours isn’t competing with all of the great patterns that already exist. I think we can easily fill some very large gaps though :). That is great to know about your preference for darts – I’ve added you to my tally of dart-lovers!

Catherine said:

I have been sewing for over 20 year and taken many classes. I stopped sewing for two years by lack of time. It is incredible how fast I lost my skills. I started up again about a year ago. I founf many great blogs, videos and books, all easily available today via the web. Through all these incredibble classes, I have relearned to draft a block, sew a couture dress, make my husbans pants.
I look forward to reading your book on shirts as I am in the process of making some for my daughter and the hubby’s projects will be next.
Many thanks to you and your team for a great blog and help for keeping home sewing alive for the generations to come.

Birthday shirt for the hubs | the creative counselor said:

[…] for a classic men’s button down shirt with all the traditional details.  (But Thread Theory has a shirt pattern in the early stages of development, destined for late fall release, so hopefully that void will soon be […]

ThreadTheory said:

The Lazos just keep hitting snag after snag – ug! But we’re currently working through the most recent issue (the wide waistband isn’t very flattering for fuller figures) by creating some more variations. I’ve decided to keep slowly working on the Lazos in the background while other projects take centre stage. I don’t want to release them until I think they’re perfect! I’m taking a pants fitting course in mid-August which I think will really help to finalize the design. The instructions are all done though – yay! Thanks for your patience :) I promise I’ll be sending the pattern to you as soon as it is ready!

ThreadTheory said:

I must say, I agree with you about darts but it might just be because I rarely see them here in B.C. One of my design teachers also often made a similar comment about unnecessary seam lines. He was a big fan of minimalist design and fit created due to subtle shaping of only the necessary seams.

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