Saturday, January 8, 2011

Some Thoughts about Shirts and Shirtmaking

At the 2011 spring Creativ Festival Distinctive Sewing Supplies will feature a fashion and trunk show focusing on the tailored shirt. This show is for anyone who wants to learn more about sewing stylish shirts for people of all ages and tastes.

The tailored shirt is a staple and perennial favourite of major fashion designers worldwide. Certainly most men have a tailored shirt in their wardrobe and many women as well. So why don't people sew more of them?  Some of us think of the shirt as perhaps too difficult or too plain to bother sewing. An oversight like that may be preventing some people from trying their hand at shirtmaking. Once the techniques of shirtmaking are mastered, they become surprisingly easy and satisfying garments to sew.

What constitutes a "tailored" shirt? I've given this a lot of thought and for me it comes down to certain components:

- collar stand
- collar
- yoke
- cuff
- front placket
- sleeve placket
- breast pocket

Buttons or snaps also play an important role in the tailored shirt. Usually the front is buttoned, and cuffs are buttoned or support cuff links. Sleeve plackets may have a button and some shirts feature a button down collar and/or buttoned breast pockets.  Shirts may also have top-stitching detail and/or flat-felled seams. Hems may be curved at the sides or have side slits and may be designed for tucking in or wearing out. Set-in sleeves may be long or short.

Any combination of these components can be used to create stylish shirts to suit the taste of the wearer. Interesting fashion fabric and details make for infinite possibilities. And sewing the garment yourself means that the shirt can be custom fit to the wearer, something not usually possible with ready-to-wear.

There are three ways you can learn to sew professional looking shirts using techniques from the ready-to-wear garment industry:

1. Attend the Islander Sewing Systems Industrial Shortcuts course May 2 to 5, 2011, in Highland MI.  Click here for details.

2. Teach yourself using the Islander Sewing Systems books and DVDs. You will need the Islander Sewing Systems Industrial Sewing Techniques for Home Sewing book or DVD and the Shirts, etc. DVD. Click here for details.

3. Attend the Shirtmaking Magic! course June 1 and 2, 2011 in Oakville, ON.  Click here to register.

 For more information email

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