Utterly frustrated with a shirt

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Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby JimmyB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:52 pm

This is the first thing I've tried to make to wear and I am stumped. I am 6'5 and thin. Fairly thin that is, like 210 lbs.

I've always had trouble with shirts never fitting. One of the key reasons I want to make my own, tshirts are fine, button ups are what give me angst. I get xlarge tall so my shoulders fit widthwise, but my chest and body swims in a giant tent of fabric. My recent purchase of a pattern for tall men Simplicity 4975 is a perfect example of what I deal with. I spent some precious $$$ on my material but I dare not cut the fabric because I can see that I have the same problem. The pattern pack has shirt sizes on the back beginning with 1xL for men big and tall with 46-48 inch chest and ending with the husky boys column sizes of Large with 35 and a half to 37 inches chest. I'm like 42 and a half to 43ish right between the two!! The pattern shows where I can extend for making the shirt taller (a double line I can cut and pull together or add a piece of paper to extend) but not the chest narrower. The sleeve length says 35 on XL for men on the back of the package which floors me! From my neck to my wedding ring is 35!! My wife is laughing as I type this!! I think I'm going to go walk my dogs and burn off my frustration now.

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Re: Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:19 pm

Jim, I strongly suggest you go to the fabric shop and buy some cheap muslin or other cotton fabric and do what we females have to do .. Start with a muslin. Called muslin because it will serve as a pattern later for when you get the kinks out of the fit. First thing I suggest for you is to get the shoulder fit right, then tackle the sleeve length, after that the easy part starting with the side seams, and taper out all that excess fabric. My Ex used to have a problem like that and he always folded the side seams at the waist and tucked them into his pants and then tightened his belt to keep the shirt from pulling free. Later , I took an old shirt and opened the side seams and took out the fullness, starting from nothing at the underarm and tapering out to 2 1/2 inches at the waistline. He loved that alteration.. I think I am going to have to do the same for my Grandson, His Nat'l Guard Shirts are pitiful around his middle.
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Re: Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby HeyJudee on Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:01 pm

Jim, I'm a quilter and not a sewer, but I googled trying to find something on how to alter a men's shirt pattern but didn't find much. But I did these sites which might give you some help on shirtmaking.

This is a male sewer who blogs about sewing and has some blogs about making a shirt. Not exactly your issue but you might find some things to help you



Videos on making a Man's Shirt
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Re: Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby JimmyB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:58 pm

Thanks for the tip on muslin Kait, that's gonna be my plan. practice on cheap material(relatively cheap that is). The woman at the fabric store chuckled and rolled her eyes at me when I explained I never tried sewing anything before and told me prewashing my material wouldn't make a difference for me anyways.
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Re: Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby MartySews2 on Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:23 pm

Jimmy, on the blog http://www.off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com are tutorials for making men's shirts. Pam Erney is a professional shirt maker & can give you lots of tips on making shirts that fit. Sounds as if you bought your pattern size by your ready to wear (store bought) size which can be totally different measurements as you have learned. David Page Coffin has a great book on shirtmaking which can be found on amazon as well as some youtube videos on making shirts that fit. He even has a DVD & teaches classes online. Any of these resources should help you. I would purchase some broadcloth to practice making your shirts. In looking at the pattern info that you chose, I would go with the Husky Boy large as the finished garment measurement for the chest is 46. That gives you 3 inches of wearable ease. The average wearable ease is 2-3 inches. The sleeve length, I think, is about 29 inches (sorry my memory is not always up to par). My nephews are all very tall (over 6'6") & very thin so I know what you are facing. Hope this info helps you out in quest to sew your own shirts. My husband took a class at the university years ago & learned to make his own shirts but never did. He wanted to understand why I am so passionate about sewing. I took woodworking class at the same time so I could understand why he likes to build things. It just helped us understand one another. Good luck & let us know what happens.
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Re: Utterly frustrated with a shirt

New postby lendube on Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:35 pm

Great advice you got there, Jim. Libby and Marty know everything there is to know between the two of them. You seem determined so I know you'll do just fine. But please, remember to post a picture of the shirt when you're done. We'd love to see how you do.

I've just been dealing with the same sizing issues. I can see why a new sewer would have frustrations. For women's wear we generally make a pattern size two sizes bigger - yeah, great for the ego as you can imagine! :roll: I cut out a pattern today and it was just insane. My measurements put me in an X-Large which I knew couldn't be right. My usual pattern size put me in a Large but when I finally got out a RTW (ready-to-wear) top just like the pattern the finished measurements of it matched a Medium exactly! Like any skill you just need time to figure out the ins and outs. Most of us here on the board have been sewing for 30+ years and we still have problems. Not to be discouraging. Not at all. We are still at it because we love it. And besides - You have us!! :D

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