I don’t sew for other people very often but when I do, it seems to take me months to start it, months to photograph it and then more months to write about it!
I promised Hayden I would make him a shirt for Christmas… in 2015. I knooooow I know
– bad girlfriend. Having chosen the Negroni shirt from Colette Patterns to make for him, I ordered it in time for him to open it on Christmas day but I wanted him to chose what fabric he wanted it made from. It then took me until May 2016 to actually make a start… And then several months after that to take some photos of him actually wearing it. Like I said at the start of the month – I am still catching up! I’m writing this post from memory as I made it so long ago so a few details are a bit hazy!
Hayden is a fan of linen type fabrics so I ordered a few swatches and settled on this medium to heavy weight linen from Ada and Ina. They appear to predominantly sell furnishing fabrics but they do have linens suitable for clothing which you can find with their really good filtering tool on their site.
They provide a swatch service so we were able to compare colours and Hayden picked a light French grey colour. I prewashed as normal and there was a little bit of shrinkage but generally it didn’t fray too badly and sewed up nicely. We picked up buttons from Sew Creative in Cambridge – blue buttons were specifically requested but surprisingly difficult to find online and in our hometown!
The main issue I had was the pattern itself. Colette Patterns’ website states this is a ‘classic, slightly retro shirt’ but if I’m completely honest this doesn’t represent any vintage shirt I’ve seen before. The collar detail is quite true to period but the button loop? Just weird. I left it out as I knew Hayden wouldn’t like it either The instructions were nice and clear but I just did not enjoy putting it together. The whole thing felt like an unnecessary effort. I’ve read a few reviews from others who have made this up who expressed a similar feeling. I do wonder if the fabric choice had anything to do with it though; the linen was quite weighty but if I am completely honest, I’m in no rush to make another one up. With regards to the fit, it’s a little boxy but not overwhelmingly so and I made the sleeves up as drafted and at first fitting they were the perfect length but made up properly were about half an inch too short. I was so pleased with how the sleeve plackets turned out though, these are sometimes a bit fiddly but to their credit Colette’s instructions are clear and detailed so they were easy to follow. However there is a lot excess fabric around the arms, which is something I had noticed in other versions and I think this is just down to bad drafting. The sleeves are inserted flat and have very little shaping in comparison to a normal sleeve head so I think this is where the excess comes from. Hayden is tall and slim but with quite broad shoulders and the fit across the back is quite nice with the classic pleat detail but I think a more fitted shape would be a better fit for him. However he has worn it to work a few times and apparently been given lots of compliments, so that’s nice to know! Unfortunately it seems to have shrunk a little bit more after washing so I would recommend a cool wash cycle if anyone does order from Ada and Ina, but Hayden has also bulked up a little bit too. I have a different pattern for the next shirt I make him – I’ve got Burda 7045 as recommended by Jamie from the Great British Sewing Bee and Male Devon Sewing and a request for a navy blue shirt with pale pink buttons. Maybe I won’t take so long to sew up this one though!