Monday, 7 May 2012

Kwik Sew 3883 - Men's shirt

[please click here to be directed to my post on "one pattern many looks" as I have made 8 shirts now]

I can't tell you how busy I have been this weekend, but I am glad to say that I finished my first ever men's shirt for my D Mike (shush it's meant to be one of his birthday presents).

I ordered Kwik Sew 3883 and after a couple of modifications to their pattern, I am absolutely delighted with the end result.

Pattern description:  Slightly fitted shirts have left front tab and double yoke collar with collar stand, patch breast pocket and shirt-tail hemline.  View A (full length sleeves with cuff and sleeve placket - this is the one I made) and View B has short hemmed sleeves.

I cut a "M" which is for a 38-40" chest and 15 1/2" collar and this fitted Mike perfectly.

Fabric is a beautiful cotton oxford cloth - purchased at a bargain price of course in my beloved Walthamstow market.

The original pattern pieces had a normal button cuff but Mike prefers to wear cufflinks for work, so I took a cuff off  one of his old worn out shirt to use as a template.  You can also see that I have added a monogramme too.  Mike designed this in PhotoShop - e.mailed it to me and I then digitized it with my Janome Digitizer pro software.

Here are a few other changes I made to the original pattern, which I think turned this from being a "home made shirt", to one that equals any of the very expensive RTW ones and one that Mike would actually wear for work.

In the pattern instructions there is no mention of encasing the seams.  I wanted this to be as good as any top quality shirt so all the seams in this shirt are enclosed by sewing wrong sides together with as small a seam allowance you can get away with, followed by sewing the same seam right sides together and I just used the edge of my foot as a guide.  This pattern only allows for 1/4" seam allowances so I knew I didn't have much to play with.  Once the seams were stitched, twice, I then topstitched each seam 1/4" using my 1/4" edge foot (see bottom left picture of the sleeve seams).

I had a bit of a problem embroidering my monogramme - I made the cuff, added the buttonholes and then embroidered the cuff - problem was I embroidered it upside down lol.  Unpicking this was a nightmare, but I managed to do it without too much damage.  To make sure that I didn't do the same thing again.  I cut out my sample monogramme - positioned it on the cuff, with the cuff in the right position and then put a pin in the middle, and then stuck the cuff to my embroidery hoop (I used a sticky back stabiliser) with the centre point of the monogramme to the centre position of the hoop - success.

For some reason or other I always struggle with my hemming foot, so found it easier to just turn the hem under twice using my fingers and gauging the hem by eye - it worked fine.

One tip I would make is that you hem the back, then the front pieces before you stitch the sides together - works much better.

What would I do different?

I am not 100% happy with the collar stand - looking at Mike's fairly expensive purchased shirts, they look a little bigger than the pattern provides so I will adjust that.

Mike also likes collar stays so I recall Sandra Betzina doing a tutorial on this, so I will have a look to remind me.  Can I add a collar stay to this shirt - perhaps if make the little triangle complete with the stay channel and then blind stitch in place - an experiment.  But for my TNT pattern I will amend the pattern, make notes and add it to the pattern envelope.

So I know I have made a rod for my own back now, but seeing as it was Mike who bought the sewing machine, a few fleeces, a bit of embroidery for his sailing club shirts, and now a few shirts isn't too much to ask for is it?

I  really enjoyed making this - and can't recommend this pattern enough (with or without the modifications).

Now for my next task I have to ice my sister's wedding cake - no pressure lol.

Catch you later.....................


  1. What a fabulous shirt for Mike. It looks high end for sure. Love the monogrammed cuffs.

    Ron showed us how to do collar stays but I don't remember how.

    We don't have a goat but could get one in a minute from the greenhouse owners. We think a cat and a dog are enough for us.

  2. Wow, Pauline - quite the journey through this fabulous shirt. Unpicking embroidery is no small feat. And the result is just a perfect man's shirt. Great idea to reverse engineer one of his old shirts for the cuff. And the result justifies it, doesn't it? Great details.

  3. Looks superb! Nice details, I think it looks really professional. This weekend I was toying with the idea of making a men's shirt, but I think it is still to early for me to pull it. Good job!

  4. thanks for all your comments - I am in the middle of shirt No.2 and using my embroidery thread for the monogram and button holes. On this one the inside of the cuff is white - am on a roll and now have to leave for a few days drat......

    Cal you should find some muslin and give this a go its really quite easy if you forget the enclosed seams etc.

  5. Great looking shirt! Love the monogram on the cuff.

  6. Fabulous and so very high end!

  7. Wowzer - this looks great for your first men's shirt! I'm very impressed. Looking forward to seeing the next one!

  8. The Print looks awesome. Thanks for sharing.