Plaid wool shirt for Josh

Shirt for Josh

I finally got Josh’s shirt finished up, just in time for his birthday yesterday — I actually sewed on the final buttons and made him pose on the very day. I think we’re both pretty happy with how it turned out.

Shirt for Josh
Shirt for Josh
Shirt for Josh

(Excuse all the cat hair and dust, it needs a spin in the wash.) I used the Burda Jakob pattern, a semi-fitted style with a full stand collar, buttoned cuffs, curved hem and chest pocket. As I mentioned before, Josh picked out the wool plaid when I bought the fabric for my coat from Dalston Mill. It was quite pricey, so I made sure to take my time and do a good job with it.

Shirt for Josh

I made a toile out of cheap polycotton first to check everything made sense and that the fit was right. Not many adjustments were needed from the medium size, just shortening the body and sleeves a little (I took most of it from the cuffs since my client wanted them narrower anyway) and reducing the ridiculous Seventies-disco collar considerably.

Shirt for Josh

The construction was really quite fun as well as satisfyingly challenging in parts. The pattern is perfectly drafted and unusually for Burda the instructions are clear and thorough, with photos and diagrams throughout. I especially enjoyed the really nerdy details like matching the checks, careful pressing and topstitching and doing neat mock flat-felled seams throughout. I would have liked to do true flat-felled seams inside for a really pro finish, but they proved tricky in this fabric.

Shirt for Josh

I supplemented the instructions with some of the Archer sewalong steps and Andrea’s superb alternative method for setting in a collar which worked a treat. I redid the collar once because I overcompensated and cut the first one too narrow, and also omitted the interfacing from it the second time since it was pretty thick anyway. The buttons on the tips are nonfunctional, they’re just stitched down.

Shirt for Josh

The wool plaid Josh chose pressed and stitched up nicely, but its thickness and frayability did make the construction a bit more challenging. The collar stand, cuffs and shoulder seams are rather chunky because I was nervous to clip too much, though a bit of steam-pressing helped it settle down. I think there’s 8+ layers around the armsyce where the yoke and sleeve join which my poor machine really struggled with. All the raw edges inside are either concealed or overlocked so I feel good that it won’t fall apart in a hurry anyway.

Shirt for Josh

I used my buttonhole foot for the first time for all the functional buttons: together with the one-step program on my machine it makes them sooo easy. I’ll be buttoning all the things from now on! I used the machine to stitch the buttons on too, just going very slowly on a short, wide zigzag setting. Totally worked, even if it probably isn’t the done thing.

Shirt for Josh

This is definitely the most precise and well-made garment I’ve made so far, probably because I was making for a harsher critic than myself (not that Josh is harsh, I’m just pretty lax) and I really wanted to make a shirt he would love and wear often. It seemed to take forever compared to my usual makes – about ten sessions over about a month – but I quite liked the change of pace. I even put the speed limiter on my machine, and I can see the difference in neatness and accuracy when I go slower. Definitely a lesson learned going forward. I’d like to make him another shirt in a lighter fabric like a flannel, now that I know this pattern is a good fit and fun to sew.

11 thoughts on “Plaid wool shirt for Josh

  1. Kathryn

    Amazing job! It looks perfect. I love the pocket, it’s so neat and the topstitching looks beautiful.

    I’ve just made Alex a shirt but sadly I think it falls under the category of ‘unwearable muslin’. I didn’t check the size of the collar beforehand, and it’s another ridiculously massive 70s number, made from a Burda pattern too. Maybe it’s a German style thing? Also the cuffs are enormous. Very odd.

    1. Katie Post author

      Thanks! I wish I’d seen your topstitching tips first, though overall I did OK.

      I saw Alex’s one, it looked great to me. I’m amazed this pattern fitted so well overall actually, comedy collar and cuffs aside.

  2. Clare Szabo

    Wow, this is really great! It looks pretty perfect to me and as good if not better than a shirt off the rack. I really love your fabric choice and that’s some badass pattern matching! I made this Burda shirt for my husband many moons ago, and it made me smile when you mentioned that ridiculous collar they use. I had to shave that down considerably. Really awesome job!

    1. Katie Post author

      Thank you Clare! Yeah, I really don’t know what they were thinking with the collar. It doesn’t even look that big in the photo.

  3. Jen

    This is great! My Josh keeps pressuring me to make a shirt for him so maybe I’ll take a look at this pattern. So annoying when they won’t let you just sew for yourself, isn’t it?! ;)

    1. Katie Post author

      Thanks Jen! Do it, it’s actually really satisfying to sew for someone else and a whole new set of sewing challenges!

  4. Joe

    Excellent job Katie! I was actually going to start gearing up more towards spring sewing at this point. After seeing this shirt and how well you’ve done on it, I’m wavering a little. Might just have to make one last warm winter button up to finish the season off ; )

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