Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Completed: Fairfield Shirt

Hello again! I took a break from Instagram this month, which has got me back into reading blogs, which in turn has apparently got me writing again. It's something I've been thinking about recently, but the writing and the photographing all take time, that I often don't have (and let's be honest, if I have time I prefer to prioritise actual sewing!). I'm not promising anything here. This year is going to be a busy one. I'm at threat of redundancy again, and I don't know what that's going to do to my work/life balance, but let's go with it for now.

I discovered I have 3 unfinished, unpublished posts that I wrote in June/July last year, plus many other projects finished but not documented, but rather than attempt to pick up where I left off, I'm going to crack on with the first thing I've made this year, a shirt.

I made this for Paul's Christmas. I know it's late, but I had other stuff to sew before Christmas, and I can't sew in secret from Paul anyway, so instead I made him a gift voucher, promising him a shirt. He's been asking me to make him something, anything, for about 8 years!

We chose the Fairfield shirt by Thread Theory - it was the only pattern I showed him, but he liked it, so that was good and he chose the fabric, with some guidance and only one rule - no checks or horizontal stripes that would need matching. I had a gift voucher for The Dress Fabrics Company, that I didn't actually win, but acquired at Edinburgh Frocktails last year (Joann won it, then gave it to Judith, who then gave it to me), so we had a look there and he found this shirting cotton. It's navy with a white pattern, which is reminiscent of a Sashiko wave pattern, although on a much smaller scale. Paul chose to have mountains rather than waves. I wasn't overly convinced about the print on him at first, it's quite different to what he normally wears, but now it's made up, I love it. It was also a dream to work with, a lovely stable change for someone who regularly tortures herself with drapey, shifty, frays like mad fabrics.

I loved making this shirt. The fabric probably helped. That plus it's just a great pattern, with excellent instructions. Shirt making is so satisfying. I've always enjoyed burritoing a yoke, but I also loved the tower sleeve plackets on this. My only previous experience of shirt making is the Archer, which has a bias binding placket and I do not like that at all. I will always do proper plackets now that I understand them, although I did cut them upside down. A stable cotton allowed me to be pretty precise, as there are some very small SAs on this pattern. This was also my first experience of flat-felled seams which were fine and slightly more straightforward than I expected, although that could be because the pattern is drafted to have them, with SAs offset in all the relevant places.

There were a few things I found odd about the pattern. Some notches that didn't match anything, for instance and I also found one of the notches on the button placket to be wrong - the pattern says it's a X seam allowance, but the notch is at the Y mark (can't be bothered to get up and check, sorry). I just ignored the notch and measured it myself.

I also didn't like the constantly changing seam allowances. I understand why the pattern is written like that, and have no alternative suggestions, but I find it hard to switch back and forth and as a result sewed more than one seam with the wrong SA, which then had to be ripped out.

In terms of the pattern, he chose the darts at the back, but no sleeve tabs. He did want the sleeve tabs, and I made them and attached them, but they didn't look right, so I persuaded him to remove them. They would be better on a summer version, I think.

I made no fit adjustments to this, and it's not bad at all. Paul has narrow shoulders, so I do need to alter the pattern here a bit, but its no worse than a RTW shirt. He must also have slightly short arms, as often shirt sleeves are too long, but he was happy with the length of them on this shirt. The collar is too tight, even though the measurements of the S matched his, but he won't do the top button up anyway, so no biggie. We made the size Small.

I had some real pattern matching wins on this. I made no attempt to match them at all (other than the breast pocket), yet the sewing gods were clearly smiling on me, with the collar matching the yoke, which in turn matches the shirt back!

Look at my pattern matching!

I added a few design details, in the form of a red button hole and the button also attached with red thread. It's a nice touch, which I stole from RTW and also Jen.

A success! Paul loves it, and I can't get over how much it looks like an actual shirt. I do realise that's a stupid thing to think and write - I make my own clothes all the time and they look like real clothes - but, and I don't know if it's the fact that this is a shirt, or if it's because it's for someone else, this is somehow different. I might even make him another!



  1. This turned out so well!! Love the red buttonholes and pattern matching! The fit looks great! I am hoping to finish my shirts before sewing some for my husband. Thanks for the heads up about the notches

    1. No problem at all, and thank you! I enjoy shirt making much more than I thought I would. Hope you are enjoying it too.

  2. What a fantastic shirt, it looks amazing, just like a real one 😂 😜

  3. Wow! this is Amazing! Do you know your hidden name meaning ? Click here to find your hidden name meaning


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