Monday, July 26, 2010


I thought I'd take the opportunity to showcase some of my other shirts while I was in between shirts for this project. I made some very fine shirts for a worthy client.

I made all the shirts with detachable collars and we picked some amazing fabrics to work with...all Italian cottons of course :) You can see that the same shirt has a couple of different collars in some of the pictures. I also made him the vest you'll see in some of these pictures.

You can click on these pictures to get a larger view if you like...

And here they are....



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Side Seam Shaping

I've noticed on shirts 1, 2, 3 & 4 that there has been a little too much "frump" around the under arm section. And I felt it made my tubby physique look even tubbier - with shirt #5 I reshaped the side seam from a straight line into a curved line....below example 1 was the side seam used for shirts 1-4, while example 2 was the side seam I used for shirt #5.......

And here was the contrast and results of that change....a lot better!

and from these next couple of pictures you can really see that side seam shaping at work as the shirt is used...


This shirt is by far my favourite so far. The fabric is a very fine and colourful Thomans Mason fabric which I have listed in earlier posts.

I bought my fabric on ebay for a reasonable price from a seller who stocks a decent amount of fabrics at decent prices - favouritefabrics1

Amongst her range was this "plum" striped Thomas Mason....I don't know what the count of the fabric is but at a guess I would say it's either 180gsm or performs very nicely indeed.

I am most pleased about this shirt because it is the first attached collar I have attempted and I must say I am STOKED with the result. This style of collar is very popular currently amongst fine shirts being produced all over the world - it's a contemporary English spread collar.

I deliberately kept this shirt simple in its design - there was a real risk that if the design was too fancy or too radical those large stripes could have made me look more like a circus clown than a well dressed gentleman.

One thing I did ad this time was 1 dart either side of C.B. at the back yoke seam - I didn't do this because I felt like I needed more room across back, I did it just because the look of it time I get the chance I will ad 2 darts either side of C.B....

Some more pics of the completed shirts....

Monday, July 19, 2010


This shirt is made of a poly viscose basket weave of no particular fineness.

It has a closed front with a long placket opening. I used pop studs to fasten the placket but hid them inside the placket rather than pushing them through the placket from the's more or less a Chesterfield front...

I considered doing the same hidden fastenings for the cuffs - but the logistics of it didn't really work for me so I added external pop studs to the cuffs instead - everyone likes a shiny stud now and then, don't they?

There are two inverted chest pockets which are sewn into a flat felled seam that goes horizontally across the whole chest...the pocket linings were then top-stitched into place from the outside...


I did  double layered mandarin collar....ok, I MAY have gone a little 'Barbarella' on it, but I like me it fits into the whole design of the shirt...I made the collar wide around the neck as I plan to wear this shirt in summer months and I do not want a shirt that sits close into my neck...

So there's SHIRT #4 :0)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shirt Yoke Construction - Ascot Chang style

I recently had my hands oh a very fine shirt from the house of Ascot Chang. Shirts made by Ascot Chang are considered some of the best in the world. I took a long hard look at it. All his finishes were not only perfect but they were also the best possible finishes - the plackets on the sleeve were the best, the collar was immaculate with boning inserts in the under collar etc etc etc. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the shirt but then again would those pictures do it justice anyway?

This post is to show the reader how Ascot Chang attaches his double yoke to shirt bodice. Modern machinists sometimes sew all three layers of the yoke and shirt together at the one time. But this can lead to some unsightly gathering and even puckering as the three layers move along under the sewers needle.

If you apply a little intelligence as you practice this method I will GUARANTEE you that your finished yoke will be completely flat and pucker free.

So - here we go:

1. Stich the left w/s of the front bodice to the left r/s of the under yoke.

2. Press the seam allowance up.

3. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" (6mm).

4. Smooth the outer yoke over the pressed seam matching all the notch points with the attached under yoke (outer and under yokes are wrong sides together). Trim the seam allowance on the front left side of the outer yoke to the same width that you trimmed the left front side under yoke seam allowance to in step 3.

5. Fold the left front outer yoke seam allowance under so that it JUST covers the stitching line created  when you attached the front bodice to the under yoke in step 1. Press.

6. Pin-stitch the front yoke to the front bodice - making sure your pin-stitching line is JUST below the stitching line created when you attached the front bodice to the under yoke in step 1.

7. Top-stitch a second line above the pin-stiched line. This second top-stitching line should be no wider than the width of seam allowance you trimmed in step 2 and 3 - i.e. 1/4" (6mm).

8. Press. Now stand back and admire your perfectly flat and fitted front yoke.

Repeat the same steps for the right side of the garment.

9. After completing both left and right front of the yoke, lay the garment on the pressing board with the yoke completely flat - match all the notch points around the yoke. If needed, trim any excess fabrics off the back of the yoke. Attach the back of the yoke to the back shirt bodice using the above techniques.

If you're using a striped or symmetrical patterned fabric as I am here you should always obey the pattern on the outer panel of the yoke as your guide if you need to trim.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


"When you wear a label you know you're one of the boys - but when you wear a bespoke garment you're a man"

I know it looks like I've made three shirts in about 1 hour - but to be honest I did get a couple weeks head start before I set this blog in the last fortnight I have made the first 3 shirts.

I've decided to switch my chest pocket to the right-hand side of my shirts from now on - as I am left handed! Left hand reaches to the hell with etiquette - my shirts=my preferences .....bespoke much?

Talking of bespoke - my shirt pattern was drafted from my own measurements. After this third shirt I have ironed out some of the troubles and made the changes to the pattern - i.e. over all front and back length, collar size, neck position and 1" out of the chest girth.....everything else worked well. The fourth shirt ought to be flawless......right? The good thing about a bespoke garment is that you can tailor it to your own design desires.

This little ripper is a gorgeous Italian cotton twill I picked up at Tessuti in Sydney. They don't say it in store, and it's only guess work from me BUT I think it might be part of the Thomas Mason range - for those of you who don't know, Thomas Mason fabrics from the Albini group are amongst the best shirting fabrics in the world...and this fabrics appears to be part of the Thomas Mason "Silverline" collection. It feels cool and heavenly on the skin and it falls well - not to mention it's difficult to wrinkle - therefore easy to maintain.

I can't promise myself that I'll use such exquisite fabrics on every shirt (they tend to be a little too costly), but would it hurt to use something decent in general? Either way, the purpose of this blog is to appropriate different fabrics and interpret a design to suit, cheap fabrics or expensive ones I will do my best to turn it in to love.

I realise so far that all the shirts Ive made have detachable collars and that you might be wondering why...well the answer is simple - THEY'RE AMAZING!....I have designed individual shapes for each of them repeating and lots of fun. I won't be doing detachables for all my shirts but I will be doing alot

- Double yoke
- Long sleeves, french cuffs with contrast
- Detachable collar
- c.f. fasterners are pearl pop-studs....just love em
- little rounded chest pocket


Enthusiasm is HIGH. Shirt number 2.

This shirt is made from 100% cotton....nice on the skin but a wicked wrinkler....I saved myself too much torture and picked a 120gsm count cotton...not too coarse and not too fine....just right! A simple and plain shirt.

- Chesterfield front (concealed buttons)
- double yoke 
- Long sleeves, french cuffs
- detachable collar - nice high stand :)
- kewl buttons! a long time ago I was rummaging through the drawers of an old treadle sewer when I found a small card of actual Mother of Pearl 2-hole buttons - about 1cm in diameter. They have clearly been hand crafted as no 2 were identical and you could see the more calcified shell on the back of the button....cute as a button? Yup

I'd like to mention more about David Page Coffin - Shirtmaker extraordinaire! - He also has a website ...if youre a keen clothester or clothestress go check him out:


YIKES! Here we go! I'm pretty excited :)

Here's a great opportunity to refine and perfect my shirtmaking skills.

This shirt was made from a very sexy camp cotton plaid - it's only fair the first shirt should be loud. As you can see it is basically pink and green...and I've been told it suits my "bearish" appearance. As will be the case with ALL FiftyTwo Shirts, the inside seams are either felled or french seamed. I hope it's not too Humphrey B. Bear!

I made the detachable collar about 1/4" too short in girth this time....the general rule is that the collar stand of a detachable collar ought to be 1/2" wider in girth than the collar band it gets attached to....but I'm finding that that varies according to the thickness of the fabrics and interfacing you new rule is detachable collars will be 3/4" wider in girth than the collar band.

- Detachable collar
- double yoke
- long sleeves/single barrel cuffs
- c.f. front band
- c.f. and cuff  fasteners are pearl pop-studs
- left side chest pocket

My shirting hero is David Page Coffin - if you want to make the best shirts on the planet you cannot go past this incredibly clever book! It is my shirting bible!! and he's quite a nice fellow too :)