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 up...so 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 right-hand-side....to 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 them....so, 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 btw....no 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 use...my 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 :)