2018-04 April

Make 16 – Men’s Long Sleeve Shirt – Wearable Toile

  • Pattern – Kwik Sew K3422
  • Material – Blue Cotton fitted bedsheet
  • Buttons – Dark Blue


My brother’s birthday was coming up and I’d discussed with him previously about making him a shirt.  He is pretty muscular (having been a floor fitter for most of his life and also running his own fishing club) with a large chest, biceps and forearms.   We both have long arms, so trying to find RTW (ready to wear) items is difficult.

I thought that as he runs a fishing club that I would make him a lovely ‘fishy’ themed shirt for his birthday, and I sourced this wonderful ‘Nutex Deep Sea’ print material from the internet.

Fabric 1

The beauty of this fabric is that it displays a lot of the sort of fish that my brother catches when on his fishing trips and club matches.  However, it was the most expensive fabric that I’d bought to date (approx £12pm) so I only bought 1m and decided to use it as a feature rather than make the entire shirt from it.  It’s also a large print, so it could have been overwhelming to make the entire shirt from it.

Now, I’d taken my brother’s measurements using a measurement sheet.  I’d been sent a version by another lovely lady on the SITUK Facebook Group, but being somewhat OCD, it was a bit untidy for my liking, so I spent some time tidying it up.

Male Measurement sheet

You can find various versions of theses sheets on the internet.  If you are planning on altering/adjusting existing clothing or making clothes to fit family/friends etc, I would recommend that you use them.  Make sure you have a name and a date on there as people’s measurements will change with time.

I’d only taken the measurements relevant to the shirt that I was making.

I then checked the measurements I’d taken against the Finished Garment Size measurements on the pattern itself.  Most (but not all) have these, and they can be printed on the pattern envelope or on the pattern tissue itself.    Normally my brother has to buy a RTW 3XL in a commercial shirt, but based on his chest measurement the pattern suggested that an XXL would fit nicely with about 6cm of ease.


So, based on this, this is the size that I was going to cut out.  However, the other thing that I checked was the sleeve length as this is something that he specifically complained about with commercial RTW shirts – that and the fact that the sleeves were too narrow for his forearms.

I measured the width of the pattern pieces (remembering to reduce this measurement by 2 times my seam allowance) and the fit would be fine with a little bit of ease, so no worries there.  Next I checked the length (again taking the seam allowance into account).   The sleeves would be too short, which meant re-drafting them.  I had to add about 1 inch (approx 2.5cm).

Lengthening a sleeve pattern piece is relatively straightforward and I’ll try to remember to take some photos to show you how to do it.

There is a line across the pattern piece which says ‘Lengthen or Shorten here’.  Normally you would cut along this line and adjust either way.  I prefer to re-draft the piece on pattern paper without cutting my original (just in case)!

So, I simply draw around my pattern piece onto the pattern paper, making sure there is enough room at the cuff end to extend by the amount I need.  I then move the pattern piece down by the required amount and re-draw the cuff end.

Sleeve Adjustment 1

The above image shows the sleeve adjustment (single piece sleeve) using the ‘cut the pattern’ method, with the dotted black line being the ‘Lengthen/Shorten’ line.

Please be aware that you will need to re-draw your sleeve’s side lines (red dotted lines) as the angle will have changed a bit.

It’s important to remember that you just can’t add or remove length to/from a shaped pattern piece as it will definitely affect the construction (not the fit).  Below is an image of what would have happened if I’d just added some length to the sleeve.

Sleeve Adjustment 2 By simply extending the pattern lines we have lengthened our sleeve, however, what we’ve also done is reduce the cuff size (check where the green lines intersect the original cuff edge) – so the cuff pattern piece would no longer fit.  If you then adjusted the pattern piece to fit your new cuff length, it’s likely that it would be too tight around the wrist.

This principle is the same for any alterations that you make to the pattern pieces to ensure a good fit.

Because I had adjusted the sleeves and also because I wanted to ensure a good fit, I made a Toile up, using an old sheet and the rest of the navy pillowcase that I used for the Jacket collar and welts.

Shirt 1

This is the Toile ready for fitting.  It’s not been hemmed – and buttons and button holes have not been added.

I checked the fit with my brother, and it was fine, so I could start the actual shirt.  However, I hate to see anything go to waste, so I decided that I would finish this shirt so that my brother had two!

The only issue was that because it was an old sheet, the colour wasn’t consistent and it was faded in places.  So I used a ‘Washing Machine’ dye on it.  Very easy, just pop the garment (or fabric) in the washing machine with the dye pod and run the appropriate programme!

I’d chosen a colour called ‘Paradise Blue’ as it was dark enough to change the original colour from sky blue, but pale enough that it wouldn’t affect the navy of the collar and cuffs.  The result was really good.

Shirt 11

I’m going to show you how I attached the buttons.  I used my ‘button’ foot.  It makes sewing on buttons so simple.

Shirt 09

Basically you drop or cover your feed dogs (I have to cover mine), use the foot to hold the button in place – select a zig zag stitch and then hand turn to ensure the width is correct and the needle goes into the holes and doesn’t hit the button.  (We don’t want broken needles!)

Once they were on, and the button holes sorted, the shirt was finished.  An extra gift for brother’s birthday.

Shirt 12

You may have noticed that there are ‘double’ or ‘French’ cuffs.  This is because my brother requested a shirt that needed cufflinks.