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A Shirt fit for a Viking

I hardly ever sew for the men in my family, so I was really excited when my son spotted a fabric that he liked enough to ask me to make him something! Littlest boy is, in fact, the tallest member of our family, measuring in at nearly 6 foot, but at 15 still retains the position of "baby". Much to his disgust. He has always had a good eye for style, and prefers to wear buttoned shirts with blazers or overcoats. So the decision to turn the delicious Runes fabric from Lewis and Irene into a shirt was really a bit of a no brainer.

We settled on the Simplicity 8753 "Made to Fit" shirt pattern view B, as he likes a slightly fitted style shirt. I went up a size in chest measurements, as he is hovering very near to the next size up, and I doubt very much that he has finished growing. His sleeve and torso length seem an OK match for this pattern, so I didn't actually made any size adjustments to the pattern before cutting out. I didn't make any style adjustments either, with the single exception of leaving out the "removable collar stiffener" facility, as I don't think he particularly needs extra stiff collars and he will only lose the do-dahs that you insert to make them stiffer anyway. This meant I didn't need to add an undercollar, which was just as well really, as I was VERY tight on fabric.

I would like to be able to reuse this pattern in different sizes, so I traced the main pattern pieces (back, front and sleeve) onto Swedish tracing paper, in order to leave the main pattern intact. I didn't bothered doing this with the smaller pieces, though, as they are either already printed for specific sizes of can easily be folded to adjust them.

Making the Shirt

I struggled to fit the pattern pieces onto my fabric, despite having bought the suggested amount. I didn't use their suggested pattern layout (does anyone?) but frankly I was left with only enough to make two face masks, with very little in the way of scraps, so I doubt their way was better than mine. I'm not really sure what happened there, but if you are planning on making this shirt, don't buy less than the recommended amount of fabric or you may run into problems.

However, once the pieces were cut out, this was a dream to make. The instructions are really very clear and include instructions for finishing all the internal seams with a flat fell seam. This gave a really professional finish to the garment, and was a new technique for me. Of course, I managed to mess one of them up by trimming the seam the wrong way, and had to finish one armhole with bias binding, but that wasn't really the patterns fault. So - do pay attention to make sure you are trimming the correct side of the seam, otherwise you won't be able to fold it over properly. Oops. The other part of the sew that I wasn't happy with was again my fault rather than the pattern or instructions - I always ALWAYS struggle to catch the underside of the collar stand when topstitching it into place. Really, you would think I would have learnt to do something sensible - like baste it in place first from the inside before topstitching from the outside, but no. Apparently not. Obviously I prefer to unpick and restitch the topstitching several times instead. Maybe next time?

The Fit

With those two small(ish) errors excepted, I was very pleased with the finished garment. There was only one real problem - it doesn't fit terribly well. Despite having gone up a size it is too tight in both the hips and neck, although it is fine across the chest - until the point my son tries to wear a T shirt under it - and he does like to wear T shirts under his shirts. Then it just looks a bit tight all over. The Boy is unconcerned by this - the neck and hips are no problem at all as he doesn't do up the bottom button or collar (or indeed, tuck in his shirt - and it is probably designed to be tucked in). Mostly he just loves the fabric.

Just don't put my face in the picture, OK?


Overall, I love the pattern, but the sizing does seem to be slightly off. Boy would like another one when I can find a suitable fabric, and both my Husband and Eldest have also said they would like one - preferably in the same fabric as this one, which certainly won't be happening! But when I find something that strikes me as particularly "them". However, I am certainly going to go up another size for Boy, and will need to think carefully when sizing for the others (although I suspect both of them would prefer the classic fit, rather than the modern fit which Boy chose).

Finished garment and sewing photos by Lucy from Moongazey Hare

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