Neil’s birthday was in August and I was a bit stuck on what to get him. What do you get the man who had everything, got rid of heaps of it, and now has exactly what he needs?
He had noticed that his new workplace had a slightly different culture fashion-wise to his previous Australian workplace, although I’d argue New York and Melbourne are very different in regards to style. In Neil’s particular case, it meant less t-shirts and more button up shirts.
With all that considered, I decided to make him a button-up shirt. I went straight to Colette’s Negroni for a pattern. It’s relatively well-documented, bloggers like Lladybird and Peter have made it without complaint, plus the instructions were apparently legendary, so I bit the bullet and ordered the printed version. Admittedly, this was before all the Rue-ha-ha kicked off, but this pattern came through for me.
Neil is historically a straight Medium, all day every day. But while the man is a sample size in everything, I wasn’t quite confident enough to pick the fabric and features I thought he might like on my own, plus why not let him customise his own shirt? So the gift I gave him on his actual birthday was a toile. I sewed one long sleeve and one short sleeve onto the shirt, which got the laugh I wanted, and I explained he could customise the pockets, chose fabric and buttons, and determine the sleeve length himself. He chose the long sleeves and we shortened them slightly, which was the only adjustment we made to the pattern.
The fabric came from Mood. Neil had a Friday off so I suggested we visit the Garment District to visit some characters and get some supplies. I’d actually seen something at Metro Textiles that I thought he’d like, plus the whole store-on-the-9th-floor thing is still really interesting to us, but we didn’t make it that far from the subway. I suggested we quickly check Mood because they’d have everything, where we ended up buying the whole lot!
Neil picked a top-weight denim with tiny little palm trees on it (it’s this fabric, but a different colourway that doesn’t appear to be online). We found matching buttons and thread, and Neil got to pat Swatch the dog, who he said, “Is probably the most famous dog I’ve ever patted.”
Sewing the Negroni shirt was a lot of fun. In fact, if I ever needed some palette-cleansing sewing sorbet in the future, I would consider making another one of these for Neil. In Neil’s case, there’s no major fitting concerns, it’s all straight lines, no set-in sleeves and everything lines up just right. The fabric Neil chose was great to work with as well — it loved my iron, the interfacing, shears, everything felt like a breeze.
This is some seriously minor stuff, but I don’t think I matched the colour of the thread to the fabric very well. It’s slightly too grey and not quite blue enough for me. I don’t think the topstitching is perfect either, but topstitching is kind of like that, one stitch out and it’s looks wonky. I have to decide whether I want to buy another foot for my machine or place the topstitching a little further away from the edge of the garment. And while I prefer this method of sewing sleeves to set-in sleeves, I’m still figuring out how to make the seams under the arms line up exactly.
While the fit is pretty spot-on, after wearing it for a day, Neil did mention he’d like it a little slimmer at the hips next time, which is something I can definitely fix. It was also another case of matching the correct pattern to the correct fabric. While the denim is a top-weight denim, it’s still kind of thick, which meant Neil couldn’t really wear the shirt until the weather cooled down. A lovely winter shirt is a good thing, but it’s hard to be patient sometimes!
This is Neil wearing his new shirt on our trip to Beacon a couple of months ago. Note that the collar here is pressed slightly differently, more in line with the pattern description. Neil ironed a crease into it, which gives it a slightly different look and a little more like the other shirts he has in his wardrobe. I’ve read a little bit about how the collar isn’t to everyone’s taste, so if you’re in that boat, consider a crease that almost mimics a collar stand!