March – April 2007
Another small step toward the rather lofty goal of a complete man’s ensemble…now we have a shirt. This is Past Pattern‘s “Two Mid-19th Century Shirts,” view A, the traditional cut. Aaron’s also wearing the Laughing Moon “California Pants,” a silk stock and ascot from the LM Shirt pattern, and some brand new silk suspenders from the Salvation Army.
The shirt pattern includes a partial lining which also finishes the area where the gathered sleeves attach to the body. That was omitted and I opted to just hand-overcast the seams. I asked Past Patterns about the sleeve length and was informed that the cuffs should come to the knuckles for a formal shirt of this era — they protect the coat’s cuffs. It’s got 3/8″ shell buttons down the front and one on each cuff. (And naturally, I attached the cuff buttons to the wrong side of the sleeves). Being a basic white shirt, I wanted it to be low maintenance and wear well, so it’s made in cotton broadcloth. Pretty crisp fabric, and doesn’t wrinkle as easily as linen.
Those large wrinkles which come down from the neckline and diagonally across the chest, are the result of the rectangular construction. The shirt has great dropped shoulders. It’s really quite a full garment and adds a bit of bulk when tucked into those form-fitting Victorian pants.
This was the project where I finally figured out how to sew in a square gusset using french seams. It took a combination of the pattern’s instructions, the instructions in The Tudor Tailor, and a few more stabs at it. Whew. After two years, and an assortment of completed shirts, this was a major sewing breakthrough for me!