Mr Sewaholic’s Christmas Shirt Finished! McCalls 9351

It’s done! Success! Mr Sewaholic’s Christmas shirt is finished, just in time to wrap and place under the Christmas tree.

My finger’s healed and back to normal, so I can sew again. Yay! I can type at normal speed and everything. Thanks for all the well wishes and kind thoughts! (And thanks for sharing all of your sewing horror stories as well… it’s great to know I’m not the only one who’s accident-prone around the sewing machine!)

It was really hard to get nice-looking photos of the shirt on a hanger! It feels a bit underwhelming to post pictures of an empty shirt, after so much fuss and hard work on this project.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get him to model last night by the time I finished. I’ll see if I can get a few photos of the shirt on him later today. (Maybe he’ll wear it for Christmas festivities and I can get some action shots of the shirt!)

It was a mad rush to complete the shirt over the last couple of days! I have to say, I didn’t document very much of the actual shirt sewing this time. I hope you understand! It was either stop to take photos and make notes, or finish the shirt. I chose to finish the shirt instead of writing up the steps. Plus, I felt like I was learning as I went on this project, instead of applying skills I’d already learned.

I highly recommend the book Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. This book is a wonderful resource! I followed his process to construct the collar and cuffs, instead of the pattern instructions and both turned out beautifully. If you are intrigued by shirtmaking and tailoring, this book is fantastic, full of comprehensive, detailed written instructions and easy-to-follow diagrams. His methods are so different from the standard home-sewing pattern instructions, you have to trust him and know it will work out in the end! (That’s how I felt while trying some of the techniques!)

I’d use this book again and again for future shirt projects – it’s not a book you read once and remember everything! It’s written by someone who not only loves shirts, but thoroughly enjoys and appreciates the process of tailoring a dress shirt. Not all of you will want to make a shirt this way! If you just want to bang out a shirt quickly, then this book is not for you.

Close-up of cuffs and placket – they were hard! Cotton fabric is easy to work with, but constructing a shirt is a challenge. So many finicky parts to do: collar, cuffs, placket, even a curved hem is hard to do nicely!

I was holding my breath the entire time I did the buttonholes, praying my machine wouldn’t eat my shirt! Luckily, the worst thing that happened was running out of bobbin thread mid-buttonhole. Not to worry, I just started up another round of the buttonhole stitch and started it where my previous stitching left off.

Now I don’t want to fold it and wrap it up, or I’ll have to iron it all over again!

Here are all the Christmas Shirt posts leading up to this one:

You might be wondering: would I make a men’s dress shirt again? Mr Sewaholic is probably hoping the answer is yes! While fitting is the hardest part, you need patience and a calm state of mind to construct the shirt itself. I’m proud that I finished it in time with tidy, polished results.

Of all the projects I’ve made this year, this one wasn’t my favourite to make. It was one hundred percent a labour of love – in that I love my guy, and wanted him to have something special made just for him. So for that reason, perhaps I will make another shirt! For a special occasion, of course. Luckily, I have lots of time until his birthday in July!

PS. Great news, Spool of Thread sold out of the Pendrell Blouse pattern already. Isn’t that fantastic? Not to worry, their shelves are stocked again! I dropped off more patterns yesterday.

Thanks, Vancouver-area readers, for supporting me as well as a wonderful local store!

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47 Responses to Mr Sewaholic’s Christmas Shirt Finished! McCalls 9351

  1. Sam December 22, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    Tasia, it’s beautiful! You may have inspired me to make one for the hubs. He’s tall and has an athletic build, but he has REALLY long arms and all his sleeves are too short!

    Great news about your pattern selling out, congrats!

  2. Taint-Isis December 22, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    So… You wouldn’t be in to hosting a men’s shirt sew along after the Pendrell one, then? ;)

    That book is on my list of things to check out.

    What super-duper news about the pattern!!!! :D

  3. Ginnie December 22, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    Looks fantastic! I have 2 shirts in the works as ‘after Christmas’ gifts for the hubs… just not enough time before. And I’m working on a winter coat. But your shirt looks amazing and is an inspiration for me to take my time and make the Mr. some quality garments. Job well done!!

  4. K-Line December 22, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    Wow – it looks great! What a lucky boy :-)

  5. Suzie December 22, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    Woohoo! Well done – finished, with time to spare – now you can sit back, relax and enjoy a big glass of mullled wine and a mince pie!!! The shirt looks amazing :)

  6. CGCouture December 22, 2010 at 6:44 am #

    It looks great! I’m working on two of them for my hubs right now to put under the tree too, but I’m using a KS pattern. I’ve got one half done and the other not even started, but I’m sure I’ll get as far as I can to put them under the tree (since my snaps won’t be here until after Christmas anyway). If you struggle with buttonholes, I highly recommend snaps–they are easy to put on and I think that pearl snaps look every bit as dressy as buttons.

  7. Kathleen December 22, 2010 at 7:13 am #


  8. Moeno December 22, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Looks so nice and professional, great job Tasia. And lucky Mr. Sewaholic.

    (Extra congrats on your patterns sales too!)

  9. Mary December 22, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    Great job Tasia! The shirt is beautiful and the best thing is that it will fit Mr. Sewaholic perfectly! Can’t do that with RTW!

  10. Ms.Cleaver December 22, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    It looks fantastic!!! Very professional.

    My Mr.’s Christmas shirt is finished except for the buttons/buttonholes, which I’ll finish tonight or tomorrow. I’ve been doing the whole thing in secret (sewing is secret is tough when the sewing table is in your bedroom!), so here’s hoping the finished project fits!!

    I agree on the labor of love thing, there are tons of finicky bits on men’s shirts and I had to match plaid and I did flat felled seams for the first time (not an exposed seam on the whole shirt), but I’m very proud of the way it all turned out – totally worth it. If he likes it, I’d happily sew dozens more (though maybe not all in plaid…)

  11. Funnygrrl December 22, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Beautiful job! He’ll be so happy to tell everyone that you made it.
    I still think feminine fabrics and garments are prettier though. Sorry, guys! :)

  12. Clare December 22, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    It looks fantastic – professionally made. I’m really impressed – I hope Mr. SH is too!

  13. The Slapdash Sewist December 22, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    What a fantastic shirt! The collar and the sleeve plackets are impeccable. My boyfriend has occasionally mentioned me making him a shirt, but I really don’t think I have it in me. Hats off to you!

  14. wilkll December 22, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    I’d love to see pictures of the inside. Great job!

  15. Mav December 22, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    It looks fantastic! I love how you do such a neat and tidy job with everything you sew!

  16. Nancy December 22, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    Oh! That came out soooooooooooooooooooo good. Great job! Make sure you post pics of Mr. Sew wearing it for us :)

  17. Amy December 22, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Very impressive! That’s one fine-looking shirt. Can’t wait to see the modeled pictures! Happy holidays.

  18. Catherine December 22, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Really outstanding work, congratulations! Take a break now, you deserve it, and have a very Happy Holiday with your loved ones :)

  19. maranda December 22, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    good job! and 2 days to spare…i’m impressed! I was hoping you’d say that now that you’ve done one shirt, making more would be easy! my husband is super picky about clothes and how they fit, but i don’t think i have the skills to tackle mens shirts just yet!

  20. Sherry December 22, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    It looks great, and now we’ve seen a photo of Mr S, I think it is really going to suit him!
    Congratulations on your sell-out pattern!

  21. Laura December 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    The shirt looks amazing!! It looks similar to a Banana Republic shirt I bought for my fiance (I consider their RTW to be very nice) only yours will have a much better fit. Beautiful job!

  22. HipDroppedStitches December 22, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Wow, beautiful work! Every detail looks perfectly polished. Your Mr. is a lucky man!

  23. Jennifer December 22, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I am so impressed! The shirt turned out fabulous! It is perfect!

    Congratulations on selling out of your pattern! I was telling my (pear-shaped) friend about the pattern line for us girls and she thought it was the neatest thing! She doesn’t sew, but I am sure she will ask me to make her something from one of your patterns!

  24. Lizzy December 22, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Oh! this is just perfect it seems like if you were bought it in a store!! I have never sewed anything for my husband or any man , I have some patterns but I haven’t done , I love your blog because you explain us step by step, thanks for sharing!

  25. Eilane December 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Tasia was very beautiful, congratulations, there is in the details that you built it with love and care for someone you love too.

    Eilan – Brazil

  26. Seersucker Sally December 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    So professional looking! I’d love to see pics of the inside, too.

  27. Marie December 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Wow, the shirt looks fantastic. Very impressive.

  28. Mel December 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Looks absolutely fantastic. I’ve borrowed that book so many times and toyed with the idea of making mr sewmeaningful a shirt… You have inspired me.

  29. Samina December 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    The shirt looks amazing! I continue to be wowed by your skill. Congrats on the sellout, too!

  30. learningnewtricks December 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    I’ve checked out that book many times from our local library. In fact, I checked it out recently and will have it for another few weeks. Have you checked out his video? I think it’s even better than his book — you get to see work in progress. Our library doesn’t have the DVD version. You can find his book and DVD on Amazon and Threads online (on sale).

    Your shirt turned out beautifully! I can see you making your guy another shirt for Valentine’s Day! Taint-Isis is right, you might consider a sew-a-long. I would definitely join a men’s shirt sew-a-long. My husband also has long arms, a long torso, broad shoulders, and very lean body. As a result, he resorted to having his shirts custom made through a Hong Kong service. The usual RTW men’s dress shirts are always HUGE in the body, plus short in the arms and torso. I plan on making him some shirts once my skills improve, and I get a flat felled foot for my machine, as suggested in David’s book.

    Glad to hear your hand is now on the mend. Congratulations on your pattern sales, and on successfully making your guy a properly fit and constructed men’s shirt.

  31. Louise December 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Love the sleeve placket. I once made my husband a Christmas shirt. It gets hauled out year after year for dozens of Christmas parties. A good investment of time and effort. After reading your story I feel inspired to make either a Valentine shirt or an Easter shirt this year. Subtle not flashy. Yep, that sew-a-long idea is a good one. How about a link for that book and DVD.

  32. Kristen December 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    Wow, it looks amazing and so professional! Thanks for sharing the book recommendations and all the links you’ve done on this project. I will definitely come back to them when it comes time for Trent’s shirt (if that time ever comes). The good news is the hard part (the pattern altering) is done, and subsequent shirts for Mr. Sewaholic will be that much faster! Well done you!

  33. Tilia December 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Very nice result but do get your man to model it for us, the shirt would look better. :-)

    I admire this labour of love. I’m not sure if I would make clothing for my darling boyfriend. The Selfish Seamstress has rubbed of on me and now I refuse every time someone wants me to sew for them.

  34. AllisonC December 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Absolutely beautiful work, you’ve inspired me to get the shirtmaking book as a Christmas present to myself – I can use the techniques on womenswear too I am sure. Huge congratulations on the success of the Pendrell pattern!

  35. Corinne December 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Beautiful shirt, he will love it I am sure!!!

  36. Faye Lewis December 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm #


  37. Karin December 23, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Well done! I particularly like your choice of fabric.

  38. Gina December 23, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    Store brought has nothing on you for sure! It’s amazing how perfect this shirt is. Where do you buy fabric for all the stuff you make? Looks high quality for sure! The Mr. should be happy with this!

  39. Lisette December 23, 2010 at 5:41 am #

    It looks great, and the fabric is delicious! Those rounded cuffs are pretty cool.

  40. A Sewn Wardrobe December 23, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    You did such a wonderful job on this! It is so professional looking. What an accomplishment – congrats!

    This mens-shirt series has been such an inspiration – my husband really wants me to make him one as well. To be honest, I was slightly daunted by all of the fitting and prep work you had to do, but perhaps I should be an unselfish, good wife for once and make something for him. Maybe. ;)

  41. Shannon December 23, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Absolutely professional looking. Awesome job on this!

  42. Amanda S. December 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Great job! Labor of love indeed. I am tossing around the idea of making my hubby some pajama pants because I’m selfish and don’t want to spend much time on it. I’m sure Mr. Sewaholic will treasure his shirt for years to come. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  43. Tasia December 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Wow! Thanks everyone, I’m really happy with how it turned out too! I’ve taken a few photos of the shirt in action and will get them up later this week.

    I agree with everyone who said it’s nice but they much prefer girl clothes. Me too! It’s true that our clothing is more fun to make, model and wear. Ah well! Men need clothes too.

    And I know the feeling of being ‘selfish’ and not wanting to make clothes for your man. That’s OK, too! Sewing’s a hobby and something you should do for enjoyment. If you’re sewing out of obligation, that sucks a lot of the fun out of it. Next time I’d give myself much more time, so I could work on it when I felt like it, not rushing to get it done.

    The fabric’s from Fabricana in Richmond, one of my favourite local stores.

    Hmm, what else? Here’s a link to the book on Amazon:
    which I just got for Christmas!

    Hm, a sew-along? For a men’s shirt? Well, how about this – when (if?) I go to make a men’s shirt again, I’ll see how many of you are interested. The hardest part is the fitting! Well, the sewing is tricky too, but that I can explain no problem. I’ll do my best to share steps and tutorials next time, so that you can follow along when you’re ready. Does that work?

    Thanks for all the enthusiastic comments! He loved the shirt and good news, I didn’t have to wrap it either! Handed it over on the hanger – after taking photos of course! :)

  44. Claire (aka Seemane) December 28, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    The shirt is great, well done – I bet he loved it! And, now you’ve got the fit sorted you’ll be able to make more (in secret) for his birthday etc. as a suprprise without him even realising!! :)

  45. Gina @ Temporary Nest January 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    What a fantastic job!! I love the shirt! I’m new to your blog and a seamstress (Yay for having a fashion degree!!) turned interiors obsesser. But now I’m totally loving your blog! You’re fabulous!


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