Spectrum o’ Shirts


Since this is a project about creating a wardrobe, I thought I would do a quick overview of where I am at as far as shirts go. I finally have a small collection of everyday casual shirts. The aqua/green-ish chambray in front, and the narrow blue and white striped shirt behind it are the two newest additions. I started work on them a month or two ago.


I consider all of these shirts to be casual. The collars are on the short side, making them a little awkward to wear with a tie, and the button down collars aren’t something I would wear in a formal setting anyway. Plus, the fabrics themselves aren’t exactly the refined type from which proper dress shirts are made.

That being said, these are exactly the type of shirts I use most often, and have very few occasions to wear something more formal. I work from home, so I do not need dressier shirts for business, and hardly ever need to wear a suit. As a result, I’ve focused my efforts so far on everyday basic shirts that work with denim as well as a variety of chinos.


This doesn’t mean that I don’t like more formal clothing. In fact, there are times when I wish I had a collection of suits and ties hanging in my closet, but simply don’t have the need at this point. Since my sewing time is limited, I try to spend my time making things that are useful and that fit within the context of my everyday life.


So…what to make next is the question. I may take a break from shirts for a while. I’m good on the denim front, but would like to make one more pair of chinos in a dark gray. The other option is to dive straight into jacket/blazer making. I made an attempt at a pattern a while back and may revisit that project next.

20 Responses to “Spectrum o’ Shirts”

  1. Steve Pauling — February 11, 2014 @ 8:25 am

    Nice job on the shirts!

  2. Ginger — February 11, 2014 @ 10:19 am

    These are so gorgeous! There’s something so pleasing about handmade shirts! But I hope you dive into blazer making. I’d love to see what you come up with! I’ve found it to be really addictive, and now have to find reasons to wear the blazers I’ve made!

  3. Ann — February 11, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

    I made my husband a couple of shirts this summer (one pictured here http://www.thevelvetaubergine.com/2013/06/20/fathers-day-shirt/ and one I didn’t blog, but that’s much more toned down), but your shirts here are inspiring me to attempt to make a few work shirts. He’s a college professor and his work wardrobe is also mostly jeans with a button down and blazer (or blazer and sweater because we’re in Canada). If I were looking to replicate what you’ve done here – because they’re frankly beautiful – what kind of weight of fabric am I looking for? Thanks so much Taylor! I always love seeing your work.

  4. Taylor — February 11, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

    Great work on your husband’s shirt! The fabric weights vary from a “standard” oxford cloth weight, to so light that the fabric is almost see through when held up to bright light. I wish I had a number to give you in terms of fabric weight, but none of the fabrics were labeled with weights when I bought them. I lean towards lighter weight shirting fabrics because they are more comfortable to me and easier to layer. I hope that helps a little. Sorry I can’t be more specific.

  5. Ann — February 11, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

    Aw, thanks! And, on the contrary, it’s helpful to know that you find a light weight shirt more comfortable. I might have to make a trip to a proper city and see about some shirting. It’s really hard, here in this small-ish Ontario town, to find fabric that’s meant to be used for menswear.

  6. Alex from California — February 11, 2014 @ 2:24 pm

    Exceptional looking shirts. Great job!

  7. jen — February 11, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

    good job, they look fabulous. what pattern did you use please, i’d love to try and make one of theses

  8. poppykettle — February 12, 2014 @ 3:03 am

    They’re just beautiful – I especially love the aqua chambray! Gorgeous topstitching, too πŸ™‚

  9. Taylor — February 12, 2014 @ 10:19 am

    Thanks Jen! I drafted the pattern myself a few years ago, and have been making small changes to it ever since.

  10. Taylor — February 12, 2014 @ 10:20 am

    Thanks Ginger! I’m leaning towards the blazer project next!

  11. Cheryl — February 12, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

    What a lovely collection! I’m hoping to build one up for my husband, who lives in casual button up shirts, beginning this spring. I think he’s already picked out three different fabrics, so I just need to get going on a muslin!

  12. Sarah — February 18, 2014 @ 7:53 am

    Love your collar. I hope I’ll have a lovely line-up of shirts hanging in my wardrobe one day too πŸ™‚

  13. PendleStitches — February 19, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    Splendid shirts. I really do need to make more for my mister.

  14. Chesley — March 1, 2014 @ 8:03 am

    These are beautiful shirts. I just found your blog by way of Madalynn’s and I can’t wait to delve in to your work.
    The collar on these shirts is so perfect, please draft a pattern for us!

  15. Win — March 11, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

    Hi Taylor! You are an inspiration to me as I am working on my own shirts. I have had some difficulty finding good fabrics…do you order primarily online? Or are you lucky enough to have a good fabric store near you.

  16. Taylor — March 11, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    Thanks Win! Finding decent fabric can be a challenge. I am lucky enough to have a good fabric store near me that carries apparel fabric.

    Search around online and always order a swatch first. You should be able to find some good fabrics online. You can start here: http://www.bblackandsons.com. I’ve never ordered from them, but they seem to carry high quality supplies.

  17. Win — March 11, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    Thanks Taylor! I have also been wondering, what sort of interfacing do you use? Sew in? I have had some reservations about using the iron on kind. Really great work, I am also making my own patterns and was very surprised how complicated they actually are!

  18. Taylor — March 11, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

    I use sew-in interfacing everywhere on my shirts. I also have reservations about the iron on kind, although many people get great results with fusible interfacing and love working with it. I prefer the look of sew-in interfacing. The final collars and cuffs have a “softer appearance” in my opinion.

    Yeah, shirt patterns can be complicated. Keep at it though! Your final result will be that much more satisfying.

  19. Caroline — April 25, 2014 @ 7:49 am

    Hi Taylor.

    That is a very impressive spectrum o’shirts! I have included a link to it on my sewing blog as I have just done a post about the shirts that I make for my husband. It’s at http://carolineparadigmdesign.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/mr-ts-shirts.html

  20. Drew — May 16, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

    They’re going to start calling me Daisy Buchanan if I keep hanging around here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eieel6pic

    Keep up the good work!

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