Starting on Spring: Men’s Wear

I’m making men’s wear. Button down shirts.

This is my first journey down the path of men’s wear design, and like all journeys, this one starts with a terribly executed sewing pattern.

I have this textbook, you see. It’s on pattern drafting, you see. I’ve spoken highly of it in the past, and for the most part, it’s great. Except for when it isn’t, you see.

My husband/business partner and I had been tossing around the idea of making button down shirts for The Labour District for the past couple o’ months. Last week was when I finally had the time to sit down and really get stuck in.

Which is where the pattern drafting issues come in:

mens1On the left is the proper sized pattern piece for men’s shirt front, size Large. I won’t bore you with details on how I managed to sort it out, but it’s nearly perfect; I think I added another inch for length after this picture was taken.

On the right is the pattern piece for the men’s shirt front, size Large, according to the pattern drafting textbook.


Those of you who are familiar with sewing patterns, please notice how the armhole was originally supposed to be 8 inches long (red dotted line). Even after I added two extra inches of armhole length (blue dotted line, and yellow dotted line), it’s still very tight. And yes, this is a shirt pattern, not just the sloper (which would still be freakishly tight for man-sized shoulders).

It should also be noted that the textbook skips several steps in drafting the front pattern pieces, rearranges a couple of steps in drafting the back, and the pictures in the book don’t actually match up with the instructions that they bothered to add. And call me crazy, but I suspect that the standardized front and back shoulder slope measurements they suggest might’ve been switched at birth.

So I’m open to suggestion on a good men’s wear pattern drafting book, if anyone knows of any.

In the meantime, here’s the muslin of the button down shirt:

mens2Not bad. I forgot to add the collar, not sure why. But the fit is decent, save for some minor issues. The shoulder length was too long, and the upper back was too tight, which sounds like they’d cancel each other out, but they don’t.

mens3So back to the drawing board I went. Lopped off 1/2″ at the shoulder, and added 3/4″ to the centre back, which I then tapered down along the centre back line.


It fits great. Husband is happy with everything except for the width of the collar (too wide/thick), and the size of the buttons (too big). Sewing people: isn’t it great when your client wants changes that are super easy to fix? And you’re like “oh… I guess I can try to make the collar more narrow…” and then you just go and cut 1/2″ off the straight length of the collar pattern, yawning and looking at your Instagram feed at the same time?

Pocket was also a smidge too big:


mens6Yay this shirt is so kick ass.






2 responses to “Starting on Spring: Men’s Wear

  1. Pingback: The Sleeve Chronicles | Amie Scott·

  2. Pingback: T-Shirt Sloper Drafting | Amie Scott·

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