Men’s shirt: first muslin

I started late for the Men’s shirt sew-along because I couldn’t find any cheap fabric for the muslin. That was a lie. It’s just that I always have trouble working with deadlines or going along with the others. This sew-along is not only a sewing challenge, but also a challenge to this tendency of mine.

After kicking myself off the couch, I biked for ten minutes to the nearest fabric store and bought this cheap fabric. The store was not a regular fabric store, it was small, filled tightly with bolt and cut fabrics, old buttons, and dusty knick-knacks that look like they’ve been there since the owners -an elderly couple- were young. The fabric I bought was thin cotton in indescribable color, $2 for 2.5 meters. I also bought the buttons there, $1 for 10 buttons!

I made the size M of the Negroni pattern, the short-sleeved version. My husband never wear his shirt tucked in, so I changed the curved hem to straight hem with side slits. Peter posts step-by-step pictures daily on his blog, and they are really great! The MPB flickr group is also very helpful, with many tips and experiences shared by the others.

The first muslin was finished yesterday and we did the fitting this morning. The silhouette is fine, Negroni pattern is slimmer than most of my husband’s store-bought shirts but I think he looks better in this fit. The length of the hem and sleeves are also fine. The first button needs to be lowered. However, there are a lot of folds around the neckline area. The shirt looked better on the front when he straightened his body, but the folds moved to the back.

There is some pulling around the back neckline that may indicate that the neckline is too high. When the shirt is buttoned to the neck, the front neckline is also too high. I wonder if this is the cause of all those folds?

I will start working on the second muslin with lowered neckline soon, and also use it as a practice to make pockets. It will have double pockets with flaps.

My husband said that he liked this first muslin anyway -even the indescribable color- and will wear it. I still don’t know if I’m going to fix it or not. It seems that the bunching around the neckline didn’t annoy him at all. He also said that he liked my ‘crazy eyes’ when I was doing the fitting and looking for the culprit behind those darn folds (@_@)

Men's shirt, first muslin
Front and back. There's a lot of folds around neckline.
Men's shirt, first muslin
Front and back with straightened body. Less folds on the front but more on back.
Men's shirt, first muslin
Side view and with arms extended.
Men's shirt, first muslin
Folds of fabric on shoulder.
Men's shirt, first muslin
The neckline is a bit too high and needs to be lowered. I wonder if this is the cause of the folds.

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  • I would love to see your next version!

  • I think it looks really good, especially for a first muslin! Good luck with your alterations 🙂

  • My Husband gets pull lines too where the shoulder meets the neck. He takes his shirts to the tailor and he adjusts them, I believe by moving the shoulder line forward over the shoulder, maybe 1/2″ – 5/8″. Since you’re also adjusting the neckline, this may also help.
    Also, this is going out on a limb here, but maybe you should lower the yoke in the back? It may smooth out the wrinkling in the back, and I think it positions the yoke at the highest point in the upper back region which will make the pleats in the back more useful.

    Good luck on your next muslin!

    • verypurpleperson

      Thank you for the suggestion! Will try them!
      But actually I might have found that the reason of those lines are that the shoulders need to be lowered. I will try adjusting them for the next muslin 🙂

  • nicely done, nice pics of the details, after all that is what its all about

  • Sky

    I think this is one of my favorite posts so far. There are so people who comment on your blog saying how amazing the stuff you sew is – that I feel one more “wow, how wonderful” would be a redundant and mindless comment to make.

    anyway, i like this post because it’s very visual and very funny (one could make a cartoon out of it – <3 the crazy eyes:)

    i also like it because it's very useful and interesting – to see someone who obsesses about garment perfection as much as I do (even though I almost never fix the garments, like you, I prefer to make a new one and refashion or use around the house the imperfect one).

    thanks for blogging and good luck with your next sewing adventures 🙂

    • verypurpleperson

      Haha thank you! Sometimes I get too excited with all these sewing projects and treat him like my toy, pulling him around, telling him to straighten up, sitting down, putting arms up, sticking pins etc. He finds it funny though 😀

  • Loren

    The shirt looks very cute on him!

    I believe the color is called gra-bro-urple.
    Which is a mixture of gray, brown and purple.

    • verypurpleperson

      That’s new knowledge for me! From now on, I will use gra-bro-urple in my vocabulary! 😛

  • You did a great job. I have a pattern for a shirt for my husband who has to wear a tie every day to work and I’m inspired to actually attempt the pattern. We’ve purchased custom shirts here in the states and on a trip to Hong Kong a couple of years ago and I’ve loved all the details. I love that you have great attention to detail and do so much for your family.

  • It looks fantastic for a first shot! I wish I could shed more light on the neckline fitting issue…good luck with round two.

  • It turned out nicely. The color, while hard to label, isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. One question though- what is the purpose of the loop at the neckline? I’ve never seen that before.

    • verypurpleperson

      There’s a small button under the collar across the loop (I haven’t attached it yet). When the wearer wants to close the shirt up to the neckline, he can use the loop and button. This style is usually used on vintage shirt with convertible collar to allow the wearer to put on necktie 🙂

      • Thanks for explaining that. I learn something new every day. 🙂