Saturday, 14 February 2015

A polo shirt for my dad

Do you remember my crazy but self-imposed 11 projects on the go at the back of last year? I still have a two selfless makes to share with you and today's post is the first of them.
The story of this creation started when I offered to make Dad a shirt for his birthday. As the discussion went on about what pattern to choose, it became clear that Dad was searching for a long sleeved polo shirt that fitted him well and thus the journey began. After hours of searching, no pattern, modern or vintage, fitted the bill. The only option left to me was to trace off one of his ready to wear shirts. 
Dad's polo shirt

Tracing RTW is a relatively simple process as long as you have enough space to work in and are able to lay the item fully flat. The trickiest part was getting a clean line through the thick seams around the neckline due to the collar. The sleeves also took some time as they are a single piece and I needed to flip them carefully once I had traced one side. 
Sourcing the fabric can only be described as an epic hunt. I had no idea it was so difficult to find decent pique knit in the UK. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong places but I spent hours trying to find it before eventually stumbling upon Jorsey Fabrics based in Nottingham. Ordering from them wasn't the best experience I've had with online fabric suppliers. When I opened the package I discovered that they had cut the fabric very oddly - I had been sent an extra 50cm in the middle of the fabric with a 15cm gap at the selvedges but thankfully this was over the amount I had ordered. The collar and cuffs came from them too and they are of good quality, although the cuffs are a little narrower than I would have liked. Overall the knit was easy to work with but unpicking was difficult. The stitches disappeared into the weave and it was easy to nick the fabric with the seam ripper. 
Dad's polo shirt

To create the button placket I followed this tutorial which annoyingly I now can't find so I'm unable to share it. I remember the process being reasonably straightforward although creating a clean finish on the outside was tricky as the fabric being sandwiched between layers refused to stay in place.
Dad's polo shirt

The cuffs have been added twice, and to be honest, I expected this to happen. You see, Dad is a little particular about the length of his sleeves. He's generally relaxed about the rest of an item but not the sleeves. I remember shopping with him when I was younger and becoming increasingly bored as he worked out whether the cuffs landed in the right place. To be fair, it probably took just a few minutes for him to decide but when you're a teenager that feels like forever! Anyway, the good news is the cuffs are now exactly where he wants them and that is how it should be. I wouldn't have been happy giving him an item that wasn't right for him.
I'm pleased that he likes the shirt and I hope that it gets a reasonable amount of wear. He also sweetly agree to model the shirt for the photos citing this was his "15 minutes of fame." Little did he realise that I would force him out on a cold day so we could get photos in natural daylight...

16 comments:

  1. Congratulations, it's a great outcome -- for a very handsome Dad, too!
    Although they seem to be the most banal sewing endeavour, my partner loves the casual knit shirts that he asks me to make for him: it is very satisfying to see his enthusiasm for a relatively simple project... I am sure your Dad is just as thrilled!

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    1. Thank you - it was nice to try menswear for the first time. Glad your work is appreciated!

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  2. Well done Claire! You did an amazing job. Bet your dad is well chuffed! Prepare yourself for repeat orders! ;-)

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    1. Thanks - he seemed pretty pleased when he finally got it!

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  3. Yay! It looks great. And I'm glad you dad got both a new polo shirt AND his 15 minutes of fame. Double win.

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  4. Nice work Claire! I don't see long-sleeved Polo shirts in the shops very often - the one you made for your Dad looks great :-)

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    1. Thanks, Claire. They aren't always easy to find and glad I could help.

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  5. It looks great! I find polo plackets tricky and yours looks nice.

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    1. Thanks. Plackets are tricky - they require a lot of patience!

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  6. Wow this looks great. You fabric collar and cuffs match perfectly and it fits your dad a treat! He must be chuffed, especially with custom fit sleeve length!

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  7. Wow this looks great. You fabric collar and cuffs match perfectly and it fits your dad a treat! He must be chuffed, especially with custom fit sleeve length!

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