Western birthday blues

The shirt I made my monsieur in February has been worn constantly, so I decided to make another for his birthday. I wanted to keep it a secret, and assumed that Nathan wouldn’t ask what I was making. I started cutting out the pieces when we were both home, and less than 2 minutes into it, he popped around the corner.

“Whatcha making!” he said.

Instead of coming up with a lie, I stammered “nothing!” He looked kind of confused and a little hurt, so I caved and told him everything.  “You could have just lied to me!” he said, after we’d had a laugh. (Nathan has picked up a good bit of sewing knowledge and in my moment of panic I feared he could tell I was making a men’s shirt based on the pattern pieces. Apparently, not so!)

On to the shirt! I’ve used McCall’s 6044 for every shirt I’ve made Nathan, but wanted to try the Western-style yokes this time.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6044 western shirt

The fit of this pattern is pretty great on him. One of Nathan’s issues with RTW shirts is that they’re too wide through the waist if they fit him in the shoulders. I used a larger size through the chest and grade down to one size smaller for the waist.The only other change I made to the pattern was shortening the sleeves by about 1″.

After making the black shirt, I had meant to take a look at what may be excess fabric in the back shoulder seam. I totally forgot! I plan to do this on the next shirt and welcome suggestions. I’m thinking of taking a wedge out of the area between the shoulder and neckline.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6044 western shirt

This is another project where I would have been working much harder without my walking foot. Top-stitching (especially on light fabric) is much easier.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6044 western shirt

I was kind of stumped on what color of buttons to use, but my sis picked these out for me (without even a swatch to go by) and I love them!

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6044 western shirt

So far, Nathan’s worn the shirt four times since I finished it last Saturday.  This is a case where flattery will get one everywhere – there’s no better motivation for me to sew for others than seeing my creations worn to bits.

For the next shirt, I’d like to attempt something long-sleeved and dressier. One of the downfalls of this pattern is that it’s pretty scant; the long sleeve is two pieces and no sleeve placket. I want to add a sleeve placket as well as try a folded button placket (not sure if that’s the right term) instead of a separate placket piece. I’ve been cruising Lisa G.’s posts on men’s shirts again, and she inspired me to purchase a used copy of David Coffin’s book on shirtmaking with which to educate myself.

As always, I can’t promise when I’ll be attempting another shirt because planned sewing makes me defiant (against myself…) but I’ve got two fabrics to choose from! One is probably the oldest piece of fabric in my stash, and the other is a dressier light blue cotton (see the photo below)  I found this weekend on a field trip with awesome fellow Seattle bloggers Sanae and Meris.


We went to an AMAZING store in Seattle where individuals can put their stashed fabric for sale on consignment. It’s called Our Fabric Stash, and there are deals to be had. They have all kinds of fabric, from a scrap bin to big bolts, patterns, notions, and books. I walked out of there with 18+ yards of cotton and linen fabrics and three bags of metal buttons for under 100 USD. I felt so great about buying used fabric from a cool business that I lost my usual restraint. That said, aside from a piece of linen knit and pattern twill I want to buy for specific projects, I think I’m all set for my fall/winter sewing!


29 thoughts on “Western birthday blues

  1. Love this! The tailoring really does make the shirt. I’ve never tried sewing anything for my man, but he also has broad shoulders for his waist, so it might be worth it if he can come out looking as spiffy as this!

  2. Your shirt looks amazing! I don’t blame him for wearing it so much!

    And that consignment shop you visited sounds brilliant! I wish our town had something like that!

  3. That shirt looks great on him! No wonder he’s been wearing it so much. I’m so afraid to make something for my guy because he is suuuuuper picky about his clothes. I’m tempted to make something and just put it in the closet to see if he wears it.
    That fabric consignment store sounds awesome. My sister’s bf is from around there so if I ever go visit him there I’ll definitely have to check it out!

    1. I love the idea of a sneaky gift shirt in your man’s closet. Maybe one day I’ll be able to pull that off! (Or not.) If you come to Seattle, let me know!

  4. What an awesome shirt – beautiful workmanship, Morgan! It was so fun to hang out this weekend, we’ll have to plan another one soon. Man, it was hard to resist the fabric, darn this fabric fast 🙂

    1. YES! Emailing you now, we should definitely hang out again. And I was so impressed by your restraint! Now that my bookshelf of fabric has been re-stocked, I may also need to go on a fabric fast…

  5. The first thing I thought (again!) when I saw the first photo, was what a neat fit. You have got the front absolutely spot on and your top stitching…well that must take a bit of practice. I must look at a walking foot although I don’t know if I need one with my machine. I read somewhere that some machines don’t need them. Btw I really envy that stash store. There are very few sources of secondhand fabric in the UK. Something like that would be my dream!

    1. Thanks so much! A walking foot might help you with Vogue 1250, although I can’t remember if I used it on mine. I couldn’t believe that store existed!

  6. love the shirt! i need to try the western style one of these days also. your topstitching looks awesome! you’ll love the shirtmaking book, he has a section on fitting (draping from scratch, really) but it should be helpful for the shoulder fitting. it really only looks like the shoulder seam could be brought in a tad. chances are the yoke isn’t the culprit. and so funny about him not being able to tell what you were making–i always feel like it’s completely obvious also! my husband can’t tell either, and worse he can’t tell between the kid or adult clothes when i’m cutting!

    1. I had a good long cackle about your husband’s inability to tell children’s clothing from adult clothing. I perused the book when it arrived a couple of nights ago, and it looks pretty great. The word “draping” freaks me out a bit, though!

  7. Haha secret sewing! Well at least he knows you’ll never lie 😀 This shirt is really beautiful and it’s finally pushed me to get a walking foot. I’m doing it! x

  8. It’s great! I’ve still got the Negroni in my sewing queue and you’ve kept me fired up to attempt it! Did you read the recent post on A Fashionable Stitch (the one about the Tyler shirt in Liberty) where Sunni posts a link to a Threads article about drafting and sewing the perfect sleeve placket? It’s worth a read!

  9. What a lucky guy! I love that color and your topstitching is stellar.
    The shirt doesn’t look to me like it’s too big in the back. It’s possible that if you eliminated what looks like excess ease when he’s standing upright, it would become uncomfortable for him to move his arms up and forward. Maybe?! A possible solution could be to move the excess fabric into an ease pleat under the yoke at center back so it hangs with a slimmer-looking fit but still gives him range of motion…

    1. That’s a good thought! I kept the muslin I made for this shirt. Maybe I’ll try both a pleat and taking some width out and see how his range of motion is affected.

  10. Oh wow, you’re stitching is perfect and so is the fit! Of course he’s going to wear it all of the time! That really is the greatest compliment.

    Nice haul at the fabric store! That’s such a great idea.

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