Wedding photo by Simon Fazackarley, detail photos by me (which is why they're not as good).
I think this may be my proudest wedding accomplishment. And if you don't think it is, I suggest you try sewing a men's shirt from scratch (including pattern adjustments such as drafting a collar stand and collar and double cuffs) on approximately 12 seconds of sleep a night for three months straight.
I suggested the idea of a Liberty print fairly early on in wedding planning proceedings and, amazingly, Adam was totally up for it. In an ideal world I'd have found some boat-themed Liberty print (Adam is a yacht design engineer type person), but I thought the planes came a close second!
He got lots of compliments for the shirt (from people who didn't know it was handmade. hooray!) and has worn it a handful of times since, so I'm calling it an unequivocal success.
Project notes - Adam's Negroni wedding shirt
- The pattern was Negroni by Colette Patterns. It's a great pattern with lots of little finish details so it looks like a 'proper' shirt. I am now reasonably competent at flat felled seams, perfect point turning (owning a point turner and knowing how to use it really does make a difference!) and sleeve plackets.
- The fabric is 'Tom's Jets' tana lawn from Liberty of London. I love it more than I like to admit. It's pretty hard to get hold of, but occasional bits are making their way into the scrap bags I sometimes sell in my Etsy store.
- I made a muslin of Negroni a month or so before the wedding, and it quickly became apparent that a few of the styling details weren't for us. The open neck (camp collar? Is that what's it's called? Something like that) wasn't right on Adam, and he prefers a shirt with double cuffs (the kind that need cufflinks) rather than narrow button cuffs. Also, the interfaced front facings were far too stiff even with the lightest interfacing I could lay my hands on, so I scrapped that interfacing altogether and made a more traditional button placket (the kind you'll see on most shop bought shirts if you look down).
- The print is directional. My failure to notice this point when cutting the first two pieces is the main reason for the scraps mentioned above. Let's not dwell on that.
- I found the Negroni sew-along posts on Male Pattern Boldness absolutely invaluable for both muslin and final shirt (even though the pattern instructions are thorough, extra pictures and explanations never hurt), and used Peter's tutorials for replacing the button placket and drafting and sewing a collar stand and collar (scroll down the sew along posts to find the various tutorials). In order to make the whole experience even more exciting, I didn't make a second muslin with the new collar, just ploughed on with it in the final fabric. Risky, but essential, given the lack of spare time for sewing in the run up to the wedding.
- I wouldn't necessarily rush to sew this pattern again, but that's purely because of the sheer hours of labour involved rather than a problem with the pattern. The end result is absolutely fantastic, and I'd definitely consider making Adam another shirt for a seriously special occasion (like, ummm, our golden wedding anniversary?). The next complex pattern I sew is going to benefit yours truly.
- The shirt has also stood up to washing a handful of times without even the smallest hint of wear. Always pleasing when that happens, as it makes all the fiddly finishing details and expensive fabric seem worthwhile - nothing more irritating than a beautiful handmade garment that frays and wears in a couple of wearings.
Umm. That's it really. Did I mention I'm rather proud of this project?