Anybody made his own shirt?

Discussion in 'Bespoke Clothing' started by phr33dom, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. phr33dom

    phr33dom Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Bury St Edmunds
    I'm wondering how difficult it would be to make your own shirt to an acceptable standard of workmanship? I have some sewing machine experience and have both a regular sewing machine and an overlocker (serger). I've had about 20 shirts made for me in Bangkok over the years and have one unwashed and unworn template shirt that a copy once shrunken would fit me perfectly. Obviously it's way more convenient to have it made in Bangkok and only costs USD50 per shirt if made from the finest quality shirting, but I would see it as a personal project and would enjoy wearing a shirt I made myself.
  2. Dhaller

    Dhaller Super Member

    United States
    Maybe when I was a kid?

    Think of this in terms of numbers: an experienced shirt-maker - let's say he's been doing it twelve years (he's in his early-mid 30s) has probably made 1000-1200 shirts. So, this is one option to having a shirt made: the guy with a full range of equipment, training, and fabrics, who's made 1000 shirts, and it's what he DOES every day, undistracted by other things (an other profession, for example), and who may even work with a few other shirt makers should he need advice or assistance.

    Compare this to making your own shirt: you have "some sewing machine experience". You've never actually made a shirt... but you do have a couple of sewing machines.

    I'm just going to come out and say it: no, you can't make a shirt to an acceptable standard of workmanship. You will wind up spending far more money and time and you'll wind up with a crummy, unwearable, amateurish "shirt".

    Just have it made!

  3. eagle2250

    eagle2250 Connoisseur - Moderator

    Harmony, FL
    United States
    I have not personally done so, but my wife has made a few for me. In terms of the time required for completion, based on my observations of her work, it can equate to a pretty expensive shirt! LOL. ;)
  4. Searching_Best_Fit

    Searching_Best_Fit Senior Member

    May I suggest a fabulous book: Shirtmaking-Developing Skills for Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin. The author goes through the shirt making process extensively so you can get an idea of skills and tools that you need to make it your own "at-home" project. You can first read this book to determine whether you have, or can acquire, the necessary skills and tools, and then decide whether you have time and resource to commence such a project.

    I would assume that you do not want to make this as a commercial endeavor but for personal enjoyment. Having things made for you and having things made by you gives you different satisfactions.
  5. phr33dom

    phr33dom Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    Bury St Edmunds
    @ Searching_Best_Fit: Thanks for the book recommendation, it would be a personal project only.
  6. Bernie Zack

    Bernie Zack Senior Member

    United States
    Las Vegas
    Please post pictures of your shirt(s) when you have made them. Would love to see the result!
  7. Langham

    Langham Honors Member

    My wife once made a shirt for me, in the time before she was my wife. I had remarked on the expense of Jermyn Street shirts and, badly misunderstanding what I meant then by 'expensive', she bought some even more expensive fabric at Liberty, and made it into a shirt. It was very kind of her but somehow the collar never looked quite right - one side seemed to project slightly further than the other.

    I'm sure it can be done, but making a wearable shirt is quite a demanding task.
  8. WA

    WA Honors Member

    United States
    This thread is rather depressing, gloomy and sad. Many men and boys have started hobbies. Sure the first few are not perfect. So what! Got to start somewhere to build skills and knowledge. Skills get better and the knowledge to prevent errors develope. One to two hours to make a shirt, add another hour for hand made buttonholes. Hobbies are sometimes an adventure.

    Buy some cheap cloth. Buy a pattern or make one. Chalk the cloth. Add some inlays. Cut and sew (big stitches) just the body part for the first fitting. Pull out stitches where corrections need to be, which might be done several times as changes happen. Adjust the pattern to those corrections. Sew the body part up. Now the focus is the sleeves and the collar. (this might change the body part of the shirt) the sleeves and collar may need to be changed. If so, make the changes, chalk the cloth, add the inlays and cut. Sew the length, slide the arm in and pin to the top of the shoulder. If it doesn't fit right repin it different until the best fit is found. From there pin fit the rest. Sew it on. Ideally the shirt side seam and the long sleeve seam line up. These later become one seam. Figure out the best shape of the collar stand, by fitting, add collar. Decide best place for sleeve placet and cut, make that then add the cuff. Before putting on the collar stand the front, or button placet needs to be sewn on. Press the garment and add the buttons. This added skills and knowledge and created a better pattern. Make two-three more practice shirts. Now try better cloth. If sew often enough the skills will be kept. Otherwise, practice shirts, garment, whatever you are making.
  9. WA

    WA Honors Member

    United States
    For corrections use pins. They are temporary and can be changed quickly and easily.
  10. Virginia-Style

    Virginia-Style Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    I'm getting there... have Coffin's books and videos and they are quite informative. I've deconstructed a few old shirts and sport coats which exceeded their useful life... can learn quite a bit that way and have something close to a good pattern... now that the kids are a little older it's probably time to dive in a give it a shot!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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