Monday, November 22, 2010

1930's-1940's Tab Collar Denim Work Shirt

One of the things that I've read most often in books and articles about learning how to sew clothing is that you must always make a muslin first when trying something new. What this means is that you shouldn't use your really nice material on something you've never tried before, instead use something cheap, like muslin (or sheets from the thrift store) in case it doesn't work out. This is very sound advice and I recommend it, and one day I hope to follow it. The two times that I've used cheap fabric to test a new pattern I've been so bored with the material that the garments were never finished.

So, this here shirt that I finished last weekend is made with some fabric that I find very interesting, is very rare, and that I probably shouldn't use to try out several new things on.

The shirt is made from unwashed, vintage/antique, narrow loom (29") denim, based on a mid to late 1930's shirt pattern, and uses similar era vintage enameled metal buttons. The fabric is medium weight, has a white/natural selvedge with a pink line, and what makes it particularly neat, to me at least, is that the warp fibers are gray rather than white. I found about 5 yards of this at the thrift store several months ago and I've been waiting for the right inspiration to come to me as to what I should do with it.

I traced the original pattern onto new paper and changed the way the front band attached, tried to modify the fit a little, changed the hem shape, and added more curve and point to the collar. I tried out a few other ideas as well, the most noticeable being the asymmetrical pockets.

Here's the shirt in it's unwashed state

I used gray thread for everything expect light blue for the pencil pocket top-stitching and black thread for the bar tacks.

I also tried to incorporate the selvedge in various places and also tried my hand at making a hem gusset. I haven't actually seem the old style hem gusset in person so it wasn't completely successful this time.

The two button tab collar came out decently, next time'll be a little better

Unfortunately there's an upward pull on the middle which causes these wrinkles to form in the center of the chest. I'm bummed about this, and I haven't yet figured out what's causing it though I suspect it's something to do with the fit at the back of the neck. This is why I need to learn how to make patterns.

The inner collar band is actually a different piece of vintage selvedge denim fabric that I found at the thrift store.

There's some more hidden selvedge inside the smaller pocket. I didn't get a good photo of it, but you can see a bit of it peeking out of the top. Along with some fibers there at the button hole that need to be cut!

1 comment:

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