Man Sewing

Monsieur has been nagging asking nicely if I could make him some tee shirts ever since I figured out how to use the overlocker, and I finally relented last weekend. Its only taken me about five months! He’s a slightly difficult shape to clothe, my boyfriend, he’s tall and broad shouldered, but slim through the body. He also has very long limbs (gibbon arms!), and so finding him garments which fit his torso and waist which are long enough in the sleeves or legs is difficult! I would like to be able to tailor him clothes, but I’ve always found the idea of sewing menswear really intimidating…so I thought a standard tee shirt pattern would probably be a good place to start.

Of course, I didn’t make a standard tee shirt. Instead, I had a crack at taking a pattern off one of his existing tee shirts. And not just any teeshirt, this one has curved raglan sleeve seams and a forward set side and sleeve seam. Why make things easy, right? To take the pattern, I laid the teeshirt out on a roll of wrapping paper (it was all I could find that was big enough aside from newspaper, and the wrapping paper was easier to deal with) and used a pin to prick through the seam lines on the tee shirt onto the paper. This worked well for the front and back panels, but when I got to the sleeves I was a bit stumped! Happily, Monsieur is an engineer, and “makes 3D curved shapes into 2D flat ones all day” according to him. With a bit of maths on his part, and a bit of cutting out curves and shifting them around on mine, we had a shape that I thought would work. I’m very glad that I invested in a french curve before embarking on this project!


This is what my pattern ended up looking like. That amorphous blob shape is the sleeve, believe it or not. Definitely the oddest looking teeshirt I’ve ever cut out! I had some nice inky coloured merino set aside for this, bought during the Fabric Store midwinter sale. I also decided to try out some of the fancy techniques I learned during the overlocking course I took last month, so the whole tee shirt is sewn with flat-locked seams.


These photos sort of show the curved panels which make up the shirt, it was really hard to photograph! The side seams curve up the front of the tee shirt almost like princess seams (I didn’t say that to Monsieur), and the back panel wraps around and up under the arm, so that the sleeve seam is also rotated forward. I really like how the flat-locked seams look, but unfortunately they don’t seem to be strong enough for this sort of garment. They’re already pulling apart, after only one wear! There is slightly more tension on them than there should be, because I forgot to add a seam allowance to the pattern before I cut it out, rookie mistake! It fits very neatly indeed…


So I’ll call it a wearable muslin. I’m really pleased with the way the pattern came out, it was very exciting seeing all of the pieces fit together so neatly! Monsieur is also pleased with it, though he says he’ll probably keep this one for wearing while working on his car or something. The risk of him hulking out of it is a bit high for him to go out in public in it! Next time I might try overlocking the seams with a narrow stitch, then flat-lock them just for looks.


Has anyone got any tips for doing a flat-locked seam on a knit? All tips and tricks appreciated!