Sewing for Boys: The Ethan Shirt

This is Brienne's first post for the UpCraft Club blog. Let's give her a warm welcome!

Hello there! I’m Brienne, a sewer and a knitter of handmade things for my two children. I occasionally blog at Handmade by Brienne and frequently post photos of my making adventures on Instagram.

If you’ve got kids, whether they’re too young for school, headed to their first day of senior high or schooling at home this year, I’ll bet that this time of year gets you thinking about fall wardrobes. I knit or sew most of what my kids wear because I love to. And I love this time of year because the catalogues are full of inspiration! I tend to gravitate toward simple silhouettes and I use knit fabrics whenever possible because they are comfy to wear and speedy to sew. Lately, though, my son has been requesting button-down shirts and ties. When given the opportunity to choose a pattern to make for the UpCraft Club blog, I knew it had to be the Ethan Shirt. And I knew that it had to be made in this bright blue check.

The Ethan Shirt pattern is modeled after menswear with darts in the back and on the sleeves. It has been generously written in sizes 1-14 and includes professional finishes plus a modern fit that that looks anything but homemade. (Side note, my little guy got stung in the face by a wasp and has some sad-looking swelling from it in these photos. Ouch!)

The pattern instructions describe the SisBoom team as “believ[ing] in precision patterns, detailed instructions and rigorous testing.” And it shows. I’ll admit, I was intimidated when I printed off the pieces. I have never made a tailored garment. I worried that the cuffs and neck would be too tight. I couldn’t picture how to attach the sleeve plackets to the sleeves. What was a sleeve placket anyway!? But a couple of things motivated me right off of the bat. First, each size can be printed individually. No chasing down tangled lines through tracing paper. Next, I noticed that the printed pattern pages were to be overlapped, which made for a really accurate joining of the pieces. Then, I just took my time and followed each of the patterns steps as written. I stretched the project out over about a week and I feel really proud of the result. I was a bit puzzled when it came to attaching the collar to its stand but a quick review of a couple of YouTube videos got me back on track.

I’m especially pleased with the fit of the shirt. I really took my time to consider the sizing before I started as recommended by the pattern’s authors. My son is six but I made a straight size four. I decided to go with the smaller size based on the finished measurements given for the Ethan shirt compared to the measurements that I took from a favorite RTW shirt that he already had. I find that taking measurements of the body
that you’re sewing for is a good place to start but if you really want to create a garment that will satisfy, it’s essential to consider the proportions of a similar garment that is already being worn and loved.

This blue, checked shirt so boosted my confidence that I couldn’t help but whip out a tie to match and a pair of trousers to boot. The tie tutorial can be found here. And the pants were made using a hacked version of the Small Fry Skinny Jeans (I added some ease to the pattern pieces to allow for a woven fabric with no stretch).

What are you making this fall?

We'd love to see your version of the Ethan Shirt. Get the pattern now and share your version on Instagram by tagging @UpCraftClub. #ethanshirt

August 24, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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Rebecca said:

Wow that shirt is impressive! Having 4 boys I better give this one a try! Thanks


Brienne said:

Hi Rebecca! I hope that you will. It’s a really satisfying project.


Linda said:

I love the shirt you made! It’s really handsome :)

Rebecca S.

Rebecca S. said:

Brienne, you are so talented and never fail to inspire. You have gotten me back in my sewing room once again!

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