My Main Man had a birthday over the summer and I really wanted to make something as part of his gift. I have previously mentioned that one of my dreams is to eventually make collared shirts, which would make an awesome gift for him but I am still working up to it. I also wanted something a bit more interesting than a plain t-shirt. Enter the Strathcona Henley, simple t-shirt construction with a lovely placket detail. Perfect!
This is my second project from a Thread Theory pattern and they are really fantastic to work with. The placket was a bit tricky, I consulted the online tutorial, which had great pictures to really help understand what was going on with all of the folding while also making me insanely envious of the fabric used for the demo. I tried to be a big-shot after handling those Comox trunks and machine sew the whole placket down but the layers just did not want to stay put so I ended up hand sewing it down and then topstitched. I do wish I had put the buttonholes on before I topstitched the X at the bottom, it is suggested in the pattern but I got too excited once I was on the topstitching train so I had to wrestle with the bottom one quite a bit.
I did the neckline topstitching and hems with a twin needle. I love the look of it but fiddling around trying to get the tension right always drives me a little crazy. Moments like these make me yearn for a cover stitch machine. I really love this shirt, especially the finished placket. It is a fun detail and I like that it will throw a little variety into his V- neck dominated wardrobe.
With that being said I did use the Strathcona pattern as a basis for a V-neck shirt for him as well figuring if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I just adjusted the curve on the collar and used the V-neck tutorial from the Sewaholic Patterns blog to sort out putting on the band. I think that I made the collar band a bit too thin and I need to practice getting around the point a bit more but I am pretty happy with it overall. I also adjusted the fit a bit. The placket version fit a bit tight across the chest so for the V- neck I moved up a size and graded back down to the hem.
I thought doing a simple T shirt would be a bit ho-hum but it was actually really fun to make something that could just blend right into his wardrobe. It is kind of the opposite attitude I take when sewing for myself, I tend to be drawn toward things that will stand out in my wardrobe, but I think it works well for him. Is there anything you’ve found unexpectedly fun to sew?
I really love how versatile this pattern is and decided to make up a long sleeved version as my Made Up Initiative Pledge. Karen at Did you Make that and Love Sewing Magazine launched the Initiative to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust , a UK based charity that aims to increase literacy rates among both adults and children. With a donation you can pledge to make something (anything!) before September 10th and completing your project gets you an entry into a draw for some great prizes! The ability to read can have an incredible impact on a person’s life trajectory and isn’t making stuff fun?! Win, win.
For this version I used a wide rib knit, which was significantly more challenging to deal with that the cotton jersey I used for the other two because it really liked to stretch out all over the place with the slightest pressure for the presser foot. I didn’t do much topstitching for this reason, just the X at the bottom of the placket. The neckband is quite a bit wider than the other version owing to a slight buttonhole calamity, which required moving the holes up a bit, eating into the seam allowance. I was shooting for kind of a rugby jersey weight with this, not quite a shirt but not quite a sweater. This didn’t quite end up there, it is a bit more like a sweater than anything but I adore this colour and am happy I worked through all of the headaches the ribbing sent my way.