Happy Campers! Sewing a Men’s Shirt, Simplicity 1544

Back in May of 2016, (I can’t believe it’s been that long), I ordered some blue cotton poplin fabric from Mood Fabrics that had campers, flamingos, and other beachy things on it.


 The intent was to make a shirt for Keith for Christmas that he could wear to work on dress-down Fridays or to hang out at the coast.  I think I had been inspired by a blog post from another sewing blogger who had made a shirt for her spouse and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s cool! I wanna do that!”  Fabric arrived, I put it on the cutting table, then moved it to a shelf, and then it went into the fabric stash oblivion.  Fast forward to December 2017 and I bought a Craftsy class on sale with Janet Pray, “Sew Better, Sew Faster:  Shirtmaking.”

I have a couple of her classes and I really like her style and this particular class is geared toward making a men’s shirt.  A downloadable pattern comes with the class but I didn’t have the ink to print it so I pulled out Simplicity 1544.  I figured I’d use this pattern and her techniques.


One thing I did with this pattern was to match it with a shirt that Keith wears already to make sure it would fit.  I had to add about 3 inches overall to the length on the lengthen/shorten lines and I made it with short sleeves using the measurements from said existing shirt.  Otherwise, I left the pattern as-is.

I had a lot of fun with pattern matching. In this instance, Steam-a-Seam is your friend.  I folded the edges of the pocket under, added the SAS to the pocket edges, placed it perfectly on the shirt front, and ironed it in place.  I did the back yoke the same way.  I’m giving those factory workers a run for their money.  🙂



The collar.  Oh boy that collar.  And of course, I had to make it harder on myself by making it a contrasting band.  Why not?  Yeah, why not, I mean, how hard can it be?  Do I get credit for making a muslin if I really didn’t but I took it apart and re-sewed it more than once…or twice? Honestly, by the third time, I was a pro.  Janet’s method of making a collar burrito is ingenious and I cannot express in words the sheer joy of success when I got it right.  Really.  I did a dance around the kitchen like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky at the top of the steps.


Keith isn’t much for modeling so this is the best I could get.  You should have seen his smile when I gave it to him Christmas morning.  He really likes things I make vs. things that are bought.  He’s such a sweetie.


And look what was waiting for me Christmas Day!  I think my Santa thinks I’ve been a very good girl!!



How about you?  Did Santa satisfy your stitching itch?

(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase the Crafty class using the link in this blog, I will receive a small commission…and you’ll love the class!!)

Power Tools With Thread

Sewing nerd who is absolutely determined to perfect this insanely fun hobby.

4 Responses

  1. You are the ultimate seamstress!!!!! Shirts are difficult to make! What a wonderful Christmas gift. You are truly blessed!

  2. Lisa G says:

    It looks great!! I had a sewing teacher in Hawai’i, and she helped me draft a pattern of a shirt my husband loved. He picked 4 different fabrics for shirts, and I had him order them from “least favorite” to “number one.” My plan was to make him 4 shirts, starting with the least fav. I did a muslin first, and my teacher helped me do the collar and yoke with a neat but slightly tricky burrito method. Then I started working on the real shirt. That was in 2015. Before I finished, it was time to pack up and move back to the Mainland. Today the shirt remains undone. 🙁 Hopefully your post will inspire me to get busy on it!!

    • Hi Lisa! Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration. I really enjoyed this process and Janet says she can knock a cut shirt out in about 3 hours which seems unreachable at first. But now that I know what I’m doing, I probably could do it by the 4th shirt as well. So can you! And while the collar was daunting, I found that sewing a “needle width away” for the top stitching required more re-do’s than anything else. Squiggly sewing lines were my nemesis and strangely enough I found that stitching faster was key. Hey, mainland smameland…my husband loves his “Aloha shirts” and wears them every chance he gets here in Texas. He retired from the Air Force out of Hickam AFB, HI so we have many Hawaiian influences around here. Go dig out that fabric! And do his favorite first. 🙂

  3. Lisa G says:

    How funny – I retired from the Army out of Fort Shafter! We are in the Florida Panhandle now, and my husband still wears his Aloha shirts as well! 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: