I genuinely love making clothes for my 3 sons. From the time they were little guys tossing around my fabric scraps on the floor while I sewed, seeing the joy on their faces as I finish a new garment is something that will never get old for me. So often they love picking their own fabric and planning out various aspects of each project. Working with them has always been part collaboration, and it's wonderful to see design through their eyes! I knew that these Hawaiian cotton lawn prints would be the perfect opportunity to do just that with my boys. Let's talk about the fabric, the pattern, and what you can do to make awesome button downs for the tiny men in your life.
Hawaiian Cotton Lawn + Raglan Sleeves = Casual Styling Love
All of these Hawaiian cotton lawns were a total treat to work with. They sew up easily, and they're lightweight while still being opaque which is perfect for my boys who are sweat machines! Even though it's Fall now, these short sleeve shirts are perfect for my active guys. Our weather can be pretty all over the map in Colorado. In the last week we've had temps of 25 and snow up to 70, so shirts like this are great for layering. On colder days, they can wear a long sleeve tee underneath and a sweater over, and on sunnier, warmer days, they can go as is.
For my pattern, I chose Ottobre 3-2017-25. It's a raglan sleeve button down shirt, which I gotta say is pretty unusual. Set in sleeves are de rigeur for boys' shirts patterns, and it seems that every pattern company has at least one! Raglan sleeves are a rare pony though. I had to dig way back into the time machine to find a good pattern example to the Mad Men era.
To pull up a more modern example, I found this surf shirt from Hurley (a surfboard is definitely a better accessory than a pipe!).
I think the casual nature of the raglan sleeves goes perfect with the soft, relaxed feel of the Hawaiian lawn. I made a batch of these shirts last year from plaid shirtings, and they've been a staple in our house.
Let's talk about things that you can do to really uplevel your boys' shirts!
Sewing Awesome Boys Shirts
Use Good Quality Interfacing
Good interfacing makes such a big difference in all garments, but in menswear, it's so essential. A good collar will not stand up well without the solid structure a quality interfacing can provide. You want an interfacing that offers "crisp" support vs. soft. I've not tried it myself, but something like this Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fuse Sheer would be something to try!
This is real talk here. Kids outgrow clothes quickly. While as adults, we should always strive to make clothes that fit us to the best of our abilities, it's not a bad choice to sew something 1 size larger for a child. Yes, the fit will be a little too big right at first, but you can always put a t-shirt underneath to fill out the extra space. Ultimately, your child will get a little more wear out of it too which saves you time and lets your child enjoy a favorite shirt for more time.
Snaps vs. buttons?
Maybe consider swapping snaps out for the buttons on a boys' shirt. They'll be easier for them to fasten, plus they give the shirt a different style.
Topstitching Made Easy
Boys clothes always benefit from good clean sewing. A machine foot with a guide can really help make precise topstitching lines. I'm a personal fan of my ditch quilting foot; it has a metal guide that glides next to the fabric as you stitch. A 1/4" foot or even a blind hem foot can serve the same purpose as long as you move the needle to the right or the left to stitch right where you want the stitching line to be.
Keep It Fun!
I know few boys who are into wearing clothes they can't beat up. When you set out to make boys' shirts, choose easy wearing fabrics like cotton, and if they're fun prints, all the better. I know one of my youngest's favorite shirts of all time was this dachshund print.
The print has been the subject of many good conversations with everyone we meet. I have a feeling that these Tropical Hawaiian Prints will be rather similar, and with so many to choose from, there's fantastic boy sewing opportunities here!
Do you sew for the tiny men in your life?
Until next time,
Sew something creative today!
~Elizabeth from Elizabeth Made This