Monday, March 17, 2014

Strathcona Henley Muslin

Conversation a couple of weeks ago:

Me:  "Do you like kelly green?"
Hubby:  "I never met her."

hahahaha - I love that man!  He always makes me laugh!

I had a piece of kelly green cotton/lycra jersey I'd purchased to make a dress that ended up being too lightweight for said dress.  It had been sitting in my stash for about a year and I just couldn't think of a use for it (I already have a couple of kelly green t-shirts), so I decided to use it to make a muslin of the Thread Theory Strathcona Henley.

Why muslin a t-shirt?  Well, Hubby has some fitting issues too.  He's very broad through the shoulders with a thick neck, but narrower through the chest and waist.  And he's got short arms.

The sizing info on the pattern goes by chest measurement and would have put Hubby into a medium.  My original plan was to trace a large at the neck and shoulders, and grade it down to a medium at the chest and waist.  But then I took a look at the finished measurements and discovered that there's 1.5" negative ease built into the size medium.  So I got out one of his favorite t-shirts to compare and realized that the medium would have been smaller than he prefers.  And at that point, I took a look at the pattern again and noticed that the description says "slim-fitting t-shirt."

In the end, I decided to trace a size large throughout for the muslin, as a baseline for future changes.  And as it turns out, it fits pretty well as is.  He's happy with it, at least.


Uneven shoulders, just like me!  We're made for each other!

Hubby isn't a big guy, he's just got a muscular build.  So I wonder if bigger guys will be sized out of this pattern - he's in a Large and the pattern only goes to XL.

The Henley version of the pattern is designed with hem bands for both the bottom and the sleeves.  I knew Hubby wouldn't like the hem band at the waist, so I didn't even trace it.  I did cut out the sleeve hem bands, but after he tried on the shirt he told me he didn't want them.  Of course, the sleeves were too long for him, as they always are.  This is the sleeve sans band, just turned back 1" and hemmed on the coverstitch machine.  I had to cut 4" off the bottom of the shirt, and then turned back 1" for the hem there as well.



One thing I liked about the pattern is that all the pieces are full size, and are cut from a single layer.  However, it does make for a large number of pages to print out.

The placket was the most difficult and time-consuming part of making this shirt, as you'd expect.  The instructions were very clear, I'm just not a fan of sewing knits on the regular sewing machine, and even less of sewing buttonholes on knits.  My placket looks OK, but not perfect - which is good enough for a muslin of a t-shirt.



I accidentally cut off a bit too much of the inside placket before stitching down the X, and some of it popped out on the inside.  So if you make this shirt, be careful of that.  You can see it here at the upper left of the X.


Overall the instructions for this shirt were really good.  The only thing I'll change the next time is the shoulder stabilization.  The pattern says to place the stay tape on the back, and then press the shoulder seam toward the back once it's sewn.  My stay tape is a bit stiff and doesn't like to bend, so I always apply it to the front and press my seams toward the back.  On this shirt I did apply the stay tape to the back, which means that my shoulder seam is pressed toward the front.  Again:  not a huge deal.  It's a t-shirt.


Finally, my friend Shar and I were comparing notes on this pattern.  She told me that she'd had to raise the neckline by an inch, as her husband found it to be too low.  As I said before, Hubby has a muscular neck - it's one of the things that makes buying RTW shirts for him a challenge.  I didn't change the neck at all and it's a nice, close fit on him.


So keep your guy's neck size in mind if you decide to make this pattern.

Now that we know this one fits him, we can move on to colors he actually likes!

Have any of you tried out this pattern?  Do you plan to?  I'm planning on making him the Jedediah pants one day too.  After I make myself a few more things :-)

34 comments:

  1. Thank for this review. My guy is shaped differently, but the information is extremely helpful. I plan to get to this one soon. Did you see they released their new pattern today.

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    1. I did see it - oh la la!

      I'm glad you found this helpful. I felt a little weird objectifying my husband's body, but it's all in the name of science!

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  2. :) I just saw this on the flickr board. This looks great on him and I think your placket is excellent - those suckers are hard to do! My husband would not fit in this pattern as "slim fitting" is not really his style. I appreciate your notes on the sizing!

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    1. Thanks, Kristin! I was surprised at how slim the pattern actually was. I guess this was targeted more at those slim young hipsters than at guys in their 50s! Still, I don't think it would be too difficult to grade up.

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    2. If I remember well from their announcement a week ago, they will be releasing a larger size range in the future. I did notice that her dad wears the patterns and he is probably around your husband's age.

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    3. Good to know! I don't follow their blog so I hadn't heard that! Also - that makes us sound really old!

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  3. Argh, plackets in knits... I did that once and vow never to do it again! Yours looks pretty good though, and the fit is fantastic!

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    1. And this was with hand-basting it down before sewing! Definitely a skill that requires practice!

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  4. I made a wearable muslin of their Newcastle cardigan for my hubby and that too was very slim fitting. It didn't work at all well for him and I ended up having to add some extra fabric down the side seam to get it to fit. Needless to say it hasn't been worn!

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    1. I bought the whole "Wardrobe Builder" package because Hubby liked the t-shirt and the pants. He doesn't like the cardigan, but I do - for me! So in that case the slim fit will be a good thing!

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  5. Very nice! I found the sizing small too when I made this. I don't usually think of my hubby as big either. My saving grace w as making mine in a stretchy model because pretty sure it wouldn't have fit him without the stretch. I do love this pattern though and will make it again. Same story with the jebediah for me...I will use a denim with a tiny bit of stretch next time too.

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    1. Ah, so you've made the pants too? I'll have to go back and see if you have a post on that before I make them!

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  6. Excellent timing on this! Bitty has been planning to make this for her husband and it sounds like Steve and your hubby have many of the same fit issues so I'll have to make sure she sees this. I think it looks great! And gotta love Kelley Green! The knit placket sure does look like a pain in the a** to make!

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    1. I do love kelly green, but it doesn't really work with Hubby's coloring :-( Still, he likes the shirt and it can be worn as a jammie top because the fabric is quite soft.

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  7. The shirt looks great, lucky Hubby! My poor guy is still waiting for me to sew him something. . .

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    1. It's so hard to get motivated to sew something that's not for oneself, isn't it?

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  8. Wonderful Henley ~ I think Kelly Green is a winner, too! ; )

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  9. i do plan to make up this pattern at some point, thanks for the review. plackets done this way on knits are so hard! yours turned out pretty good, hopefully it'll get easier the more you do. though, to be honest, i'm not sure it's a skill i care to perfect!

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    1. Same here! I can actually see myself using the plain neck t-shirt version of this more often, but it was a nice challenge to make the Henley. Once in a while I get the urge to try something new and a bit difficult. I'm over it now!

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  10. After sewing for my son I am afraid I can never sew for my husband!! He's 6'3" and easily 250 lbs with narrow shoulders, long arms and a "happy belly" and doesn't like close fitting clothes! So difficult ;-)

    Love, love, love the color! Great t-shirt and glad he likes it!

    Also - now I am fearful of trying a placket on a knit! hahahaha!

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    1. Seriously, try a light weight knit fusible interfacing for the placket. I swear by the stuff. Easy-Knit by Pellon is so light it doesn't change the hand of the fabric but gives enough stability for stitching.

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    2. Whoa, that's a lot of man! ;-) But at least if he likes loose-fitting clothes, you won't have to do a lot of fitting. So it might be easier than making lady clothes!

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    3. Lisa - you better believe there's already interfacing in there! Without it, this would have been a complete disaster! This fabric was difficult to work with - too thin, and it liked to curl up on itself. I may have had better luck if I'd used a better quality fabric.

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  11. Looks comfy - sigh unselfish Teeshirt sewing for the man - I've just about given up I have to admit. But the crew neck version of this pattern might tempt me.

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    1. Yeah - I think the crew neck version could be knocked out really quickly - and then you'd get credit for being so unselfish!

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  12. That was funny. This Henley fits him well all over. Stellar job.

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  13. I see the unselfish demon got to you too. Be strong and do a little excorcism. You'll be back to the selfish stuff soon enough:) nice job for your first knit placket.

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    1. It's over now :-) But there was some selfishness involved - I got to use up a piece of stash fabric that had been bugging me, so I got credit on my Stash Diet!

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  14. I went back to my Flickr pics to compare necklines, lol! Your placket looks way better than mine and my machine refused to make buttonholes in knit so I have a 'faux' placket! Luckily he can pull it over his head. I've made this three times now (a henley, and short and long sleeved tees) and he's asking for more so I think this will be my go to pattern for him.

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    1. I told you his neck would fit this! I don't think I need to look any further for a t-shirt pattern for Hubby either. This one fits pretty well, and is so easy to vary.

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  15. Your hubby is so funny: Kelly Green as a person, never thought of it before! Thanks so much for the detailed notes on this. Once I get around to making it for Mr. Stitch (bad wife that I am, that is still not really on my radar!) I will be sure to review this post again.

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    1. You know what a joker he is! I think this pattern is designed for someone shaped more like Mr. Stitch, so you probably won't have too much trouble with it. Especially if you make it navy blue ;-)

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