Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Colette Negroni....

Look, look! It's a real life proper looking shirt that I made! 
To say I'm please with this make would be an understatement, 
quite frankly I'm amazed by it.

I mentioned in my new year resewlutions that I did want to get on more selfless sewing and with making more for other people and I knew that my biggest challenge was going to be making clothes for the Mr. He's quite fussy when it comes to clothes and very particular about the little things like necklines on T-shirts, shirt lengths, the particular shade of green of buttons....well maybe not that bad but I knew it would probably be a challenge to make something that he would actually end up wanting to wear. 
Well I managed it :)

This shirt is the Colette Negroni. I've made a few adjustments which do change the overall look of the shirt but I think I can still call it a Negroni....let's see....

I did think wisely enough to start with a toile for this shirt. I always knew it would never be as easy as out the packet and on the back. I don't have any pics of the toile process but the main points are that there was too much width in the center back of the shirt and the collar wasn't loved so I needed to change it up for more of a formal short collar with a collar stand.

At first I had no idea where to start with the changing of the collar and then I found this sewalong and it didn't actually seem that stressful. You basically need to find a shirt that you are happy with the fit and collar and trace off the collar and collar stand pieces, add a seam allowance and you're there.....we'll it got a bit more involved when you get to fitting it to the actual shirt but you get the idea. You can see my new collar and button placket pattern pieces in the pic below.

Mr chose this monochrome gingham for the first version. I thought this would probably be a wearable toile at best so was happy with the choice, it's cheap as chips and a nice cotton to work with.
This whole shirt process has taken just over a month all in all. I made sure I didn't rush through anything and really researched each part I wasn't too sure about. This is certainly the most technical make I've ever got into. 

Button holes, flat felled seams, button plackets, cuffs, drafting new pattern pieces......

This collar really did test me. Making the new pattern piece and sewing it all together was pretty simple, then when it came to actually attaching it to the shirt I just couldn't get the sizing right. At first it was going to be too small to fit the neck hole so I adjusted the neckline and brought it in, then it was too big. To and fro this process for a while and then you'll get to the point where I gave up for a few days. Obviously when I came back to it it just fitted together fine and I wondered what all the fuss had been about....obviously.
I must say that I do actually prefer the formal shirt collar and am really chuffed with how professional it's like and ACTUAL REAL shirt....

Cuffs were another tricky area. I've only done these once before on my Colette Hawthorne but I'm pleased with these.....
Ignore that I put the button hole in the wrong way round on the actual cuff, it's still a working button hole! On request I also added a placket button hole...

The pattern calls for flat felled seams throughout which is great because it means there are no raw edges anywhere and it's all nice and neat. Although flat felling at the shoulder seam was an absolute b*tch. I'm blaming it on coming down with a cold and not being able to get my head around the instructions to add a 1/4" fold to the top of the arm piece and then attach it to the body piece. I think I kept then omitting the fold and getting all of the measurements wrong. Also working with fabric that is the same on the front and back is just stupid! I had to rip the left arm off and start again about 4 times.....mistakes I WILL NOT make again.....I hope....

These painful parts were all worth it though, coz look...SHIRT...

I even added in a little 'design feature' of a red horizontal button hole at the bottom. I've seen this on a few expensive shirts and thought I'd give it a go.

(It's not longer one side, it's just a funny photo angle, promise)

Oh yeah, one more adjustment....
The Negroni is quite a loose fitting shirt. This didn't suit what the Mr was after or actually look good on him anyways. Rather than being loose fitting all over the extra fabric just sort of pooled around the center back width of the shirt. 
I did some Pinterest research and found another tutorial and added in some fish eye darts. One each side, just under each pleat. I didn't take these too deep as he obviously still needs to be able to move. Looking at the pic below these might need taking a bit deeper near the top though?

This shirt also has a lined yoke and teaches you to sew this pattern using the burrito method which, other than just sounding awesome, works so well and the instuctions from Colette Patterns totally makes sense...

Ok I think I'm done with alterations and praising this shirt. I will be making more of these I'm sure, after going through such a learning process it would be a shame to never use these new skills again. I'd like to actually make a Negroni how it's meant to be too so I'm sure my Dad will appreciate a new shirt or two. 

Thumbs up to more selfless sewing!


  1. That is a great looking shirt! I made the Negroni for my husband last summer, and I'd really like to make him one with the proper placket and collar stand. How did you end up drafting the pattern pieces?

    1. Hi, I used the tutorial in this sewalong

  2. Wowsers! That is fan-bloomin-tastic!! No wonder you're pleased with it.