1950s | Mens | Shirts | Vintage Sewing

Plaid for Christmas

January 4, 2014

I’ve been busy the last couple months with sewing that wasn’t vintage.  There were a couple of zombie events where I needed to make a Pride and Prejudice costume and a steampunk-ish costume.  Then I needed to make three Santa themed costumes.

I digress, this post isn’t about those projects.

A bit of back story – my husband spends pretty much 99% of his days in shorts, tank top and button down shirts.  EVEN WHEN IT SNOWS.  It use to be T-shirts, but as he’s the owner of his own tech company, I finally talked him into wearing shirts with buttons.

Quite a few months ago I posted about a box of retro patterns I was gifted by a friend and her family.  It was filled with patterns from the 50s-70s for men, women and kids.  This project is a button down shirt from that box of patterns.

Simplicity 5029 - View 3

I showed the hubby a couple of different patterns and he chose the pattern above, view 3 (short sleeves).

The hubby is a big fan of orange and plaid and I managed to find plaid shirting for $4/m.  I pre-washed and matched the stripes before cutting.  I know a lot of people find matching plaid intimidating, but a shirt project is a good place to start.  You don’t necessarily need to match every seam – it’s up to you.

I decide to cut the front pocket, the collar and back yoke on the bias to give the shirt some visual interest.  This patterns had the ease in the back dealt with slight gathering instead of pleats.  For a casual shirt, I think this is a great idea, but would still use pleats if I was making the dress shirts.

Back yoke.


Close up of front details.

One of the little details this shirt has that I love is the notched sleeve.  Simple detail, but a really nice touch.

Notched sleeve detail.
My hubby LOVES his new shirt, but he’s too shy to model it for us, so you’ll have to use your imagination.  My petite mannequin doesn’t quite fill out this shirt adequately enough to stand in for my 6’2″, 195lb hubby, but she’ll have to do.
The finished shirt on my female mannequin.
Until next time – keep your machines purring along!
xo girliefrank



  1. That shirt turned out so great! My husband is a t shirt guy, too, and I would love to see him in something like this. I’m pretty sure I have a pattern that is similar. I admit I find matching plaids a little scary, which is too bad because I absolutely love plaid. Nice!

    1. Thanks! With shirts, you can play with plaid. I matched the just the side seams and front seams. Putting the back yoke on the bias looks fun and removes an additional seam to match. It’s a new year – give it a whirl!

  2. That’s a great shirt. I often think that making men’s shirts is kind of thankless, comparatively labour-intensive for a fairly simple garment, but you have really given this one some very nice touches.

    1. I appreciate that Pimpinett. I know what you mean. Dress shirts get no love unless I can add fun contrast fabrics to hidden parts.

    1. You never know! It took me quite awhile, but the hubby eventually saw the light. Especially when it came to how clients reacted to him! He loves his new shirt.

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