Mens shirt complete sew-along tutorial in 20 steps!

Posted on Posted in Sewing

If you have followed my blogging so far this year you will know I love making shirts. I am constantly complimented on the shirts I make and really do enjoy the process. People keep saying “it must be difficult”, “Ive tried before but it didn’t work”, “how did you do that” etc. So I thought I would post a complete step-by-step walkthrough, showing the 20 easy steps to success. I find shirts quite easy: Men are square in shape and there are not many princess seams or complicated shaping techniques  to be done. This tutorial is aimed at everyone and especially those who are worried about making a shirt. If I can do it, anyone can!




So here we go (be warned this will be a long post with lots of photos!). Although I am not using a shop-bought pattern, the steps that follow should apply to most. 

I decided to make a shirt from the Ryuichiro Shimazaki book, Les chemises. I have made shirts from this book before and the results are really good. I know it is written in french but it is easy to follow and certainly easier than the original Japanese publication. The book comes with all the patterns for all the shirts shown in the book which allows you to mix and match styles. You have to trace the pattern pieces you want and add the seam allowances but I find this step quite therapeutic.

This is the shirt I am going to make in this tutorial. Number 9 the rounded collar with contrasting collar and cuffs.

I previously bought some Rose and Hubble cotton print and some contrasting plain cotton for the collar and cuffs ready for this shirt so here goes. The pattern asks for 2.3m of fabric and 0.5m for the contrasting collar/cuffs. I bought 2m of fabric as if you are careful when laying out you don’t need that much.


** Click on the photos for a clearer view **

First cut all pieces as per the pattern. Take your time and cut carefully.




1. Front right button placket (button side).

  • This is formed by pressing the edge over twice as per pattern marks and edge stitched from the front.

 

Front right shirt

Want to read the rest? Click here to download the complete PDF version.

71 thoughts on “Mens shirt complete sew-along tutorial in 20 steps!

  1. Lovely shirt! I'm guessing much of the skill is due to your dexterity from making so many. Now if you could get busy on a tutorial for one of your gorgeous tailored jackets, I would appreciate it! 😉

    1. Well funny you should say that! Iv'e been asked to make a ladies version of my long wool coat so will happily post a step by step guide how to make it. Glad you like the shirt too.

  2. Hello, do you have a pattern you could recommend for a first time shirt sewer? I'm not totally inexperienced at sewing, but have never tried a men's shirt before. Your excellent instructions make sense to me, but I'd rather just buy a pattern first time. Thanks

    1. Hi. The Burda 7045 Mens shirt pattern is a breeze to make. I have made several from this pattern for myself. It has 3 styles of fit and collar. Have fun and good luck. Let me know how you get on.

  3. Hello,

    I am very grateful for this wonderful tutorial. I am a beginner in tailoring but I so scared to start up something but with this amazing step by step tutorial I will give it a trial.

    Please I will be delightful if you can mail me any of your video tutorial.

    Thanks in advance and God bless.

    From
    South Korea

  4. Hello,

    I am very grateful for this wonderful tutorial. I am a beginner in tailoring but I so scared to start up something but with this amazing step by step tutorial I will give it a trial.

    Please I will be delightful if you can mail me any of your video tutorial.

    Thanks in advance and God bless.

    From
    South Korea

    1. Hi, You need to measure chest (across nipples), neck and length of arm. For the chest make sure he puts his arms by his side when you measure (after putting the tape around). For neck measure at the widest point around (over Adams apple) and for arms measure with him placing his arm on hip (bent elbow) and measure from end of shoulder to end of wrist. Hope that helps

    1. For that, Ralph Pink’s sites are worth visiting (including one in the Wayback archive), as he documents his learning path, from template blocks to fit. To get to a template block, Assembil Books’ How Patterns Work is excellent, although they do work from a standard body form, rather than an individual: given that a quarter of the population have minor handicaps, the one-size-fits-all approach is somewhat suspect. To get there, the use of a zentai suit on the living person instead of the body form can be a direct route to the toile (a slightly oversized rough-up in a cheap fabric allowing a final correctly-fitting pattern to be taken from it which is used for cutting the finished product – the tailor with chalk and a mouth full of pins is reducing the toile to a fit ).

  5. Dear Sir

    You do not know how many thanks I gave you for every single photograph on this tutorial. It was my first time with a tailored shirt, and, thanks to you, I did not disappoint! ^_^ Thank you ever so much!

    Charlene from Malta

  6. Hi! and thanks a bunch for this tutorial. Just made the first two mens shirts, in my life. AND I am loving it. NOW I have to make myself a blouse, as I have wanted to do for a very long. (Job hunting requirement) However, I am pretty confused about how to make my front button band a lil narrower. Probably gonna take some readjusting of everything at the neck.?? Mary

    1. Hi Mary, I'm glad you found this so useful. A blouse is no different really except add 2 darts in the front (under bust point) and 2 in the rear (similar place to fronts). The neck will be smaller to fit and you can cut the button placket narrower to suit. Have fun and good luck job hunting! Jamie

  7. Love this tutorial. Super helpful for a newbie pattern follower like me. Thanks for the attention to detail with the photos and helpful hints about what shape to sew!!

  8. Nice tutorial. How common is it to do the sideseam with a french seam? I've always done a flat-felled seam there, but it is such a hassle on a vintage Singer (no free arm).

  9. Hi, thank u for this tutorial, it really help a lot.. i try to make a men's shirt for my friend, and i make a big mistake by wrong measured my friend's neck, it should be 38, i write it 48, and now it was too big, really big! Do you have any idea how to make this thing right? Because i don't have enough fabric to remake it 🙁

  10. Hi Jamie You mention using a non-iron- on interfacing for the collar etc…when you do that what kind of material do you use and how to you attach it? I am starting to hate the iron on stuff and would like to try the other. Your advice woould be great thanks freddy

  11. Thank you so much Jamel for this awesome tutorial, it has refreshed my sewing ability. But I think a video coverage of how you cut & measure your fabrics will be very much helpful to give a clearer knowledge of how I can go about with the whole cutting because that's where difficulty rest on. You can also forward it to my mail if need be. Thanks��. FRANKLIN M.I

  12. Thank you so much Jamel for this awesome tutorial, it has refreshed my sewing ability. But I think a video coverage of how you cut & measure your fabrics will be very much helpful to give a clearer knowledge of how I can go about with the whole cutting because that's where difficulty rest on. You can also forward it to my mail if need be. Thanks��. FRANKLIN M.I

  13. Hi Jamie! My comment comes a year late so I hope you get to read it. I just bought the Japanese version of that book from which you got your pattern. I, too, cannot speak Japanese but since you said the patterns are pretty much self-explanatory AND you were able to make a very nice shirt or many shirts from it, I just went ahead and bought it. It hasn't arrived, though. Anyway, my question is: are the patterns graded and would I be able to find different sizes in the book? I intend to sew for my husband and my son, and they have different sizes. Actually I'm just a bit nervous over the purchase and I would hate to set aside the book after waiting so long for it to arrive. Thanks and congrats on the new baby!

  14. Excellent article. I have a query. What if the shirt had short sleeves and the sleeve was closed using feed of the arm?

    Would you recommend closing the sleeve first and then folding in the hem? Or should the hem be folded in first before the sleeve is closed?

    I am asking because the sleeve has a slight taper from the armhole towards the the hem and therefore, the unfinished hem circumference will be slightly less than the circumference of the area onto which it will be folded into and stitched for finishing the sleeve.

  15. Hi Jamie, my teenage son is super skinny (32 inch chest) and is sick of having shirts that have too much fabric and collars that gape(13 1/2 inch collar). Do you know if the patterns in the Japanese pattern books go down to that size? If they do, I'll attempt to make him some!

    1. I have not worked with the Japanese book Jamie used, but here is a good pattern that scales down to the size you're looking for. It's also easy to make with good instructions. I've adapted it to my wishes by changing the fit somewhat and adding things to it. Peter Lappin from Male Pattern Boldness has done a sew-along with it and details the construction even more. https://www.colettepatterns.com/catalog/negroni

    2. Hi. Yes the patterns are sized and the XS should fit pretty well. As Wouter has mentioned there is also the Colette Negroni but I can certainly suggest you have a look at the book. I'll go check the sizing and post back. Cheers

  16. Thanks for sharing this post and shedding light on how to customize shirts as per your need. It is great to see how each step is carefully followed to design custom tailored suits as per our requirement. Good job. Looking forward for more such articles from you.

  17. Hi Jamie, did I miss the hemming of your shirt?
    I can’t find it it your tutorial!
    I’m not sure how to stitch the area at the side seam where the front & back are shaped & the French seam makes it a little bulky.
    I love your work & you explain things well.
    Thanks

  18. Thanks Jamie for this great tutorial. I’ve just used it to make my first article of clothing. Would like to share the pic with you but doesn’t appear to have an option.

  19. Hi,
    I would like to know how I can about with drafting collars and collar bands.
    Thank you for the tutorial.I would be grateful if guided on how to draft collars and collar bands.
    Thank you

  20. This is my ‘go to’ tutorial every time I make a shirt. Love it! Thanks so much … appreciated across the world (well, I’m in Australia).

  21. I really like the tutorial but to there is a limitation for my full understanding. Tge actual measurement to use. Maybe u Should tell us the measurement you are using so I can full get you. Thanks for this awesome piece

  22. How to measure and cut the yoke?I have been referring so many tutorials,nowhere it is stated.I would like to know the width,slant etc of yoke.

  23. Hi Jamie,

    My tailor is telling me that I cannot have a french cuff wider on my left hand to accomodate the watch because the whole arm sleeve would be slightly larger and not just wrist.
    He says that would not fit with my overall slim fit.

    I thought this is a common request as lots of people ask for a larger cuff on one hand.

    What are my options here?

    1. I would say you change tailor! No seriously that is a common request and one I always do on shirts and jackets unless specified otherwise. Yes the sleeve will be slightly larger but with careful blending it should not notice. The other option is to get expanding cufflinks that will allow the cuff to open slightly over the watch. Cheers

      1. Would I be right to assume that the larger cuff means just wider bottom of the left sleeve at this image on your webiste: Sleeve pieces (LH sleeve is on the right) ?

        If that is so, it should be extremly easy, just requires a cut under different angle.

        I challenged them and they still stand firm saying that they cannot do it.

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