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Author Topic: Formal dress shirt and what goes under it?  (Read 17235 times)
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Mother Dean
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« on: February 03, 2015, 09:25:43 AM »

My husband has had no interest in living history and I have never honestly looked into making anything for him.... until now. He surprised me with tickets to the Winter Ball in Gettysburg over the weekend and is, to my astonishment, now open to me making him a period "tuxedo". So for my first set of questions: What would be the best evening dress shirt pattern and what goes under it?

One of his main complaints has to do with all of the layers of clothing. He gets hot very easily and so would rather not be bothered with it. What would be the lightest weight cotton that I could use for the shirt? Would linen be a better option?

The children and I dress "from the skin out" but I'm not sure that my husband is up for that. Is there an undershirt pattern for men or should I just look the other way when he wants to wear a modern t-shirt under the dress shirt?

Thanks for your suggestions and comments in getting me started,
Jessica
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E L Watkins-Morris
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 12:05:27 PM »

Past Patterns does a nice gents shirt that is lined across the back and shoulders.

Linen shirt and drawers would be nice and cool.

Liz W.


 Undecided What's the date of the ball? If you plant the idea NOW that his shirt is his undershirt and will not be worn with a modern T-shirt, he may accept it as his own idea by the time of the ball (my guy usually requires 3-6 months lead time for this to work). YMMV
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Mother Dean
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2015, 12:52:01 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions. The ball was Saturday. He wore a modern tuxedo. Cheesy

He had so much fun that we have already looked on-line to see when the next one is. I'm seeing two balls for Remembrance Day, so I have a little time to put something together.

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Past Patterns does a nice gents shirt that is lined across the back and shoulders.

Are you saying that because it's lined he doesn't need an undershirt?

I just found white linen on sale. It's listed as "Solid white. This light/medium weight linen fabric has a very crisp hand. Suitable For Apparel, Home Decor, Jackets, Slacks, Suits". It doesn't list the weight and I don't remember what the hand was on the last linen that I purchased. I'm thinking that this is going to be too heavy. Huh

Edited: After reading your post again, I see that you are saying that he wouldn't need an undershirt. Great news since it's just one more thing that I don't need to make. Smiley
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 08:36:11 PM by Mother Dean » Logged

Allison vV
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2015, 12:35:37 AM »

I recently completed a shirt for my brother from the #011 pattern.  The pattern and instructions were excellent!  May I strongly suggest that you follow the pattern's fabric requirements: cotton for the body and linen for the collar and cuffs.  I didn't follow the suggestion Roll Eyes, and it is there for a reason.  I made up the whole shirt using a nice light/medium weight linen, and after starching I had to rinse a lot of the starch out again because the shirt was much too stiff.  Linen absorbs much more starch than cotton does.  It's quite ingenious, really, to make only the collar and cuffs from fine linen for starching purposes, as well as others.  I just wish that I had done so Smiley.  Of course, a shirt with detachable collar and cuffs could be made of linen and starched much lighter.  (That's next on my sewing list).

Anyway, regarding the linen you found, since it will be for the collar and cuffs only, I think that the light/medium weight would be fine.  The weave should be pretty even and "fine" looking, if you know what I mean.  The cuffs and collar should look their best since they will been seen when the shirt is worn.  Also, selecting a fine (high quality) cotton for the body will be a good investment considering the hours of hand-work you will put into making the shirt.
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
Mother Dean
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 07:19:55 AM »

Thank you Allison, very much for your comments and suggestions. I will take your advice. Smiley
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Mother Dean
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 01:41:09 PM »

I have a very silly question. In regards to the basting stitches on the plaited front of Past Patterns #011, are these supposed to stay in or be removed at some point? I would assume they are supposed to come out but I can't find at what stage that is in the instructions.
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Allison vV
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 11:36:11 AM »

 Smiley Ah! You noticed, too.  I'm sure Mrs. Altman could confirm if you contact her, but the basting stitches are only temporary.  They help to keep all your nicely pressed plaits in order while you do the rest of construction.  The instructions do mention unbasting the centre-front before lining and attaching the collar, but I would leave the plait basting in until everything else is done -- after the buttons and buttonholes, even -- you might as well let them help as long as possible Smiley.

One other note on the instructions.  Mrs. Altman is very nice to contact and very helpful.  I noticed that the instructions said to gather and later stroke the top of the sleeve head as well as at the wrist.  The gathering stitches at the top of the sleeve head are not needed for the #011 shirt.  The tiny bit of fullness there should be eased in by hand while you are attaching the sleeves.

I hope that helps you.
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
Mother Dean
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 06:04:33 PM »

Well, it's good to know that I'm not going crazy or blind. Smiley

Thanks again for your input. I will continue to take your suggestions. By the way, I noticed the very handsome work you have done on your brothers wardrobe. Amazing work. I hope to be able to do half as well for my husband. Cheesy
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Allison vV
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 02:04:33 PM »

Thank you for your kind words about my work.  I couldn't have done any of it without the help that I have received from the kind members here.  Thank you, everyone!

I'm sure that you will do very well.  Please do post pictures when you've completed your pieces.  I love to see everyone's projects, and we need to see more pieces of gentleman's ware Smiley.
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Allison van Vegten


"Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!" Charles Dickens

"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien
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