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Author Topic: Correct shirt fabric  (Read 1327 times)
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« on: December 19, 2013, 07:35:01 PM »

Hi all,

I am finally dipping my toe into the murky waters of men's clothing and am going to be making some shirts for a gentleman friend of mine.  What kind of fabric should I use?  He portrays a prosperous banker and is a clotheshound.  I have looked through this section of the site, and cannot find an answer to this question; if it's there, sorry, I must have missed it.  I did find some links, but in most cases they were several years old and I'm not sure whether they still are applicable.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I don't want to spend time making correct shirts and do them out of incorrect fabric!

Marta Vincent
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2013, 06:26:11 AM »

He would wear white shirts, so pick a fine quality white cotton.  The "Shirt on the Square" is not an appropriate pattern to use for a gentleman's dress shirt, so look at the other patterns available.

I don't sew for men, so patterns are not my bailiwick - others will chime in....
Elaine Kessinger
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 07:13:57 AM »

White Pima or Kona cotton or white linen in a shirt weight (3.0 oz. or so)... something nice and crisp with good body and a tight weave.

Bosom, collar, and cuffs may be made of a higher quality cotton or linen than the body of the shirt, if you wish.

Whether he would have a square cut or french cut shirt will depend on his age, where his portrayal bought his shirts, how fashion forward he is, how long it has been since his portrayal bought shirts, etc. His occupation is only the beginning of aspects affecting his clothing choices. Shirt styles were in transition in this period.

I know that is not the clear-cut, no questions answer you are looking for... but civilian men do not have uniform regulations the way their military counterparts do.

...and PS.. We need to stop calling all shirts with a pleated bosom "dress shirts." Mr. McWherter has shared enough photographs and genre paintings of working class men in pleated bosom shirts to prove these shirts were used for more than "dress" occasions and by men in genteel occupations. The pleating in the bosom was used to support the pigeon breasted look in much the same way women used tucks in their petticoats. In period, it was just another shirt choice.

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