Sewing for Others: A Retrospective

For the third article in my Tuxedo Shirt series, I wanted to reflect on the project, as well as the prospects of turning a hobby into a cottage industry of sewing for others.

Some Lessons Learned

Though the project was ultimately successful, I had my share of setbacks along the way, and there were a few things that didn’t go the way I had hoped.

Fabric

The biggest regret was that I wish I had run the original fabric through the washer immediately after purchasing it.  I would have known early on that that it might have been too stiff for the project, and perhaps made a test garment.  Instead, I had misgivings at the start of construction with only weeks to go, and had them confirmed only after I had completed a shirt.

Thread

In his book Shirtmaking, David Coffin says: “If you’ve ever tried repairing a ready-made shirt, you’ll know how difficult it is to blend into the topstitching or edgestitching with ordinary, U.S. size 50 thread. This thread looks like rope compared to what manufacturers use on fine shirts.”

For most shirt projects I do use standard all-purpose thread, if only for the wide color selection. But for the Tuxedo shirt, I planned to use Gutermann Mara 150, a lighter, finer thread, along with a 70/10 needle appropriate to the thread. I purchased the Mara 150 thread from Bay Tailor Supply, but Wawak is carrying it now.

On the second-to-last shirt, made entirely from the heavy, textured fabric, I had indeed used the Mara 150.  But after the final shirt was complete,  I realized that I had actually used Mara 100 – the heavier, “all-purpose” thread – rather than the fine stuff for the entire project.  I hadn’t checked the spools carefully enough when threading the machine.

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Mara 100 on the left; Mara 150 on the right. Can YOU tell the difference?

I figured if I hadn’t noticed the difference until after completing the project, I was fine.  It certainly wasn’t something the client noticed.  Though in retrospect, the stitching stands out a little more in the final product.

Marking

To mark all the buttonholes on the second-to-last shirt, I used a Pilot Frixion pen, the ones that turn invisible when exposed to heat.  Several tests with the textured fabric showed that it disappeared quickly and completely, and even when I placed a sample in the freezer the marking lines did not reappear.  So I was surprised that faint traces of the pen markings remained underneath the buttonhole stitching, even after multiple hits from the steam iron.  Something about the satin stitching prevented the ink from disappearing completely.

For the final shirt, I decided to take no chances. I used blue tailor’s chalk (the clay kind, not the wax kind) to mark the front placket and sleeve/cuffs.  This also created a late-stage disaster
trying to wash them out.  After a single trip through the laundry (cold water, no dryer) the buttonholes on placket and cuffs all carried a blue tinge, and even mark lines that weren’t underneath buttonholes hadn’t come out.

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Reliable, until they aren’t.

With two days remaining, I tried to avoid panic.  Instead, I tried scrubbing out the markings with a soft toothbrush and full-strength laundry detergent.  The mark lines along the plackets came out nicely; but the markings underneath the buttonhole stitching still did not come out so easily.

Even a third trip through the washer with pretreatment, and a bleach stain remover pen did not fully remove the bluish chalk tint, but at least it became something you saw only if you started looking for it.

I tested a sample, and was able to get the chalk lines out even when the sample was pressed with a hot iron.  I think the satin stitching for the buttonholes simply trapped the chalk, and that a few more washes would clear it out.  But at 3am, two nights before the wedding, in front of the washing machine I simply decided it was what it was.

Moral of the story: I don’t think it is possible to do to much sample testing.  I had assumed these marking methods (Frixion and chalk) would work, but hadn’t tested them in advance with buttonholes.

Construction

The biggest construction mistake was that I blew out the corner on the right-hand (underlap) side of the collar stand, where it meets the front band.  Basically, I visually lost the stitching line with all that white fabric, and pulled and redid the stitches at least twice.  When I turned the collar stand inside-out, the corner simply blew and a little frayed mess appeared there.

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In retrospect, I probably should have drawn a stitching line with the Frixion pen, so that I would have been able to easily see the curve I was supposed to be stitching.

I think this can be patched up with some hand overcast stitches, and I may ask for the shirt back at some point so I can make this repair.

Thoughts on Sewing for Others, or Artist Angst

Though I didn’t mention it in my fitting article, there were some things I learned from fitting a client, rather than myself.  The obvious is that it’s much easier, since you can see from all angles, and try out changes while the garment is still on the client.

But the less-obvious lesson is that fitting someone else forced me to think harder as a fitter. When sewing for myself, I often stop and deliberate for a really long time about the best way to proceed on some construction technique, pattern alteration, or fitting issue.  It’s one of the reasons I’m a fairly slow sewist.  But with a person standing in front of me, with both a limited attention span and a fixed amount of time to get the job done, I’m forced to think faster and make decisions quickly.  And often those decisions are just as good as the ones that I overthink at leisure.

This project was several firsts for me – a client, new design challenges, new construction challenges, pattern drafting, fitting, high standards for success, and a hard deadline.  Though I took the project on as a means of furthering my skills, the combination of all these “firsts” proved to be stressful near the end, with a deadline looming close and key issues (such as the sleeve and collar fitting) unresolved.  What began as a fun project, eventually became a source of stress.

In fact, I remained stressed out even after delivering the finished product two days before the wedding.  Would the finished product, heading down the aisle at a wedding, meet my standards?  Would it meet the standards of  a professionally made commercial shirt?  Would it meet the client’s standards, and would they be happy about it?  My coworker and style consultant Mark said to me: “This is the fear an artist has. Either you lack confidence in your work, or you are delusional.”

Does the result have flaws?  Yes (see above), but I decided I would not share them with the client, and not apologize for my work. I learned this rule from Julia Child. In her autobiography My Life in France, she explains this best:

I don’t believe in twisting yourself into knots of excuses and explanations over the food you make.  When one’s hostess starts in with self-deprecations such as “Oh, I don’t know how to cook…,” or “Poor little me…,” or “This may taste awful…,” it is so dreadful to have to reassure her that everything is delicious and fine, whether it is or not.  Besides, such admissions only draw attention to one’s shortcomings (or self-perceived shortcomings), and make the other person think, “Yes, you’re right, this really is an awful meal!”

I realized that by pointing out flaws, I would rob my client of the opportunity to enjoy his new shirt.  And that would have been sad for both of us, especially after the effort we both put into the project.

Instead of focusing on my failures,  I can look at my list of accomplishments. I made a pattern for a men’s dress shirt from scratch, starting with a draft copied from a garment.  I fit the shirt to the client. I drafted from scratch sleeves, as well as finishing details such as collars, plackets and cuffs.  I arrived at a unique style for the shirt that both distinguished it from off-the rack, yet still worked as a piece of formal wear. I constructed a shirt that passed for something professionally made. I made both bride and groom happy.  That’s a lot that went right and I’m really pleased I took on this project.

Thank You

Two individuals deserve special thanks.

To David Coffin, the project would not have been possible without the resources in his books, magazine articles and online courses.  I used some of his construction methods in this project for the first time, and he graciously provided me assistance via email.

To Paul Gallo, for the live instruction in draping and pattern making. He spent basically an entire class session showing how to draft sleeves, collars, and the other portions of a men’s dress shirt. He answered my questions and provided valuable feedback to help me fit the client, especially for neck and sleeves.  He also helped give me the confidence to think I could carry on and complete the project.

Fitting the Tuxedo Shirt

For the second post in my series on the Tuxedo Shirt, I delve into fitting.  As I had mentioned previously, fitting took longer than I had expected, even with a headstart in the form of an existing garment.

First Fitting

For the first fitting, I traced a pattern from a RTW shirt provided by the client. I produced a bodice muslin, lacking sleeves, collar and other details.

Overall, the RTW shirt already fit well. The client said the collar was slightly too tight on the RTW shirt.

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Here’s some things I noticed:

  • There is a little gathering/bunching at the armholes in back.
  • The muslin was a bit too tight across the chest in front – more ease there was needed.
  • The front/back balance of the shirt was slightly off – the balance lines were lower in back. Taking a tuck across the shoulder blades improved the way the shirt hung in back.

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In the pattern adjustments, I added 1 inch of ease at the center front, effectively adding 2 inches of ease to the front of the shirt. On the client, I used a marker to trace out where his natural armscye fell, and updated the armscye curves to match.

I also took a 3/4″ tuck out of the back pattern piece, across the shoulders. The red lines show where I took the tuck. I made a pattern editing mistake here, which I’ll discuss shortly.

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I placed around the client’s neck a paper cylinder made from a file folder, as a way of figuring out what the neck circumference should be.

And I also took the client’s measurements. From those, I drafted a new sleeve and cuff pattern, using drafting instructions I learned from Paul Gallo during his class on pattern making and draping at the Sips N’ Sews Studio during the month of January. If you are curious, Gallo demonstrates this sleeve draft in his Craftsy class Fashion Draping: Dressmaking Basics.

Second Fitting

After the first fitting, I thought I would need one, maybe two more fitting sessions to get a good pattern.

The second fitting didn’t go as planned. It was a step backwards from the first.

All the things I had measured out in the first fitting session didn’t turn out.  The sleeves, collar and cuffs all came out way too tight.  For instance, I had difficulty pinning at the neckline in front:

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And cuffs would not close:  IMG_20160202_183131

Additionally, some tightness and pulling developed in the underarm area which I saw but didn’t quite understand.  You can see it in the side view here.

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I added some fabric to the muslin at the neckline, then with the garment on the client I marked out a new neckline with a Sharpie, as Paul Gallo demonstrated in class.

I also remeasured the bicep, elbow and wrist. These measurements were off, and contributed to the too-tight sleeve. And I mocked out a new cuff in muslin, to make sure it fit the client.

Third Fitting

At this fitting I was still confident I could get the remaining issues resolved, and then move on to making the final shirt. With the wedding a month away, I was giving up the idea of producing a wearable muslin.

Things continued to look good in back.

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The front still showed some pulling at the underarms and a bit of tightness across the chest.

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The side view shows the underarm pulls even better.

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I was amazed to discover issues remained with the collar and cuffs.  The good news is that the collar, with a neckline drawn to fit the client, hugged the back of the client’s neck in just the right way.  The bad news was that collar and cuffs were still a bit too tight.

The sleeve looks nice in the photos. With an additional inch of ease around the bicep, the sleeve fit the client better and he was happier with it. But the sleeve still had major mobility problems.

Front reach (as if you were reaching forward to grab a steering wheel) and back reach (drawing arms back as if rowing a boat) both caused the shirt to pull. When the arms drawn back, the front band of the shirt strained at the points where it was pinned.

With the shirt on the client, I ripped open the armscye seam with a seam ripper and pinned a new seam, letting out the 5/8 seam allowance to provide more ease in that area. I did this on one side only and let the client compare it to the unadjusted sleeve.

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This definitely helped with front/back mobility, but an issue remained: when the client raised his arms, the sides of the shirt pulled out from the waist.

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For the pattern adjustments leading to the next fitting, I added from front to back on the sleeve cap.

This screenshot from Wild Ginger’s Pattern Editor shows how the sleeve cap evolved to provide greater front/back mobility.

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The blue curve shows the sleeve as I had drafted it, with Paul Gallo’s instructions.  The green curve shows the curve that I got from splitting the seams and letting out the seam allowances.  The purple curve is the curve that I went with, for the fourth fitting.  On the computer, I learned that I could let out that curve even more, while impacting the length of the curve (which affects how the sleeve sets into the armscye) minimally, so I chose to let that seam out even more to give the client more room.

Fourth Fitting

At this point, confidence was starting to give way to despair. The fitting issues still hadn’t been resolved, and at three weeks remaining, time was growing short.

The issues with mobility from front/back on the sleeve were resolved on this fitting.  But up/down mobility remained a problem; when the client raised his arms, the side of the shirt still pulled up.

I recounted earlier how I found a Pinterest diagram that explained the issue and the correction to be made.


This Wild Ginger screenshot shows what I did to add increased freedom of movement when the client raised their arms.  The new sleeve curve is in orange. The alteration lengthens the inside sleeve seam. Because I had also enlarged the armscye (see below), I also widened the sleeve cap to match the armscye. This also provides additional width around the bicep. Finally, the alteration raises the bicep line (horizontal line), effectively lowering the sleeve cap height.

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And I was still having problems getting the collar to fit appropriately.

The collar especially irked me, because I was making careful adjustments to the pattern that didn’t pan out when sewed into a muslin and tested on the client.

So I actually measured the finished collar stand against the pattern – and that’s when I discovered why I could never get the collar to fit properly.

The muslin fabric shrank substantially when I constructed the collar stand. The heat and pressing from the iron is responsible for the shrinkage. The completed collar stand measured fully an inch shorter than the pattern; similarly, the completed cuffs measured about a half-inch shorter in circumference.

Around this time, I had a discussion with Tammy at Sips N’ Sews about my collar and sleeve fit issues. She was very helpful in leading a discussion to help me find the resolution for my problems.

I went back and studied the pattern some more. I compared the front and back pattern pieces, against each other and with the original trace I took from the RTW garment. And I discovered front and back did not meet at the armscye. The back pattern piece ended an inch higher than in the front. This imbalance contributed to several problems I was seeing but chose not to see: the strain lines at front, and the source of the client’s complaints about tightness in the underarm area.

The ultimate cause of the front/back discrepancy can trace all the way back to the first fitting session, when I took out a tuck to improve the balance. I didn’t update the back armscye to match the front, and this problem persisted through several fittings.

Between the fabric shrinkage wreaking havoc with collar and cuff measurements, and the pattern drafting error affecting the armscye, I had been chasing my tail through three rounds of fittings. And time was running out.

It was easy to fix the back armscye curve by dropping it an inch to match the front. On the sleeve I made the freedom-of-movement changes I described above.  And I made a collar sample to test on the client, in order to get the actual size once and for all.

I went ahead and sewed together what I thought was the final garment, basting in the sleeves as an insurance in case they still needed adjustment.

Fifth and final fitting

This fitting, just a week before the wedding, was sewed in fashion fabric. I’ve already recounted the details in my “Make it work moment” blog post.

I had finally resolved the sleeve and collar fit issues to mine and the client’s satisfaction. As well, fixing the armscye curve improved the fit and ended the client’s distress with binding at the underarm area. But the fabric turned out to be too stiff and crinkly. So I made one more shirt, the final shirt which made its appearance at the wedding. Following the mantra “perfect is the enemy of good” I chose only to lengthen the shirttails by an inch so the shirt would better tuck into the tuxedo trousers.

I Made it Work

My “Make it Work” moment worked!

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, in a cozy Northern California country club with idyllic views everywhere you looked, my client Kevin beamed with pleasure as he married his beautiful bride.  Also not coincidentally, he was the best-dressed man at the event. 

A gorgeous pair of golden cufflinks handed down to him from his grandfather, together with a black satin bowtie and suspenders, finished the look of his bespoke, one-of-a-kind tuxedo shirt.  Both bride and groom were thrilled with the way our project turned out – the shirt added a personal touch to a formal outfit.  And I was thrilled too.

I won’t include wedding photos here, out of respect for the bride and groom, but I’ll illustrate how the project turned out.  I’m planning four installments to this series:

    • construction,
    • fitting,
    • reflections on the experience,
    • and finally some shirt-making tips.

Part 1: Construction

Fabric

In the last installment, I changed plans at the last minute after the original fabric, a beautifully textured heavyweight cotton shirting, turned out to be stiff and crinkly. I chose a cut of lighter-weight Pima broadcloth from Britex Fabrics for the final shirt.  This required making a new shirt, but hopefully one everyone would be happy with.

In the comments section, David Page Coffin (DPC) suggested a compromise: Use the beautifully textured fabric for collars and cuffs, and the lightweight Pima for the body and sleeves.

In this promotional video, at the 3:10 and 3:17 marks the model wears a shirt with cuffs made from a waffled fabric that’s clearly different from the body of the shirt.  The shirt body appears to be the same fabric as my shirt.

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This video, together with DPC’s suggestions, provided excellent inspiration.  I was happy with this new plan because the final product has a style that can’t be found in an off-the-rack shirt.

Collar

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For collars in this project, I’ve migrated to DPC’s collar-making methods he demonstrates in his Craftsy course, Shirtmaking Details: Beyond the Basics.  I won’t completely give away material from his books and courses. But he is spot-on in advocating the surgeon’s hemostat as the ideal tool for turning points and corners.  It allows all seam allowances to be held in place.  Once the collar is turned, seam allowances do not mush up into a big blob that can never be poked or pressed out.  Still, it requires practice to perform this technique, and I will discuss more in the “tips and tricks” post further in this series.

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I also had issues with interfacing, some self-inflicted.  I originally planned to use sew-in interfacing for collar and cuffs. For the penultimate shirt, I used a fusible interfacing. I wanted a minimalist collar that did not include a row of topstitching around the collar edge, and also included no interfacing in the seam allowances to reduce bulk – an issue with this heavy fabric.  Sew-in interfacing would leave me no way to anchor interfacing within the collar.  Here’s a photo of a collar sample that lacks topstitching.

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That was fine until I ran the shirt through the laundry. The fusible interfacing – purchased from a vendor known for their high-quality professional fusibles – bubbled anyway.  The bubbles were subtle, but there.

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That was enough for me. I switched to sew-in interfacings for the final shirt. Actually, I used a hybrid of fusibles and sew-ins.

I fused a light-weight fusible the shape of the finished collar to a piece of sew-in interfacing cut to include seam allowances.  This allowed the sew-in interfacing to anchor in the seams while adding as little bulk as possible.  Since the fusible interfacing is fused to sew-in interfacing rather than to fashion fabric, who cares if it bubbles up a bit inside the collar.

The following photo illustrates the technique. Fusible is fused to sew-in, sew-in is machine-basted to the upper collar piece within the seam allowances.  (Note: the photo also contains an error – the smaller piece of fusible was placed incorrectly, and I had to redo. I didn’t reshoot the photo, but am including it anyway to convey the concept.)

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After all that overthinking and careful effort, I decided at the last minute to add the row of topstitching around the collar edge in the final shirt.

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Ultimately, I went with topstitching to hold in place the favoring between upper collar and undercollar at the collar’s edge.  If you look at the “bubbled collar” photo above, you’ll see some of the undercollar peeking out at the edge.

Front Band

I looked at two options for the front band. The first is the standard sew-on band found on the majority of men’s shirts. I put one on a fitting muslin to discuss with the client. (Careful readers will note I put the collar on upside-down on this muslin.  That’s what muslins are for.)

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The other was a minimalist cut-on front band that folds on itself twice, relying on the buttonholes to anchor the band in place.  This produces a clean shirt front with no stitching lines visible when shirt is buttoned. After reviewing with the client, we opted for the latter approach.

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In past shirtmaking projects, it has been difficult to press folds for the front band, keeping the measurements consistent all the way from collar to hem.  The pressing creates enough “fudge” along the length of the fold to make it difficult to stitch a line catching all the layers.  In this project, I solved the problem by making a pressing template from tagboard, the same stuff pattern drafters use for making final versions of patterns.

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In the photo, clips anchor the pressing template to the shirt front; I also used pattern weights to keep the template from shifting around while folding and pressing.

Here is the finished press of the band on the Left Front piece, the side with the buttonholes on a men’s shirt.

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I could have understitched the band in order to keep the folded part of the band in place. But instead I relied solely on the buttonholes, together with the collar seam and bottom hems.  By the time I came up with the idea to understitch, the shirt was complete.  I’ll do that next time.

For buttonholes, I used a Mettler “silk finish” thread to give the satin stitching a little bit more sheen.  Likewise, a water-soluble stabilizer, normally used for embroidery, also gave a more consistent finish for the buttonhole stitching.

My Juki sewing machine has an awesome electronically guided buttonhole foot, but even so it tends to make buttonholes a bit too small if you let it automatically choose the buttonhole size based on button.  So I intentionally set the buttonhole size two “clicks” longer than automatic to get a buttonhole that nicely accommodates the button.

Scotch tape basted buttons in place during attachment – I’m surprised how well that works, and it’s a time-saver.  Finally, an awl positioned over the buttons during button attachment provided some extra play in the button stitching.

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Side Seams

In past projects, I’ve made flat-fell seams using the traditional home sewer’s method – stitch a 5/8″ seam allowance, trim one seam allowance down to 1/8″, fold the wide seam allowance over to enclose the trimmed seam, then stitch the whole thing down.  On side seams and sleeve seams this sort-of works, but it’s a lot of work and it takes forever.

This time I sewed flat-fell seams as described in Janet Pray’s Craftsy class, Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Techniques.  Pray’s method is way easier, and produces better results. Though I don’t perform the technique as carefree as she does on video – I make a point of pressing all folds before stitching – it is less work than the traditional home-sewing method. I no longer dread flat-fell seams in a sewing project.

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Shoulder Seams

For the yoke and shoulder seams, I used the “burrito” method of construction that rolls up the back and fronts inside the yoke, stitches the yoke pieces at shoulder seam inside out, then turns back and fronts out at the neck.

That was extremely difficult to do with this shirt because the yoke was so narrow.  Despite my best efforts, parts of the shirt front would get caught in the shoulder seam and I had to take time to sort out the mess. Overall, I’m happy with the way the yoke and shoulder seams turned out.

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Sleeves

Sleeves are by far most difficult for me, in terms of pattern making and in construction. Sleeves are even more difficult than collars in my opinion.  Setting a sleeve with flat-fell seams using the traditional home-sewing method always turns out to be a mess for me.

This time, I used DPC’s method of attaching sleeves, which (a) sets in the sleeve after side seams are sewn rather than construct it in the flat and (b) presses the folds for flat-felling ahead of time using a paper template.  Again, I don’t want to give away his technique, but it is described in his first book, Shirtmaking and demonstrated on video in his Craftsy class.

DPC’s technique gave a better result, but it still came out messier than I would have liked.  I can improve this technique with practice, but I would love to hear a better way to handle this particular bit of shirt construction.

Finally, at the pattern drafting stage I didn’t put ease in between the sleeve cap and armscye, but I did end up with some minor pull lines in the seams in the underarm area.  It’s not something I cried about since it is in the underarm area.  But the pulls may have something to do with the relative shape of the sleeve cap and armscye curves.

I apologize for not having photos. Sleeves went in at the end, and I was hustling to get the project done.  I forgot to snap photos of the underarm area during the photo shoot before delivering the shirt to the client.

Cuffs and Sleeve Placket   IMG_2509

French cuffs were a first for me.  Besides the cuff shape, the placket is differently constructed.  The underlap of the shirt placket is turned inward and sewed into the seam with the cuff; this allows the underlap part of the cuff to be folded outwards to accept cufflinks.  This photo shows off the turned placket in the final shirt.

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Initially I couldn’t wrap my head around this concept.  I wasn’t sure this could be done with the traditional “tower” placket pattern used in men’s shirts.  I inspected a Kenneth Cole RTW shirt from my closet with French cuffs to understand the topology involved – which confused me even more because the Kenneth Cole shirt doesn’t use a standard “tower” placket. (More on that in a moment).

The following photos are from the Kenneth Cole RTW shirt.

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When I tried to make a French cuff tower shirt placket sample in muslin, the placket underlap turned out skewed.

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I wrote David Coffin, sending him the above photos of my muslin sample.  He told me my  placket failed because the underlap piece was narrower than the overlap. I copied a pattern from Shirtmaking that intentionally economizes on fabric by making the underlap narrower than the overlap.

From Shirtmaking, here’s the pattern I used for the sample.  I’ve called out the sections of the pattern which form overlap and underlap in the finished placket.

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If I make underlap the same width as the overlap, both will perfectly line up atop each other in the finished placket. Furthermore, the underlap won’t skew when folded inwards to accommodate the French cuff.

DPC also informed me the placket in the Kenneth Cole shirt uses a different construction method than the standard “tower” pattern. The Kenneth Cole shirt has a “continuous-band folded on a slash” placket, catalogued as Type 2, Variation 3 in a taxonomy of placket types he includes as supplemental content to The Shirtmaking Workbook.  This confused me further, because I thought I would have to adopt this type of placket to get the results I was looking for.  But after studying DPC’s placket appendix carefully, I realized the traditional tower placket (Type 3, Variation 1 in his taxonomy) would do the job just fine.

I updated my tower pattern and stitched out a sample in muslin.  The finished sample had no skew, and is what I went with for the final shirt.

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Another aspect of French cuff construction I hadn’t considered is that the cuff facings are reversed.  That is, the right side of the cuff faces inward, and the wrong side of the cuff faces outward.  When the cuff is rolled and fastened, the right side presents outward.

In this photo, the outward-facing you see actually becomes the inside of the cuff when rolled.

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I copied the button layout and positioning from the Kenneth Cole shirt.  Smartly, it locates the buttonholes slightly off the horizontal center. When the cuff is rolled and fastened, the outer edge of the cuff overlaps the cuff-shirtsleeve seam, hiding it completely.

I’ll demonstrate here with the Kenneth Cole shirt, since my shirt is now in possession of the client.

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The cuff also provides two under buttonholes to give the wearer a choice of how much cuff overlaps the sleeve seam, and also how tall the cuff will be.