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Ellie’s Fairfield Button Up Shirt!

I was so excited when I saw the range of gingham cottons Felicity’s have in stock. The red and green colourways were very tempting, but it had to be the classic blue check for the mens shirt I had planned. 

The Thread Theory Fairfield Button Up shirt might be my most tried and tested pattern to date. The first one I made was daunting – there are so many pattern pieces and lots of instructions to follow, never mind the thought of having to fit-check a different body to my own!

Now that I’ve made four or five Fairfield’s, I know the pattern inside out, and hopefully my learnings (and mistakes!) will help you should you choose to make one. 

Let’s start with fitting. I would recommend making a toile if this is your first one, as there were lots of little fitting issues that I wouldn’t have noticed just from the pattern pieces. My partner isn’t the easiest customer – he’s 6’4”, has a 40” chest, but is very slim and has very long arms – he can never find anything ready-to-wear that fits well and I knew a straight size wouldn’t work for him. 

I started by grading from a size Medium neck, to Large shoulder, to a Medium in the body and sleeves. I then made the following changes:

  • Lengthened both the sleeve and cuff by 2cm 
  • Added 2cm to the centre back collar stand and collar 
  • Lowered the neckline 0.5cm to accommodate the lengthened collar 
  • Added 1cm to both front pieces 
  • Added 1cm to the depth of the back darts 

Once I was clear on the fitting adjustments, construction was surprisingly simple. There are lots of smaller steps and you do need to keep track of the front and back of each pattern piece (more on this later…), but the instructions are well written and very detailed, so they guide you nicely through the make. 

I would recommend constructing the collar and cuffs early on, so that you have them done and ready to attach at the relevant points of construction – I find it helps me stay in the flow of constructing the shirt, and it gets all the fiddly bits out of the way at once. 

This pattern really is a blank canvas to tailor to the wearer, and it’s testament to the quality of the pattern cutting that it comes together so smoothly. 

The instructions for the flat-felled seams are particularly good, and the pattern pieces are already offset so you don’t have to do any fiddly seam trimming and risk cutting into the shirt. 

Now let’s talk briefly about the glaringly obvious mistake. I lost track of the front and back of the pattern pieces early on, and unknowingly stitched the front shirt pieces the wrong way round. I didn’t notice this until he was trying the finished shirt on, and said it felt strange to button up – the placket was on the wrong side! I was so disappointed when I realised, because I really tried hard to elevate the finish – but never mind. It is still completely wearable and he doesn’t mind too much, so I won’t dwell on it, and it’s a helpful lesson to learn for the next one.

I finished the shirt off with a few special little details. I sewed the bottom, horizontal buttonhole with grey thread in contrast to the others in white – I noticed this on one of his designer shirts and love the subtle contrast. I also snuck a Kylie and the Machine rainbow “Handmade” label into the placket. 

The blue check cotton I used for this make made the whole process far easier. It’s nice and stable, lightweight but completely opaque, and incredibly smooth and soft. It’s the perfect fabric for making a luxe-feeling shirt, and I can imagine it would also be lovely for a pair of PJs.

This was a really enjoyable project and more simple than you may expect. Thanks as always to Felicity’s for giving me the opportunity to work with this lovely fabric!

Thanks for reading!