We didn't try to button the shirt up all the way (in fact, I didn't even put a button at the top because I knew it would always be worn open), but you can see in the above photo from the way the fabric is pulling at the top button, that the shirt is too small across the upper chest despite the fact that my brother fits into the size range exactly. That shoulder fit, though, is spot-on. And he loves the shirt, and received several compliments on it from waitstaff at restaurants while on vacation.
Next, I went to work on a shirt for my dad. He is not a fan of anything even remotely flamboyant, and actually poked a little fun at my brother's fabric choices. But after seeing the first shirt, he did mention that he might like a linen shirt for his birthday. We chose a beautiful blue from Fabric Mart's designer-quality line. (Fabric Mart is not to be confused with Hawaii Fabric Mart - two different sites/stores). The fabric lived up to its name. It is gorgeous - with a satisfying heft and beautiful drape - and lovely to sew. I will definitely buy it again in the future.
Now here's where I'm stupid a second time - I didn't make a muslin for my dad's shirt. I also really should have chosen a different pattern - my dad likes his shirts relaxed and I now knew this pattern was
In any case, again, the fit was no bueno. I couldn't even put the button placket together at the bottom, and my dad's hips are supposedly 5 inches under the XL hip measurement. My dad said "I think I need about eight more inches across the shirt." I said "I can give you 1"." And then I felt really badly because I hadn't given enough thought to sizing. An inch extra of ease wasn't going to result in a shirt that he would feel comfortable in. That night, I lay awake thinking what to do. I ended up cutting 3" panels and inserting them at the side seams, all the way from the shirt hem to the sleeve hem. I flat-felled all the seams. This added about 4" of ease and made the shirt fit much better. I was all ready to discuss the concept of a "design element" with my classic-style-loving dad, but his eyesight isn't great and I don't think he has even noticed the panels!
After I was done with that shirt, a little ragged but determined to finish the job, I went back to the second cut of rayon for my brother. I forgot to jot down sizing notes while I was sewing it, and I'm typing up this post after two weeks of beachy bliss, so I don't remember exactly what I did. I think I sized up to the XL everywhere except the shoulder, which I cut to a size L, because it was a perfect fit on the first shirt.
Sizing up did the trick, and allowed me to flat-fell the seams. You can see in the below photo that the upper chest/neck fits much better despite the fact that I kept the L shoulder. And, yes, he proved me right on the ironing. Although I presented him the shirt on a hanger, he decided it was better stored in a ball on the floor until he wore it to dinner ...
I used coconut-shell buttons on all the shirts in this post; after I exhausted my Fiji-sourced supply, I started looking for more on eBay. I was surprised when I found them at Walmart while buying thread, but they look pretty much exactly like the ones from Fiji.
On to the last shirt.
I hadn't planned to make J another shirt, but it seemed
His is also in rayon, with coconut shell buttons. I washed his shirt while we were on vacation, though, and sadly, the collar is now fraying at one of the points. I actually tried not to trim that point too closely, and now I'm not sure what to do. Probably Fray-Check and some zigzagging.
I will definitely be sewing more of these in the future, just making sure to size up. For now, though, I'm glad that my shirt-making marathon has ended!