Shirt, jeans, blazer

Three basic garments which need good intermediate sewing skills.

Though such classics are not to everyone’s taste, even the jeans !
So I’ve listed the main skills needed, as they are used in making many other garment styles too.


General skills :
Burrito method for yoke.
Collar :
. . . camp shirts have an easier one-piece ‘convertible’ collar.
. . . classic shirts have a collar attached by a band, a ‘two-piece’ collar.
front button band, see post from Sew Anthony.
Openings/plackets, various methods for finishing the sleeve opening.
sleeve cuffs, very similar skills to sewing a waistband.

Peter Lappin has a camp shirt video at Craftsy.
The recommended pattern which is still available is unisex New Look 6197.
He also has a free photo sew-along on his blog for a convertible collar/camp shirt. The pattern he used is now only available to Seamwork members.

Mark Francis has his own camp shirt pattern, and a video at Sewing Street, from 1.24.

Dozens of band-collar shirt sew-alongs and video classes on the web. Ones I follow (not free) are videos from :
Pam Howard at Craftsy,
Sandy Miller at Taunton Workshops,
Sew Over It patterns (includes patterns for men and women).
Sew Sew Guild.

A Way We Sew has an interesting looking and different method for making collar, collar band, cuff, tower placket, which involves folding fabric around interfacing used as a template : with diagram tutorials and sew-along videos.

There are also many people with photo tutorials on making shirts.
Jamie Kemp’s tutorial for a band collar shirt is available in a pdf version. Pattern book : in US, in UK.

Patterns with extra help are also numerous. Big 4 examples range from
Palmer-Pletsch easy (camp shirt, band collar shirt) to
Claire Shaeffer couture.
Islander is a company famous for their men’s shirt patterns, which have good instructions :
classic fit : worn tucked in,
modern fit : worn loose.

Also several books on shirt making, a famous one is by David Page Coffin.


General skills :
– flat fell seams.
– waistband with belt loops.
– fly front zipper.
– slant pocket.
– using heavy stiff thick fabric : denim.
Specific skills :
– parallel lines of topstitching.
– use of hardware such as rivets.
There are tips on all of these in the Closet Core free sewalong and the Pattern Review tips, linked below.

The Ginger pattern from Closet Core patterns is very popular, and there is much support for sewing a first jeans project at their site, including both a free photo tutorial sew-along, and a not-free video class with a choice of 3 jeans patterns in either pdf or print form.
Closet Core also have jeans hardware kits for zipper or button fly closure.

Sew Over It patterns have a video class (includes pattern), and a complete kit of fabric, hardware, other notions.

Here’s a list from Sew Daily of 10 popular jeans patterns.

Kenneth D. King at Craftsy has a video class with much advice on construction details, after showing you how to copy another garment.

Peter Lappin partly became famous through his photo jeans sew-along – scroll down to May 2 for first post. Pattern no longer available.

Pattern Review has a compiled list of jeans sewing tips.

Blazer jacket

General skills :
– lapel collar.
– shawl collar.
– 2-piece sleeve.
– speed tailoring – using fusible support for a whole garment.
– shoulder-sleeve head support.
– back and sleeve hem vents.
– single and double welt pockets.
– bound buttonhole.
– using wool fabric.
– lining a jacket.

List of the top 14 blazer patterns at Pattern Review.
You can make a ‘blazer’ (notched collar jacket) without knowing all the tailoring skills ! Many unlined simplified patterns, even some for knits.

If you would like to learn some of the special processes, these are some sources.
Jamie Kemp has a photo tutorial on making a jacket, with fairly brief instructions.
He also has a video course on tailoring.
Another free photo sew-along from Pattern Scissors Cloth.

Video blazer making classes (not free but include pdf patterns) from :
Closet Core Patterns.
Sew Over It patterns.
Susan Khalje has online video classes about couture technique for making both a lapel-collar jacket and a collarless jacket.
And a tailoring class from Kenneth D. King at Taunton Workshops, covers both ‘old’ and ‘new’ techniques.

If you’re interested in making a leather jacket (a bomber in this example), this video includes many good tips – though there’s no commentary so you have to notice them for yourself !
Includes much use of an industrial machine equivalent to an edge-stitch foot, see this note.

Professional tailors and dressmakers both go through many years of training, which cover rather different skills and fabrics.

There are very slow and detailed video classes from The Sewing Guru on :
Ladies Tailored Jacket.
Gents Tailored Jacket – Industrial (speed tailoring using fusibles).
Gents Tailored Jacket – Standard (hand stitched supports).

There are other good on-line men’s tailoring courses and videos of specific processes, but this is generally an area I know little about so am not the best person to give advice.

Or, to return to the dressmaking approach, there are Claire Shaeffer’s ‘couture’ Vogue patterns. Several notched collar ‘classic’ jackets and collarless ‘French’ jackets. Not speedy these ! Many hours of hand sewing, if that is what you love and find rewarding 😀

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Preparation for making these classics ?

The video classes listed go slowly through the sewing processes used, with many tips.
You could also build up to these classics by making easier versions. Many pattern lines have easier shirts and pants. Above I linked to a list of easier blazer-like jackets.

Another route to work up to these styles needing upper-intermediate skills would be to go through Alison Smith’s new book. Download pdf patterns, body bust 32″-47″. Very good instructions with large photos.
UK edition called The Dressmaking Book.
US edition, called Sew your own Wardrobe, appears otherwise to be the same book.

Works up from confident beginner skirts to mid-intermediate unlined jackets. Classic ‘work’, ‘smart casual’, ‘formal’ styles – many skirts and dresses, and simple pattern hacking. Includes an easy shirt, tapered/ straight/ wide leg pants, and unlined blazer.
Claims to be a complete wardrobe but includes no ‘relaxed casuals’ such as tee, sweat, hoodie, joggers, in fact no knits or fleeces.

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When you can make shirts, jeans, and blazers you can make nearly anything 👍

You may need some more skills to make Advanced styles, but you’ll have flexed your courage and have plenty of experience 😀 😀 😀

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