Men’s Shirt with a Color Map Surprise!

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

I made this Negroni shirt for my brother-in-law for Christmas. Ross is an architect and as such, a designer who has a great appreciation and understanding of color. Once when he was looking around my workspace he spied a big Spoonflower fabric color chart that was on the wall and mentioned that it would be neat to have an entire shirt out of it. When I ran this idea past my sister Kricket (his wife) a couple of months before Christmas, she suggested kindly that it might be nice just to have color chart ACCENTS rather than the whole garment. I still think a shirt made entirely of color swatches and corresponding hex codes would be really awesome, but if Kricket didn’t want to be seen in public with him when he was wearing it then that would make said shirt considerably less practical.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

I don’t usually make a habit of sewing dress shirts for all the male members of my family for Christmas because that would be crazy and insane, but this year — and for the past couple of years — we’ve been picking names instead which makes giving gifts less stressful, and this year I had Ross’ name. I’ve found year by year that my list of things to sew before Christmas gets shorter and shorter, which I attribute to my getting wiser and wiser with age. One year (I forget which, having largely blocked it out due to the trauma associated with the memory) shortly after I had Elliot, the Hoekstra family decided to have an entirely Handmade Christmas, which ended up being ridiculously stressful. I tried to sew amazing one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone and ended up nearly suffering a nervous breakdown. I still love the idea in theory, but have since realized that kind of gift giving requires one to start making in May or June, and not, shall we say, in December, as I am apt to do, being a Procrastinator with a capital P.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

Back ’round to the topic at hand. Without anything else on the to-do list, I found that whipping up this shirt before Christmas was quite fun. It took me a few evenings put together to finish the entire thing (and yes, I was sewing on buttons the morning of our gift exchange, so sue me), but when it was complete I felt quite proud. The recipient seemed quite pleased and I hope it proves as wearable as it is attractive.

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

The Negroni sewing pattern by Colette Patterns is one of my favorites for men (and as far as I’m concerned, still one of the only good indie men’s sewing patterns). I’ve made it many times for Mr. Rae and find it to be a relatively quick and easy project each time. It does not have a collar stand so it is definitely more of a casual shirt than dress shirt, but Mr. Rae prefers that anyway. The herringbone Chambray Union is from Robert Kauffman and has just the right amount of stretch to be comfortable. The buttons came from hmmm I don’t remember, I’ll have to look that up if anyone is interested. Procuring the color chart fabric could be a bit of a challenge; I had this chart printed up at Spoonflower but I have no idea where I got the original image from, which also means it probably wasn’t a legal use (oops). Spoonflower does have a nice color map though that could do quite nicely. For the inside of the cuffs, yoke, and undercollar, you need less than a yard anyway.

These days it seems easier and easier to find fun fabrics that I want to turn into men’s shirts. I have a nice pile of prints waiting to turn into more Negronis for Mr Rae or dressy-ish shirts for Hugo and Elliot, but alas my free sewing time is pretty scarce these days. Maybe someone will start a men’s dress shirt cutting service for sewists — you pick a fabric and they cut out the pieces in the size you need and mail them to you. Wouldn’t that be nice??

Pantone Negroni / made by rae

22 thoughts on “Men’s Shirt with a Color Map Surprise!

  1. This is amazing!! I’m with your sister and much prefer just the flashes of the colour chart, as it makes it classy but fun. Such an excellent present, I’m so impressed!

  2. Cutting out the fabric is my least favorite part of sewing, so I’d be up for that service!!

    Also, details that are just for the wearer are such a lovely touch – it reminds me of the picture book Pockets by Jennifer Armstrong, where a women embroiders beautiful scenes in the pockets of the townspeople’s simple clothes.

  3. I have this pattern! I just haven’t made it yet…as a quilter I’m a bit scared of it. I’m going to start with a short sleeved version, just in time for our winter, ha! Lucky it doesn’t get too cold in our part of Australia. Love the colour flashes on the inside, definitely my preferred way of using novelty fabric.

  4. This is FABULOUS. I showed it to my husband and he said, “awesome, I want one!” I had to explain, to his great disappointment, that it can’t be bought…and that I don’t have time to make him one!

  5. By Hand London have a colour chart fabric you can print on demand via their website. They showed a picture on their blog of the fabric printer doing a test print of the chart and people demanded to be able to order it as a fabric!

  6. I do quite a bit of sewing for my husband (no kids to make things for yet, bar the occasional gift for friends’ newborns, in which case Geranium or BBBPs are my go-to!) and have to give a shout out to Thread Theory – another great indie company making patterns for men. My husband doesn’t shop any more, only informs me that he’d like a new pair of trousers or a sweater!

  7. So nice! It’s great to have ideas for how to integrate busy patterned fabrics to spice things up, but without making the whole shirt out of them.
    I totally agree re: the cutting service. Also would like a pattern-tracing/taping-together service, so I could concentrate on the fun part of making something. Maybe we should put our husbands to work on that.

  8. sewing for men is HARD to get right, but you got it! i think it was a great call using the “crazy” fabric as accents. very cool!

  9. fun idea! And I’m always impressed that you sew men’s shirts. That sounds like a nightmare to me. But you do it so beautifully!

  10. Does the Negroni pattern run pretty true to size? I have that same pattern and was thinking of making a shirt for my son-in-law for his birthday in May. I love using the gray chambray and bright colors together – I might just steal that idea. 🙂 I also like the idea of using a fabric with a bit of stretch – I love garments made with stretch, and I would think that guys would, too. Thanks for the great idea!

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