The Colette Negroni is my first foray into menswear and boy was it overdue! It is now a late birthday / early Christmas gift for my boyfriend who bought me my first (and current) sewing machine, drives me to draping class on Saturday mornings, helps me with fittings, allows me to indulge in spontaneous Joann trips for pattern hauls and sucks it up when he steps on pins in the living room. 🤷🏻♀️ It’s an understatement to say he deserves this shirt with a million pieces and all flatfelled seams!
Starting with the pattern, I️ chose this because I️ have no experience with men’s patterns, but have a Seamwork subscription and had read reviews that the Colette Negroni is a great starter shirt for men. It swaps some of the more finicky items in a men’s shirt with easier alternatives such as a camp collar instead of a collar with a collar stand and facing instead of a button placket. It also has great instructions that made sewing my first flatfelled seams and sleeve plackets a breeze. If the original instructions aren’t enough, Peter Lappin also has a sewalong on his blog with some great tips. I️ found this one on how to use a cardboard template of the pocket and some snipping and ironing around the template to achieve smooth, rounded corners in the pocket especially helpful.
There are only two things about the pattern I’d watch out for that I️ didn’t notice called out in many reviews. Based on body measurements, my boyfriend is a Size S, bordering on M. I️ was actually about to cut out a straight Size S because he is a pretty standard size and height and RTW fits him just fine. He actually asked me if I️ shouldn’t make a muslin first, and so I️ did, only to find out he could not fit into Size S and that the sleeves needed shortening by at least an inch. Whoops. I️t is a slim fit shirt, so if between sizes, I️ would recommend to size up. I️ ended up using Size M with shortened sleeves. The only other change I️ made was in how I️ hemmed the shirt. The instructions call for folding the hem over by 1/4″ then another 3/8″ but that doesn’t work well for the thicker, front pieces plus facing. I️ ended up sewing the bottom of the front pieces and facing right sides together, trimming the corners, then flipping it right side out first. Then, I️ followed the instructions for the rest of the hem.
As for the fabric, I️ used a little less than 3 yards of this navy, white black and teal flannel. It is as pictured and so soft on the outside. While there isn’t a whole lot of that particular flannel left, here are some others I️ like for men’s shirts: Black and White Buffalo Plaid and Black, White and Red Flannel. The latter could also make a cute matching women’s scarf, just saying!
This was my first time sewing flannel. I️ was careful to match stripes where it mattered (center front) and less careful where it didn’t (cuffs). To save myself some headache and because I️ like the style, I️ cut the pockets and back yoke on the bias. That being said, because flannel is loosely woven which already makes it tend to stretch, and my pocket flaps were cut on the bias, the first time I️ sewed them, they completely stretched out and did not match up with the pockets at all. I️ had to cut new pieces, which I️ spray starched to stabilize and pressed instead of ironing for better results. This fabric also frays like crazy so finishing the seams is required, the earlier the better to avoid getting the strands all over you.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with this fabric and pattern combination for fall. I️ really like this shirt on him, and even on myself when I️ tried it on for fun. If it ends up shrinking in the wash (which apparently is very common for flannel and I️ didn’t realize until just now, but let’s be honest, I️ probably wouldn’t have prewashed anyway), I️ think I’ll just steal it for myself!