The Anatomy of a Shirt

Posted on March 21, 2019 by Natalia Luna

Everyone has a shirt they think compliments them well, and is their absolute favorite to wear when the occasion arises. Your favorite shirt can be made up of a luxe Cotton Seersucker, or a Pinstripe Cotton Shirting. But why not love every shirt in your wardrobe? And why can’t they all be your favorite? Here at Mood, we believe this can be your chance to customize your next shirt with your own personality in mind!

This guide can also be helpful for designers looking to either reconnect with the basics, or help with simple edits in the pattern making process. We’ll dive into just exactly what each item is, and figure out where you’d like to make your own artistic changes! Whether you’re adding a puffed sleeve, a pocket, or just keeping it simple and classic, this is sure to help put you on the right track when making your next fabulous shirt.

Here is everything you need to consider when making your very own dress shirt!

First things first, you should consider what type of Material you’d like to use for shirting fabric. This can be anything from an Egyptian or a Pima cotton for a more comfortable fit. Decide what color, pattern and design you’d like, and find the pattern that best suits you! We have plentiful bounty of totally free patterns at Mood’s Sewciety blog, so definitely check that out as your first step!

In terms of construction, the first item on our list is The Collar. The collar is the focal point for most shirts, as it’s usually the first detail that your eye is lead to. To add more of a flair, it can be decorated with pins or a lovely brooch! Depending on what type of collar you choose, it can also be connected to what’s called a Standing Collar. This is essentially a simple band that gives the collar that ‘propped up’ look! The collar can look like anything from a Mandarin collar, to a simple pointed collar. If you need help with the collar making process, click here for helpful tips. The choices are endless!

Inside your collar, you may find you’d like to include a Main Label, and a Composition Label, indicating the fabric contents of your shirt. Another label to include is a Care Label, generally placed in the lower right side of garments. This is helpful to know, and inform your clientele of what they’ve purchased, but completely optional if you’re making your own shirt. You can also become an honorary member of our Sewciety, and use our classic Mood labels for all of your hand-made garments!

The next item on our list is The Sleeve. Typically connected to the Armscye (Otherwise known as the armhole), the sleeve is also a varying factor in design. It can be shortened to quarter sleeve length, or widened into a trumpet sleeve. There are so many possibilities. Of course, there is always the option to remove sleeves entirely, for that sleek and sleeveless ‘look’ as an option!

Connected to the sleeve, is The Cuff which would be found on both sides of each sleeve. The cuff is useful to help bring shape to the bottom of your sleeve, where you would want it to look neat and tidy. There are also numerous items like cuff links that could help decorate your cuffs, and bring out that personality we talked about!

The center stage of it all is the Body Front, where the majority of your fabric will go towards! This is generally kept the same for most designs, with a Placket right in the middle for your Buttons. The placket’s primary use is to be the home for your buttons which can also be added to sleeves, thus being aptly named a Sleeve Placket. There are a few changes you could do with the Body Front, which is shortening it, widening it, or adding a few darts where needed. The choice is all yours!

A Pocket can be an optional choice, where you can proudly display a nifty pen protector, or for simple decoration! It’s also very simple to add to any project. If you need an easy and foolproof way to make a pocket, click here for another quick how-to!

On the reverse side of our shirt, you’ll normally find a Yoke. The purpose of its placement is to help provide support in the looser area of the shirt, and give it structure and shape. Beneath the yoke, you may also find a Hang Loop! The purpose of this little fabric loop stems from the origin of sailors in the Navy. Since most sailors didn’t have closets, they had to hang their dress shirts on a hook, to keep them wrinkle free when changing. Nowadays we have hangers, but this is a sign of a high quality shirt when you’ve thought of everything, down to the this little loop!

Finally, moving towards the bottom of our shirt, we have the Hem. The hem is an important final detail to consider, because you want it to hit just below your hip. This way you will be able to tuck it into pants, and achieve that classy put together look. But with fashion, that’s optional! You can make your shirt into a crop top, or even a tunic for a different look.

The beauty of making your own clothing means you can truly customize what you like! So remember, making a shirt doesn’t mean it has to be a dress shirt. Your garment can be made up of casual fabrics like linen, flannel, or even a printed cotton fabric.

So where will you be making your own custom shirt changes? Let me know in the comments below!

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