Getting into menswear with the Negroni

Sewing projects get bumped to the front of the sewing to-do list for a variety of reasons. I’m still working on a swimsuit for Betsy but the alterations, which always require a non-tired Leila, made for an embarrassing delay. I still needed to sew something and I wanted to sew something for men.

At work, I get several requests to do alterations and other makes. One of my friends asked me to make him an Evil Knievel jumpsuit. You know, this one:

Let’s start with something else, first, I suggest. How about a cowboy shirt? Hey, that I can do. But first, I need to make a wearable muslin. Enter the Colette Negroni. A straight forward button down shirt with great instructions and a nice cut.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been posting my initial pattern work for the cowboy shirt. I’m getting close but I still want to practice the yoke I’m making from this inspiration photo:

I’m going to have to change the Negroni collar, as well, to get that 70s point. Until then, I present you with my first men’s shirt. I got the fabric from Fabric Mart a couple of months ago. I think it’s this oxford shirting they still have in stock but I also got a similar muted denim blue twill shirting (which they don’t have right now) and I can’t quite tell the difference but they really do have similar hands.

Negroni back collar downNegroni frontNegroni back view

I wonder if I should make alterations to the back. The front fits so nicely but then the back is so baggy. I made the size medium because measurements were in between the S and the M. This is a part of menswear I don’t know well- fit. Perhaps taking out some of the width would be a good idea? I don’t know.

Negroni close up collarNegroni close up collar upNegroni right front close up

He liked the shirt with the collar up, which I think looks pretty cool. The buttons are from JoAnn’s. I want to find some pearl snap buttons for the cowboy Negroni. I might see if my boss at the dress shop knows a good place to get them. Look at all these colors! (Click on the image to see a seller I found.)

Negroni hanging Negroni close up buttonbandNegroni close up cuff Negroni close up top button

A real joy to sew, the Negroni is a great pattern. If you are afraid of making this shirt up, I highly recommend using a nice shirting- but nothing too light weight. It’ll be easier to sew, for one.

I’m off to make the 2nd swimsuit muslin and then play with the cowboy Negroni pattern pieces. I’m taking pictures and I’ll make sure to show you what I learn about getting a really nice curved yoke. Hopefully, I can pull it off.

And that’s me, now with one men’s shirt under my belt. Woot! Thanks to Eric for putting up with the measuring and the photos! You’re a peach!

16 thoughts on “Getting into menswear with the Negroni

  1. Kim Johnson says:

    What about putting two long darts down the back. This would taper it in and take out some of the fullness, but still leave ease across the shoulders.

  2. Melizza says:

    Skills! The shirt looks wonderfully made. The buttons really take it up a notch. They are really nice.

    When I made my husband’s Negroni I went down a size (he was in between sizes as well) so it would fit his back and shoulders. It worked really well to downsize. Still fits even though he got a bit more tummy these days 🙂

    • Leila says:

      The interesting thing about menswear that I’m slowly realizing is that it’s all about how men like their shirts to fit. I’ll have to check in with Eric and see what he thinks of the fit after a couple of wears. Thanks for the input.

  3. auntymaimu says:

    It all depends on what he likes. When I think 70′ western shirt, I am thinking slim fitting shirt. Mens slim fitting shirt has no pleates on the back, it fits quit tight and has darts on the back. I second Kims idea. Remove those pleats, put two long darts in.

  4. Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! says:

    That’s true, it doesn’t matter what size he measures and what size you make, how does he like it? Is he commenting on the fullness? I always measure, cut out that size and them before I finish we kinda pin it together and try it on. People hate wearing clothes all pinned together, but…. Sorry! It’s the only way I know how! Your shirt looks great, so well made!

  5. Brooke says:

    Yeah, I’d definitely take it in on the back. That’s the main alteration I do for tv/movies when I’m fixing rtw dress shirts. Either add some darts or take out some width at the side seams. Just be careful not to make the upper back and shoulder area too tight or the wearer will have movement issues and possibly a blow out.

    Very nice shirt! Love the finishing details! Can’t wait to see your scrolly yoke version!

    • Leila says:

      I’m thinking of just taking it in at the center yoke/back of the shirt so I don’t have to mess with the armscye. But then I’m also wondering if I use a stretch woven if I can get away with just making the shirt using one size smaller in the pattern. Wondering if the back would also be baggy on the S.

      • Brooke says:

        Stretch might help if you try going down a size. But I think it just needs some shaping in general. I wonder if you could just add a center back seam below the yoke and curve it (if you can’t just curve the side seams a bit more without too much work).

      • Leila says:

        That’s a really good idea. This guy is a rail but has broad shoulders so I don’t want to take it in at the yoke. But also, I see that this pattern is drafted with kinda baggy upper sleeves which is what I’m also not crazy about on the one I made. But I don’t want to overfit- you know that’s my weakness.

  6. CGCouture says:

    You’ve got a good start! I would swing in the sides on the next version, like the opposite of what some of us women do to accommodate our hips. I’d do that front and back, and maybe curve the waist a bit more on the back. My hubby is a similar build (slim hipped with broad shoulders), and that’s what I always did for him, otherwise he was swimming in fabric. You can do darts, but I’ve always been afraid that would look too…girly? Maybe not though, I’ve never actually tried it.

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