sketchbook shirt

I don’t want to tease you for too much longer. The new patterns are coming soon, really soon. They will be available on the website and will start shipping next Monday, April 5. Bear with me for one more short week of new style previews before you can get your hands on the actual patterns. This week, I have two posts that highlight our new boy’s pattern.

Last fall I asked a question on the Oliver + S Discussion Forums: What do you want to sew next?

We received lots of great feedback, and I was especially interested to see how many of you wanted to sew a classic boy’s shirt. You’re a brave bunch! Either that or you knew that I wouldn’t give you a pattern that was too difficult to finish. So thank you for the nudge you gave me toward developing this pattern.

Personally, I’ve never liked to sew shirts because the collar and band are usually very tricky to assemble. Traditional sewing techniques involve rolling the collar inside a tiny collar band, which is difficult enough with adult-sized clothing but which is virtually impossible with smaller children’s sizes. So for a little while there I decided that our discussion forum respondents were either gluttons for punishment or simply crazy.

Then I had an idea. Why not incorporate the same one-piece collar construction we’ve used in the Jump Rope Dress and the new Music Class Blouse and translate it into a boy’s shirt collar? It would eliminate the tricky collar stand assembly but still permit the collar to roll and wear the way a traditional shirt collar should.

And it worked! I’m very pleased with how much easier it is to sew this collar without compromising the finished appearance of the classic (but much more difficult) collar sewing technique. This collar can be worn open for a casual look or buttoned all the way up for a dressy or more formal appearance.  And you won’t be cursing at me while you sew it.

The easy shirt-tail hem can be worn loose or tucked in, and you have the choice of a simple short sleeve or a more challenging (but not overwhelming) long sleeve with placket and cuff. I’m quite pleased with the cuff too. It’s much easier to sew than many cuff construction techniques, without the frustration level I’ve always come to expect from sleeve cuffs.

View A includes that nifty shirt collar I mentioned above, the long sleeve with placket and cuff, and a chest pocket. We’ve sewn our sample from a printed stripe that gives a more casual appearance appropriate for school or play. But you can choose to use a solid or a classic shirting fabric with a subtle stripe or check to make a dressier version that’s just right for dressy occasions.

View B gives you the flexibility for doing some other variations on the shirt. Like the Music Class Blouse, View B of this pattern includes a band collar as well as short sleeve. Mix and match the collar, sleeve, and pocket options to create a variety of styles for all sorts of occasions–both formal and casual. Let your imagination go with this one.

For this shirt pattern, which is rated as two of four scissors in difficulty, we suggest light- to medium-weight woven fabrics like quilting cotton, broadcloth, lawn, shirting, poplin, fine-wale corduroy, and linen.

Next, I’ll show you the shorts that are also included in the pattern.




  1. Elaine

    I’m so excited about this pattern! I’ve already sewn an entire spring wardrobe for my daughter, now I can make something for my boys!

  2. nicole keller

    Thankyou so very much for this pattern, my son does not like T-shirts and only wears shirts or polo tops.I can spend an hour or more obsessing with a collar and stand, I can not wait to try this pattern.

  3. How bout a Hong Kong finish? I’ve seen that on loads of clothes.

    I do agree, though- collars and plackets can be a nightmare. Still, I have faith in your instructions.

  4. Nora's Room

    It’s like a dream come true!

    Pamela Erny has a web tutorial for how to interface a one-piece collar plus stand:

    It’s a technique I’ve used for the jump rope dress and will definitely try again.

  5. ASM_Blue

    Can’t wait for this as well with 2 boys asking why they only get PJ’s (ok, I sew them the school days coat this winter). They are really looking forward for this one (feeling the pressure already…).

  6. Katja Magus

    Wahoo- Lamir will be wearing his shirt at the 1st grade spring concert in April….he picked yellow linen for the shirt and a bumblebee/hive fabric for the tie. Mommy has got to get busy!

  7. Finally! Someone has admitted to cursing while sewing! (Or you must or you wouldn’t have the foresight to expect it from us while sewing a collar). I learned all of my best strings of curse words from my Mom while she was sewing. In fact, I was terrified of sewing in a zipper because that brought out the absolute best (or worse…) in her. I am looking forward to this pattern! I just tackled my first zipper and collar all in one shirt and I about threw the whole machine and garment out the window in one fell swoop!

    Thank you!

  8. nicole keller

    I had a giggle at this,I made Barbie dresses for my twins, and my husband requested that I never did that again. The girls vocab went up [not for the better].

  9. Curse you while sewing? Uh, no… not possible – even with a collarstand. hehehe! 😉

  10. I’d love to sew one of these for my son! Lately, he’s really been into wearing shirts with my husband’s old ties. It makes him look hipster nerd though he’s only 5. I love all the fabrics that you use to sew up your samples. Any way we could convince you to let us know in your posts where your fabrics come from? It’d be much appreciated!

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