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May 28, 2017

Something Old That's Something New: Simplicity 4971!


Simplicity 4971, which dates back to the very early 1960's, is one of those vintage men's patterns that proliferate on sites like Etsy and eBay and looks pretty unremarkable.

Upon closer inspection, however, the shirt portion has some unusual details.  One of these is the cuff notch, a lovely touch I'd seen on ready-to-wear shirts but could never figure out how to add to my own shirts.  The second detail, and the most interesting, is the waistband -- a waistband on a shirt!  This was a style that was popular at one time and is now little more than a fashion memory.

Isn't Tony Curtis wearing something similar in the photo below?  (We won't bring up the knee socks.)

How many of us can you name?
I decided I wanted to make this style shirt and to make it out of white cotton lawn.  Even though I'm prone to dribbling food on my clothes, I am quite fond of white shirts.  The fabric is semi-sheer, cool and perfect for summer.



I used antique French glass buttons, which came from the Chelsea Flea Market.

I call this a cuff notch.  Is there a better name?

The shirt came together easily; the only alteration I made was to take a few inches off the length so that the waistband sat at the correct height.  Naturally, you don't tuck in a shirt like this one.


Sewing with white fabric is always a bit of a gamble and I had to remove a few stains before I'd even finished the shirt.  I've learned the hard way that eating chocolate and sewing don't mix!

I'm very happy with the way this turned out.  I'm not sure how I feel about the style though.  Maybe one of these is enough.  What do you think of it?  Is it too much like a women's blouse?

There are a lot more photos of the shirt -- and me in it -- over on the Mood Sewing Network, which you can view here.

It's fun digging up a style that's no longer with us, which is one of the things I love about vintage patterns.   (You never know when it might come back!)
Have a great day -- and for you Americans, a great holiday weekend -- everybody!

25 comments:

  1. Cuff notch condidential: when is your tell-all being published?

    Sign me,
    Confused and unaware

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the shirt looks great, different, but not too different.

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  3. Tony Curtis never a sartorial exemplar. The only time the man looked well dressed was in drag in Some Like it Hot. Shark skin shorts, red undershirt, and those socks. No wonder his children wear looks of scorn. I always am impressed by your skills as a seamster, but the shirt does look a bit like a blouse. Something Miss Jane Hathaway of the Beverly Hillbillies might wear for office casual. (in a more opaque fabric of course)

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  4. I'll say this for the style: you wear it better than Tony Curtis.

    (I knew three of the four and had to look her up. How unfair it must seem, to go through life as "the other one.")

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  5. Hi-
    I made a similar style shirt last year, I had to drop the waist due to it sitting on the top of my pants:( Even with the drop, I felt I never could lift my arms or I'd have belly exposer! I gave it to good will:( I just never felt comfortable in the shirt but loved the style! It sort of reminds me of the shirt UPS workers wear:)

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  6. I think any colour other than white would have been a winner but this looks very much like a girls school blouse. Sorry ��

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  7. Oh wow - I had never seen a man's shirt with a waistband. Learned something new!

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  8. I think you look totally in step with summer! and it's fun to see something different, original. You wear it well.

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  9. Because the Tony Curtis version is longer, it has more of a jacket look to it, especially with the tank top underneath. I think it has potential...

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  10. It's a jacket, it's a shirt, who knows, It needs something, I wish I knew what that was. It reminds me of a short cropped top that women wear with daisy dukes. If you lift your arms we should be able to see your abs. Your constructions is perfect, the style of it needs help and some way to make it more wearable, not so short waisted. or just wear it with low rise shorts and sandals and show off the mid section.

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  11. I like it. Thinking Dean Martin, style icon (swooooon)

    Spud

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  12. This was a popular style in the 1960's called a Shirt Jac. Often with adjustable buttons on either side of the waistband. Sort of like the feel of an Eisenhower jacket but made in a shirting fabric.

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    Replies
    1. The notched cuff is still a nice detail usable for a contemporary short sleeve shirt.

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    2. Thanks, that was very helpful. I was able to find a few vintage ones online!

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    3. I have a vintage shirt jac I love, just doesn't fit me anymore but I can't bear to part with it. I've added the waistband button tabs to a couple of shirts (probably one of the few purely decorative touches I've ever added), but no notched cuffs. Until now!

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  13. Because of the slightly blouse look of the shirt, I believe it would be better teamed with a more masculine trouser. Great job on the shirt, I'm in awe of your sewing skills as usual.

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  14. My Dad often wore the "shirt jac" in the 60s. They were several inches longer. I think some of the alternative styles popular over the years were an excuse not to wear a tie in hot weather. I totally understand that! Peter, you should really make another in a Summery print before you lose interest. I see potential.

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  15. I do love the cuff notch, your choice of fabric and the way the collar looks. The waistband, not so much. But the shirt looks crisp and cool. And really well-executed.

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  16. I agree with some of the other commenters that the length should be longer. If it was, I think you wouldn't have thought it was, in any way, feminine. Try covering the photo from just above the waistband. It looks like a man's shirt. I'm not sure why, I imagine this in light blue with brown cuffs, waistband and button placket. That must have been something my dad wore in the 60s.

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  17. Hi! I tried to comment on the MoodSewingNetwork site, but when you hit "Submit" it takes you to a "Page does not exist" error page :(

    But what I said was the shirt looked good on you, and the waistband makes it look très couture!

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  18. My father wore "shirt jackets" in the tropics in the 60s, longer than yours with breast pockets on both sides as well as lower pockets, made from prints, batik, or khaki. They were comfortable in hot and humid weather but durable, and looked a little more professional than plain shirts. The pockets held his pipe, his pen, spare change, etc. Men in the Philippines wear beautiful embroidered shirts at tunic length--comfortable and handsome in hot, humid weather.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. Your memory is precise. We have borrowed several "dress" shirt styles from around the world - places where a man would scarcely think it reasonable to wrap his throat tightly in several layers of fabric when the temperature is in the 90s.

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    2. I like it but it's probably better suited for a twenty year old than someone of our age!! Great project though and great to see new ideas for adapting men's shirts

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