Handmade and Fabulous: The Nehru Shirt

I had a white cotton shirt that I wore to death. It was a loose-fitting shirt with Nehru collar, two front pockets, and buttons running halfway down the front. I loved it for its relaxed vibe that transforms into sexy with just a flick of two buttons. A hundred (okay, maybe 30) washes later and it was looking more yellow than white, more ‘just shabby’ than shabby chic. I knew  I should clone it before it completely disintegrates  but that would mean tearing it apart, piece by piece, and recreating the pattern. I wasn’t quite ready to say my goodbyes (really, I was just lazy), so I kept wearing it…until I couldn’t.

And then, Marvel happened. Last Saturday, my husband, son, and I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I normally don’t gush over Marvel movies but this one was brilliant. It was action-packed, fast-paced, and had generous helpings of Chris Evans’ impossibly taut chest. But for all the action and suspense and despite lashings of Chris Evans‘ impossibly taut chest, only one scene made the most impression on me. It was the one in which Agent Alexander Pierce (played by Robert Redford) said to Captain America: “Captain, to build a better world sometimes means turning the old one down…and that makes enemies”.

When I got home that night, I took out my beloved shirt and started picking on the seams with a seam ripper, muttering “To build a better world sometimes means turning the old one down” under my breath, over and over again. A couple of hours later, I finally reduced it to its parts.

pattern (1 of 1)
Anatomy of my beloved shirt

I made the patterns out of kraft paper by tracing around the fabric pieces with 1/4 seam allowance throughout.  I then set out cloning my favourite shirt.

Here are the first two clones I made this week: one in blue-and-white floral, the other in plain black with red buttonholes.

pattern1 (3 of 4)
Blue-and-white Floral cotton shirt with Nehru collar and white buttons sewn in with contrasting tan thread
A close-up of the shirt front
The black version with contrasting red buttonholes
The black version with contrasting red buttonholes
A close-up of the covered buttons and red buttonholes
And here, ‘sexily’ undone 🙂
The cotton fabric I used was so thin I had to double it up on the front and back panels. But I left the sleeves sheer.

Fancy sewing your own shirt? Do come back in a few days for a tutorial!



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