The Octopus Negroni Shirt

Colette Negroni shirt

This shirt makes me happy for so many reasons. No other piece of clothing has given me the chance to say the word octopi or the phrase yes, its a very octopussy shirt so many times. I’m also ecstatic to get this out of my queue, since I’d been staring at 3 beautiful yards of cotton lawn octopi for far too long.

Ever since I successfully made an Archer for myself, Marc’s been asking for a short-sleeve shirt of his own. I settled on Negroni by Colette Patterns after seeing Lladybird’s version, so next came the fun/tricky part: finding the ideal fabric. I’ve had decent luck with, whose selection led both Marc and me to the octopi fabric, surprising since—while I loved it—I thought it might be a little too loud for his taste. I guess you don’t really know someone until you go virtual fabric shopping with them.

colette patterns men's negroni shirt

When it came to sewing, I added 2″ to the lengthen/shorten lines, and then made a muslin to test the fit. Marc’s 6’2″ and slim, and the medium fit him great in the body. It turns out I didn’t need to add the length after all, so technically the medium fit him right out of the package. Oh, men. Your lack of hip curves and boobs makes fitting so much easier.

Colette Negroni shirt

Here are the few changes I made to the final product:

  • Used self fabric for the facing, since the “lightweight” fusible interfacing I used on the muslin seemed miiiighty bulky. The Negroni has a pretty wide facing, but this cotton lawn is lightweight enough to feel comfortable while still providing some stability for the buttonholes and buttons. I fused the collar per the instructions, since a little extra stiffness there is fine.
  • Omitted one pocket and sewed it without the flap.
  • Omitted the collar loop. I think it would’ve made the Octopi look smug, or something.

Colette Negroni shirt

The sleeves came out pretty long when hemmed per the instructions, but Marc rolls most of his sleeves so the extra length isn’t a big deal. I cannot stress enough how much I love this Cotton and Steel Tokyo Train Ride fabric (also available in a few other colorways). It sewed like a dream, and the shirt is super soft yet crisp enough to hold its shape. Plus OCTOPI FOR DAYS! They’re so cute that I don’t even care that the yoke is horribly pattern matched. (I was running out of fabric, so certain octopi look like mutants with a bajillion tentacles.) I’ve already seen this material popping up all over Instagram, and I can’t wait to see what other folks are making with it!

And now, back to sewing myself a few things. My half-finished floral Laurel is currently crying out for attention on my ironing board, so that’ll be next. How about you? Sewn anything for a friend or S.O. lately?

Sewing for Dudes: Strathcona T-Shirt

thread theory men's strathcona t-shirt

I’m a creature of habit. When it comes to cooking dinner, it’s either chicken fajitas or eggs and TJ’s pumpkin waffles (#breakfast4dinner4life). It’s not that I’m not an adventurous eater (bring on the tendon soup and octopus carpaccio), it’s just that cooking old standbys is quick, simple, and satisfying. The same can be said for my recent wardrobe purchases, 90% of which have been gray or black. For better or worse, this tendency toward the familiar has trickled into my sewing life.

strathcona teestrathcona tee

In keeping with my goal of sewing one item of clothing for another person each month, I bought Thread Theory’s Strathcona pattern to sew a shirt for Marc. In early November, I finally got around to buying the fabric: a french terry from Girl Charlee that’s a soft, stretchy cotton-modal-lycra blend in a deep forest green. I’d just finished cutting out the fabric to make the long-sleeve T-shirt variation when I spotted it: a long-sleeve crewneck thermal from the Gap in nearly an identical shade of forest green, taunting me from its spot in Marc’s clean clothes hamper. At that point, I thought about making the short-sleeve variation instead, but then I remembered I’d bought Marc a short-sleeve American Apparel tee last year in, you guessed it, a nice shade of dark olive. We’re defenseless against the power of the solid neutrals! So, a long-sleeve forest green Strathcona it would be.

strathcona teethread theory strathcona tee

Marc is 6’2″ and generally wears a slim-fit medium in shirts, so I cut a medium. The general consensus for this pattern is that it runs a bit long in the body and very long in the sleeves, so I kept the body as is and took a bit of length off the sleeves. As far as construction goes, the shirt came together pretty easily, although next time I’ll use my walking foot to keep things smoother. I think the walking foot would have been especially helpful when attaching the sleeves, since I ended up with some weird pockets on the shoulder seam and had to do somewhat of a hack job to get them to lie flatter. I could definitely use a bit more practice setting sleeves with a knit fabric. (Actually just setting sleeves in general!) Anyone have tips for that?

strathcona men's t-shirt neckline

The pattern calls for the sleeves and bottom hem to be finished with self-fabric bands or a twin-needle hem, so I went with one of each: banded cuffs and a twin-needle bottom hem. This was my first experience with a twin needle, and I’m smitten! I also used it to topstitch the neckband. It so easily adds a more professional finish with barely any extra effort.

And that’s about it, folks! The important thing is that Marc thinks it’s comfy and likes the color (duh). Have you sewn any garments for the dudes in your life? I’m not very familiar with menswear patterns, so any suggestions are welcome! Next up on my docket is the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio. Stay tuned for that, or a possible pre-Christmas sewing meltdown. Only time will tell.