Tag Archives: Colette Negroni

Getting shirty …

Only six months late, but I have finally made an anniversary present  …

Jimmy has been my better half for many years now. I met him at art college where he wore the graphic design student uniform – a Smiths t-shirt with turned up Levis, an old man’s wool cardi and DMs. He liked my etchings and stripy bretons and I liked his taste in music, design work and bottom. Nothing’s changed.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, to celebrate 22 (and a half) years together I made him a shirt, yes, another one (see the first one here) and I think it’s a success (almost) …


I wanted to make Jimmy a smarter shirt, this time with a dress collar rather than the camp collar of the Negroni and long sleeves too. I used the McCall’s 6044  but also used Colette’s Negroni for the sleeve placket pattern (which is much nicer) and to remind myself how to do flat felled seams. The blue book in the photo is a gem (McCall’s Sewing in Colour) from 1963 and you must seek it out as it’s blooming handy to look up forgotten techniques!



The fabric is an organic cotton crossweave from Ray Stitch and is a dream to sew after all my silly synthetic makes of late. The construction went well, using both patterns was straightforward but somehow, little things kept going wrong. The automatic button hole option on my machine seems to be a bit unreliable these days (no idea why) it tends to do only one side of a button hole then crazily continues stitching on the same spot instead of moving over to finish the other side. Just as I’m about to give up, it performs and produces a perfect one! Perhaps someone could point out the obvious to me?


The double row stitching on the pockets is done by eye, but then I remembered the never used before, twin needle hiding in my sewing box. It is so easy to use and gives such satisfyingly neat results, I love it so much that I used it virtually everywhere (you can see the much neater stitches on the yoke) …


All in all, I’m very happy with this shirt. Despite two broken needles (one on the overlocker), not having quite enough buttons, much unpicking (pre twin needle), the fact that it has a tiny hem due to my unfortunate mis-measuring, the sleeves being too long (urgh!) and the many dodgy unfinished button holes before the perfect ones, I like it a lot! Oh, and it does match at the front (I swear), it’s just the silly photo!


He likes it a lot too! Go on, smile for the camera …


that’s more like it, happy anniversary.



Filed under makes

Smitten … with the Negroni

Right, time to show off … can I please?

With Jimmy and my boy away for three weeks at the beginning of the holidays doing their thing, I thought it would be a good time to get ‘lost’ in a brand new, never attempted before (by me anyway) sewing project.

I’d decided a little while back that if I could make Jimmy a present for his birthday it would have to be something a bit special and a big surprise. We always used to make each other things (he once made me a papermaché lion brooch and I made him this case for his camera not so long ago) but this time I wanted to make him something he could wear. Enter the Negroni, courtesy of Colette.

With the house to myself and in constant threat of feeling sorry for my lonesome self (pathetic I know), I found myself cutting out the pattern and getting truly stuck in. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and actually my worries about the pattern being for ‘intermediate level’ were unfounded as in true Colette style, it’s so clearly explained. Having said that, I did pop over to male pattern boldness and his sewalong to check I was doing it the right way on more than one occasion (wonderful blog, really helpful)!

In a moment of rational thinking I decided to make the Violet first in preparation, just because I hadn’t attached a collar before (well not ‘properly’ anyway) and I also needed practise at putting in front facing and button holes. I think it was a good plan, the whole thing didn’t seem so daunting when I knew I’d done something similar before.

I was careful to cut the fabric so that the checks would line up when the finished shirt was buttoned up but it would have been nice to cut the back yoke on the bias too now I think about it!

The whole shirt came together very well. I have discovered the beauty of flat-felled seams too and was very quick to point these out to Jimmy when he opened the parcel on his birthday! I chose version 2 for this as I knew we would be in hot Turkey for the big day and also I didn’t want to frighten myself off with those plackets and cuffs (although I will try the long sleeved version next time)!

Just a couple of tiny things to point out and I only do this because I want to be completely honest about my sewing progress (I could keep quiet and hope no one notices!) but there’s a bit of a wobble going on on the button hole side of the facing. Once you’ve put in the button holes though (sigh) there’s not a lot you can do. Also, a titchy matter of a pocket flap being a bit wider one side than the the other, but hey, I’m a graphic designer and these things stick out to me!

I can’t tell you how pleased I was when at the end of the day I’d achieved this make. What’s more, I’d made it for someone that I love very much and he appreciated and loved that too! Anyway, here it is in all it’s finished glory …

I have got a great photo of Jimmy on his birthday wearing this but as he has teamed it with these (a gift from our girl) and tucked it into his shorts (for comedy effect I promise you), he’s asked me not to publish … I can understand why!

Next time (yes there will be a next time) I’d like to try one of these pockets and maybe a stand up collar like this or maybe not, that ‘camp’ collar with the little loop is very cool. There are some great versions out there and I’m inspired to make a plain fabric Negroni with a patterned yoke as Florence has done so perfectly here. All in all an enjoyable, bust adjustment free (hooray!), wonderful make and the pleasure of giving it to the man in your life is priceless.

The fabric is from here, it washes well and was lovely to work with, only £5 per metre too. The buttons are aqua coloured shell buttons and were 12p each (from my local knitting shop) and the pattern was £12.50 from Sewbox.

I never thought I could get so excited about a man’s shirt, but I urge you to have a go at this pattern, you won’t be disappointed!


Filed under makes