The best camp shirt pattern

Stephen loves his hawaiian shirts, and we have a couple of friends who wear them a lot as well. I thought, since we had a couple of trips to Hawaii this year with CSA, that I would try to make us some matching/related and geekish shirts. Off to figure out a pattern to use and fabric to buy.

McCalls 2233 Pattern Image

I started with a pattern that had been used for the Single Pattern competition at Costume-Con. McCalls 2233 is a set of pieces designed for kitchen staff — chef’s jacket, shirt, pants, apron, and toque. While the folks using this for the Single Pattern competition were very creative (klingon chef anyone?!), only one person actually made the shirt. It looked awfully big on her, with sleeves at least to her elbows. I decided to make it using some leftover fabric from the stash — the pink camo.

The pattern is actually pretty straight forward, but it’s not a true camp shirt, as the collar is not designed for the open and flat spread. It has an interesting trick of double-folding the front facing and not needing interfacing. And the shoulders are dropped *significantly* — 3″ on me — which is part of why the sleeves end up so long. And it’s really long.

McCalls 2149 Pattern Image

Next up: McCalls 2149. This is a men’s shirt set, with collar options (camp vs band, but no stand collar style) and sleeve options (short vs long). It was interesting to see how this men’s pattern differed from the women’s patterns. It was “old-fashioned” one-size only, instead of the multi-size patterns that have become the norm for most women’s patterns. One of our friends used this for her husband’s geek shirts.

This one used the leftover purple camo, although I was short fabric for the sleeves. I got some plain purple to use for the sleeves, collar, and pocket. The assembly was interesting, as they had you attach the collar, then attach the facing, then clip deep into the collar seam to be able to close it off. It worked far better than I expected. The shoulder seam is forward of center by about an inch (which I top-stitched). The finished sleeves are still nearly elbow length.

New Look 6197 Pattern image

Third time: New Look 6197. This one has both men’s and women’s multisized patterns in the same packet. The difference is in the fit of the body (with darts or not) and hem (straight vs curved). This has a back yoke in addition to the camp-style collar. Both the yoke and collar are cut cross-grain.

I grabbed some fabric from the stash – a green linen that I had picked up for Faire years ago and never used. After assembling the yoke and lower back piece, the assembly is fairly typical. This also used the collar construction as in the McCalls pattern above. However, if you want to have the yoke with two layers (as in most commercial shirts), better to cut a second yoke piece, and attach the inner yoke layer to the front facings at the shoulder seams, and then sew the entire collar down in a single seam – no clip specifically to be able to put in a hem as in the instructions (but you still will need to clip the seam so it lies flat). Then close the shoulder seams and the bottom of the yoke with a fine top-stitch just off of the seamline.
The only problem with this pattern is that there is no indication for where the pocket should be set. I used one of the other patterns for the basic location.
Total time was about 4 hours, from layout/cutting to buttonholes. And the only thing done by hand was the actual buttons.

I had gotten a 4th pattern to try, but the New Look pattern was definitely the winner. So far I’ve done 4 shirts and have 2 more on the list.

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