A Very Classic Shirt

The weekend long read
This Classic Shirt was an idea for a make that’s been wafting around my head since early summer.
Quite often what will inspire me is seeing a certain construction detail out in the wild that I love. A seam with a certain curve, a collar with a specific shape, a colour of a contrast thread or even creatively considered button placements. These tiny details will flick something in my brain that gets an idea started. Usually when I feel the real ‘flick’ of an idea it will stay in my head until it eventually comes out in clothing form.
For this piece it was seeing a jet pocket on a crisp shirt. It’s not ground breaking, but it is satisfying.
Worn with a pair of hacked Worker Trousers - details saved here.
I use a lot of welt pockets in my patterns but never jet pockets until now. There’s something very satisfying about a jet pocket in a crisp, pinstripe cotton poplin. It’s delicate, smart and adds a design detail that’s subtle but eye catching.
Aside from this little pocket detail I was also excited to work with a poplin shirting fabric. In the past I’ve opted for fabrics with wholesome textures and after a while everything in your wardrobe feels like it has the same character. I’ve recently found it better to pair a ‘hard’ fabric (something that is crisp and tightly woven) with something more ‘soft’ (such as a linen or naturally dyed cotton). I think part of what makes a great outfit is when the colours, cuts AND textures compliment each other.
When I went fabric shopping in August I spent a good deal of time in the shirting section of Misan in Shepherds Bush. I went for a blue pinstripe as blue seems to be my personal neutral colour which I find hard to get away from. I chose a thread colour to match and small tortoiseshell buttons. It’s classic, nothing out of the ordinary but just right.
I wanted to share the process so I made an informal step-by-step photo guide for the pocket. You'll find the link to this alongside the other make notes in this email.
I hope it’s an interesting make to refer to if you have a shirt or utility piece in the pipeline. And if you haven’t dipped a toe into shirt making before I highly recommend giving it a go. Our Art of Shirt Making Workshop is a complete tutorial for really high quality shirt making and even if you’re a beginner you’ll finish with something that looks professionally made.

Let me know any thoughts and questions and have a happy Sunday.




Cut: Classic Shirt

Size: 14 - (this is slightly oversized, my 'actual' size would usually be a 10/12)


- jet pocket at the breast

- back loop added

Jet Pocket Detail

I'm a regular with a welt pocket so I had to remind myself of the different proportions of a jet pocket. If you look closely you'll see the jets are actually overlapped in the corners. It's not perfect so I did a separate pocket for the step-by-step photo guide.

I added the little loop which only really serves as a visual detail. I could put a button on the pocket so that it has an actual function but I decided to leave it off. 

Jet Pocket Guide

Back Loop

This is not a major hack detail but I added a loop to the back. This pattern comes with a loop for the back neck but not an external one. I think it's a lovely feature for pin-stipe fabric.


My thread colour blends into the fabric so the topstitching is not a loud feature but a very subtle way to elevate the feel of the piece.

I added a 1mm line of topstitching around the whole outer cuff edge, collar, shoulders, yoke and armhole.

If you like the look of playing with topstitching you might want to check out this previous newsletter/blog post - The Art of Topstitching

Flat Binding

In my most recent update of the Classic Shirt instructions I added the option for a flat binding on the hem. This is a really lovely way to finish a curved edge. Not only does it look beautiful from inside but it gives the hem an extra bit of weight which makes it fall nicely.

If you look very closely you'll see some seams in the binding (below) - this is a great way to make use of your scraps when you don't have one long length!


This was a lovely piece to make. I find shirts very meditative to sew as I know the process like the back of my hand. With a good podcast on I can just get lost in the making.

If you haven't got into shirt making yet I encourage you to try it. You'll definitely learn some new techniques and hopefully find a lot of satisfaction in the artful origami of these timeless garments.


Follow the thread - Continue reading the winter capsule journey