Jan 8, 2011
Friends, today I want to talk about online resources for men's shirting.
As you know, I am one of the fortunate few who still have access to brick and mortar fabric stores. I buy many sewing items online: sewing machines and sergers, notions, ALL my patterns, but fabric, not yet. So in preparing today's post I went to the experts.
I picked Nancy K's brain so much yesterday I left little red marks. If you've ever scanned the Pattern Review message boards or read her popular blog Nancy K Sews, you've seen Nancy in action. Nancy has great taste and knows her stuff. Nancy's recommendations for cotton shirting include Fabric Mart, Michael's Fabrics, and Philip Boyne on Long Island.
I had heard positive things about Fabric Mart, and after checking out their website I can see why. Fabric Mart currently has gorgeous Italian shirting for $7.99/ yd. (I recommend buying three yards to make the Negroni shirt, though for a short-sleeve shirt you can get away with two-and-a-half.)
They have a beautiful selection of high quality, conservative shirting and I found their website to be very easy to navigate and fast. I love this elegant steel gray windowpane:
I also checked out Gorgeous Fabrics, a slightly more expensive alternative. They also have lovely shirting for sale, in the $10/yd. range. This petit houndstooth in burgundy is simple and beautiful.
And then there's Fabric.com.
Blogger and frequent MPB booster Debbie Cook, who has apparently tired so much of hearing me talk about sewing for Michael that she has taken up the challenge herself (I kid you not), found her beautiful cotton shirting at this popular fabric resource.
I find Fabric.com's website to be slow to load and a little overwhelming, but they have a wide range of choices and excellent prices. I found cotton broadcloth there for as low as $3/yd. Michael loves this brown/blue gingham; perfect for an "Autumn."
(Parenthetically, Debbie also helped me code my Men's Shirt Sew-Along button and thank goodness she lives in a right-to-work state or I could never afford her. I plan to outsource most of my sewing to her in the near future.)
NOTE: these online sellers have frequent sales and discounts available to their mailing lists, so you might want to add your name to them.
TYPES OF SHIRTING
There are many different types and qualities of men's shirting and I found two sites with clear descriptions of the difference between Oxford cloth, poplin, cotton twill, broadcloth, chambray, piqué, etc.
Mens shirt fabrics
Shirt fabric glossary
For those of you sewing the Colette Negroni pattern, you may want to choose a more casual fabric -- a print, say, or a small plaid, or even flannel. You'll see there's plenty on offer at the sites listed above. I'd stick to 100% cotton.
You are also going to want to interface plackets, collar, collar stand (if you choose to make one) and cuffs. I like woven weft weight.
Nancy purchases her interfacing from Pam Enry, here. All of Pam's interfacing is 60" wide, Nancy says, "which makes her prices a bargain." Many of you will recognize Pam's name from her blog, Off the Cuff. Pam has downloadable PDFs of instructions for using the interfacing too!
A final word -- well, many words -- about shirt fabric:
I made my first six shirts using sheets from the Salvation Army. Some were even -- gasp! -- cotton/poly. I intend to make a Negroni muslin from a sheet. Used bedding is our friend, readers. No one has to know your shirt was slept on -- or worse -- in another life.
Friends, that's it.
Given that you all have way more experience shopping for fabric online than I do, if you'd like to recommend resources you've used, please share them below, especially for those shopping overseas.
I'm here to answer your questions and if I can't I'm sure someone else can and will.
I'll be posting about other shirtmaking supplies soon, as well as favorite fabric resources here in NYC.
Happy Saturday everybody!