When we heard there was going to be a seaside airshow coinciding with our son’s very important birthday, DH and I decided we all go!  We didn’t dare tell… Airshows are weather-reliant and prone to cancellation 😯 so we led our new teenager to believe the excitement was in seeing the sea, fish ‘n’ chips on the beach and a new shirt with a cool print of planes for him to wear.

Made out of Liberty Tana Lawn.   Like he’d care about Liberty Tana Lawn.  But you might!  This was bought last year from Fabric World (49c Goldhawk Road) and though it’s not the latest release, the print is still available online and in other colours too. 

McCall’s M6044

I used a man’s shirt pattern McCall’s 6044 which, as it stands, is way too big for a young teen.  This is where a photocopier with a “reduce function” proves valuable.  I shrunk Size Small to 80%, which is easy enough and much quicker than enlarging a pattern (as I did to make Two Peas in a Pod). 

If you want to try it, take an  actual garment measurement and your desired garment measurement then use a calculator to divide the latter by the former: this works out the  percentage by which you have to reduce your copy.    

For example:

Actual finished shirt length: 30in

Desired shirt length: 25in

Reduction percentage: 25 / 30 = 83%

Beware that your Seam Allowances will shrink too so reduce them from 1.5cm to 1cm or similar.

M6044 is an easy pattern to make and my View A was especially quick.  The only difficulty was stitching the thick parts of the undercollar: the corners where the collar has been inserted and the interfaced, folded seam allowances are very thick.  Does this part of shirt-making drive you mad?  Do you have any tips for success?  After five failed attempts at making the top buttonhole, my machine was in danger of being taken out and beaten in the style of Basil Fawlty thrashing his car.  Which is when I knew it made sense to just leave the top button off.  I don’t think it matters:

As for the airshow on the birthday, the sun did come out!  As did the Red Arrows, a fearsome F-16 MLU, some Wingwalkers on Boeing Stearmans and many others.  And I marvelled at the planes’ design perfection and at the skill and bravery of the pilots while feeling very grateful for it all.  Especially for the son!

Location: Eastbourne

13 thoughts on “Planes!

    • Thanks Jane.
      It’s a beautiful bit of coastline and we did stay for three days which wasn’t enough but felt like a week’s worth of relaxation!

  1. Great idea to use the photocopier to change the sizing. Never thought of that! Love the shirt and fabric. Makes sense to leave top button off too.

    • Thank you! Shrinking is a good idea; I got it from the Pattern Magic project (not own brain, sadly). Just beware the seam allowances must be made smaller too.

  2. I love that Liberty print – you put it to great use and your son looks so cool wearing it. I love your reducing idea but have no plans to start making men’s (or boy’s) shirts as it looks like too much like hard work. You try to tempt me with your ‘easy’ pattern but I remember on The Great British Sewing Bee that the man’s shirt was held up as one of the hardest things to make – o.k. it was a tailored version but even so!

    • You’re so right! I’d forgotten about the Sewing Bee. Sewing men’s shirts is for the brave and the foolish. I was a bit miffed that Damon’s work shirts cost so much when Goldhawk Road sells beautiful fabric at only £4 a metre. Now I realize how many hours go into sewing them, and I haven’t even delved into the murky world of yokes, sleeves and cuffs!

  3. Congratulation to your teenager! The last photo is great in every sense except that bulge on the teenager’s back. An imperfect pattern, a blow of a wind or just awkward shadows of morning light?
    I loved the idea of the plane pattern of the shirt matching the show.

  4. The shirt and photos are fantastic. I am pleased the photocopier method worked. I have read that you shouldn’t resize patterns this way as incremental sizes do not necessarily increase proportionally. Maybe it is ok up to a certain percentage? Who knows, but yay for a great shirt and a teenager still wearing Mum’s sewing!

    • You’re so right to point this out!

      I really don’t think the resizing would work in changing e.g. from a small child top to one for a bigger kid (toddlers have massive heads, relatively speaking) and I think a teen girl to an adult woman also wouldn’t translate.

      Men and boys are a little bit less challenging but maybe if I’d made the long sleeved version of the shirt, the arms would have been too short. Or too long!!!

  5. great shirt, great pattern – very retro. I would like to have seen these air displays – especially as it seems there were no crowds where you were. Belated Happy Birthday BTW.

  6. Oh my they grow so fast and your boy is a teenager. Hells spells! Still what a great idea for a surprise for him – airshows are fantastic when the weather works too. And the shirt. Love the shirt. Love the idea of the copier too …. will put that little tip in my back pocket for the future.

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