Fairfield Button-up

HelenHelen's Makes, Menswear75 Comments

Fairfield Button-up for Sam

One of my goals for 2018 is to make some more clothes for my partner, Sam. There is an Instagram hashtag, #menswearmakenine, where I have pledged to try to accomplish 9 things for him this year. To be honest, I am feeling pretty apprehensive about it! I have become so accustomed to fitting my own body that the idea of fitting another person is daunting. I do believe that getting out of your sewing comfort zone is important, so I am going for it! As Heather said so brilliantly on the podcast this week, ‘just do the damn thing’.

Fairfield Button-up

For Sam’s first garment, I decided to tackle a button-up shirt. Yepp, I am coming out swinging on this one! T-shirt first? No thank you! One of the reasons I felt confident going with the button-up shirt first is that the Thread Theory Fairfield button-up comes with sizing for 2 different figures and goes up to a 4X. Sam is tall, broad-chested, and carries weight in his tummy area, so I was glad to know that the pattern was drafted to accommodate his shape and size.

Fairfield Button-upFairfield Button-up

I made three muslins to get the fit right and ended up doing a broad back adjustment, a full bicep adjustment, expanding the neck, and grading in at the hips. I also let the sleeves out at the wrist to make it easy for Sam to roll up his sleeves, which he almost always does.

Fairfield Button-up Fairfield Button-up

I have resisted making muslins in the past because I just want to get to the sewing part! In reality, it is all part of the process and I am beginning to embrace fitting and test versions more and more. I really enjoyed this project and it is so nice to see Sam in a shirt that fits him that I made! Sam picked this gorgeous cotton/linen blend from a local store, Spool of Thread. It is prone to wrinkles, but it breathes so well and is a great pink colour that I have not seen him wear much to date. Because of the linen, it has a more casual vibe than a typical crisp shirt. I plan to make him one of those, too!

Fairfield Button-up

The most challenging part of button-up shirts (for me) is always the sleeve plackets. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it and this time, and I put a bar tack on the placket to keep it strong when Sam is rolling up the sleeves.

Fairfield Button-up Fairfield Button-up Fairfield Button-up

I did make a little mistake on this project, flipping the back pleat the wrong way around. At least, it was the opposite of the pattern instructions. Is there a right way for a men’s shirt?

Fairfield Button-up

For the buttons, Sam said he wanted a ‘brown’, which I tried to accommodate with these duo-toned buttons. They are also a little bit larger than traditional shirt buttons, but I like that they suit his frame.  They have a subtle texture that matches well with the variation in the fabric.

Fairfield Button-up Fairfield Button-up

The Fairfield button-up is a fantastic pattern. It has two fit options (slim or rounded) and it even has free collar options! I enjoyed making it and will make it again. 

The fit on Sam’s shirt is still not perfect, so I am planning to make a couple of tweaks next time. If you have any insight from looking at these pics, please let me know. I am a menswear newbie! Here is my favourite picture of Sam, laughing uproariously as he tends to do…a lot :D

Fairfield Button-up

If you want to hear from Sam himself you can get to know him on our very special episode of Love to Sew! This has become a favourite episode of the show because the boys are so funny and we had a blast recording it.



About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

75 Comments on “Fairfield Button-up for Sam”

  1. It turned out so great! Great fit, great fabric… love those red buttonholes. The good thing about sewing for men is once you nail the fit, you can make the same shirt over and over again in different fabrics for a totally different look. I’ve made my Tim the same shirt 9 times, but you would never realize it was the same pattern.

  2. This shirt is so lovely! You did a fabulous job – lucky man! I’m curious about the process of making a muslin, did you use a similar fabric just cheaper quality? I always hear tell of “Muslim/toile” but like you just want to get to the good stuff, but it looks like it really paid off for you on this project.

    1. Hi Kristina! I used unbleached cotton that one would typically expect for a ‘muslin’. I sometimes use old sheets or for drapier fabrics, cheap polyester. I find that using the basic muslin takes any ‘wearable muslin’ pressure off, and you can just quickly baste and experiment and chop it up without worry :)

  3. Love this! I’m glad to see a great shirt for & on a big man. My son is 6″6′ and finds it difficult to find shirts that fit he wears a 2-3xlt. I’ve been wanting to make him a few shirts but most seem to be drafted for small guys. Good to know this pattern co has his size! I hope you’ll be making more shirts for your sweetie he looks great in this shirt

    1. Yes! It is so hard for Sam to find shirts. He is 6’4 and his chest measures 52″! I was so happy that this TT pattern fit him so well :)

  4. I love it! I’m so excited that Thread Theory is expanding their size range on more patterns this year, because their 4x is actually spot on with my husbands measurements! (Can we also take a moment to appreciate the joy of snuggling up in bed with a partner with big shoulders? So cosy on a cold winter night!) Tell Sam he has great taste in fabric!

  5. Ditto what Gillian said about the fabric. I think the shirt is amazing! The best part of the Sam and Shea episode was Sam’s laugh. I would totally buy that as a ringtone.

  6. I love it! Great job!! The fabric choice is stellar. I am so impressed that you made three muslins. I have made my husband 4-5 shirts but never a muslin. The fit luckily is good enough. I used McCall’s 6044 mostly because it includes his size, which is not commonly available in indie patterns. I promised to make my husband the Jutland pants and underwear this year so we’ll see how those go…

    1. ooo, I will be trying the Jedidiah pants for Sam at some point and I am scared! I hope they work out for him. I figure the fit has got to be more forgiving than women’s pants, at least!

  7. Nice work! Great color for him. Isn’t sewing for your guy fun? I try to find the most obnoxiously bright floral for my sweetie’s Hawaiian shirts. He loves them.
    The fit is really good. On my shirts, I get the slight wrinkles pointing towards my shoulders. A slight straight shoulder adjustment usually fixes it.

    1. It was really fun! I love that I get to see him wear it so often because he has so little clothing that he likes, so it is in heavy rotation now! I didnt even notice those slight drag lines until you pointed them out and I think you nailed it! Thank you! I will try the straight shoulder next time :)

  8. I’m impressed! I want to learn to make a button down shirt. I bought a class from Jenny Rushmore. I need to JUST DO IT! I think I’m almost ready. Sam is blessed to have you in his life. Happy Sewing!

  9. Isn’t sewing for your partner something else? I love sewing for my husband, but I feel a completely different level of pressure. It isn’t that he won’t wear what I make him, or he won’t like it, because I know that he will. It’s that he becomes a walking billboard for my skill set and then I wonder what others will think. But the truth is no one else EVER sees the mistakes, large or small as they might be. So I’m also doing #menswearmakenine and trying to enjoy the process and also the end result of making my Ryan something I know he will wear proudly.

    1. It is so true! I’m used to wearing my garments when showing them off, but now, Sam is off showing them off without me! I don’t think anyone would ever guess it was handmade, but I still wonder if people will notice the little mistakes :P Good luck with your menswearmakenine! I look forward to seeing your makes :)

  10. I also made my husband the Fairfield, well, sort of… The muslin took up a lot of my autumn sewing time and I used it to practice making a collar and the buttonplacket as well as fit, though it fits him pretty much out of the packet. And since then I decided to indulge in some selfish sewing before I tackle the real deal…
    Did you see they also have a sleeve expansion? Summer-sewing: no tower plackets!

  11. Wow you’re doing a menswear make nine?! How fantastic! I’ll look forward to seeing more of what you make for Sam. This a huge success right of the bat! Love the fit, fabric choice and it is beautifully sewn

    1. Thank you! I am pleased with it and Sam really likes it. I hope to make a couple more shirts and also try pants and knit garments for him. We shall see! :D

  12. Sam you look great in this shirt! Helen I think the fit is great and your fitting persistence has paid off!

  13. That shirt looks great on Sam! I’m currently one muslin into this pattern myself. My husband wants a looser fitting flannel, so we’ll see if I can make that happen. I also feel nervous sewing and fitting someone other than myself, so I hear what you are saying on that. This really looks great, though. Way to go!!

    1. It is so strange to fit another person’s body, isnt it? I ask things like ‘how does that feel’? and it is hard to interpret the reply sometimes. I think it worked out! Just go for it and he will probably wear it ALL THE TIME! :D

      1. That is exactly what I kept thinking as I was reading this post – how infectious and happy smiles you *both* have! Great job on the shirt, it looks wonderful. The only time I’ve sewn a men’s shirt was pre-Thread Theory, using a Burdastyle pattern with tons of ease. I do have the Fairfield pattern, and planning on giving it a whirl. The fit looks really nice from the finished shirts I have seen.

  14. I love this shirt for Sam. I’ve also bought the Fairfield shirt as my husband has very broad shoulders and he also carries weight in his tummy. I’ve never made a shirt before though so think I’ll start off with a shirt for me as I’m not as fussed with minor mistakes but if it’s for my husband I know I’ll want it perfect.

    1. I can understand that desire – I wanted Sam’s to be perfect too! Funny because I dont think he would notice wobbly topstitching or wonky buttons, but it’s the thought that counts! The Archer is a great button-up for women :)

  15. Such a great shirt! I’ve used a BurdaStyle pattern for short sleeved shorts for my husband earlier and are thinking of making a long sleeved one. I’ve used other Thread Theory patterns and liked them so I might try this pattern. I also have problems with the plackets, and getting the collar nice looking, but I guess practise makes perfect :)

  16. What a gorgeous shirt! I love the colour, and Sam looks so comfortable and happy in it! I wish my partner wore more shirts, as you’ve made me want to make him an equally (hopefully) snazzy one :)

  17. Great job, Helen! The plackets look awesome! Sam also looks so good in that color. Can’t wait to see the other things you make for him! I want to make my partner some shirts as he can never find RTW shirts in the proportions/lengths he likes.

  18. Love it. the fit looks great to me. I have been thinking about making this Pattern as well but wasn’t sure of the fit. I think your person is built similar to my person though so maybe it will work

  19. Helen this shirt came out great! I am so impressed. I totally get feeling intimidated about sewing for others. Way to just jump into 2018 with two feet! Go you!

  20. This is gorgeous! Of course, the important question must be: is it made from canvas, or stuffed animal fabric?!
    (When I’m sewing something in terry I mutter ‘stuffed animal fabric’ to myself and laugh, now!)

  21. Looks great! I didn’t know that this pattern was drafted for two shapes – I am definitely giving it a second look for my partner since his build is similar to Sam’s. I love that he picked a color outside his comfort zone – it looks good on him.

  22. I totally love how this came out! The fabric though is gorgeous! I also have the Fairfield lined up for huzzy this year too. Planning on matching chambray shirts LOL.

  23. I just made my husband his first handmade garment, as well! I haven’t committed to the Menswear Make Nine, but I do plan to make him a couple more things. He is picky, so I found it very daunting, too!!

  24. What a great shirt success! My man would not wear that colour but I’m starting to sew for him again. So this is inspiring! I recently took a class for men’s bamboo briefs here in Victoria BC at the Makehouse. They are awesome. And he loves them too. So glad I recently found your blog. Many thanks. #stitchedsimply

  25. What a great shirt! It’s nice to read more menswear pattern reviews, especially for tall guys. Can’t wait to see the other garments you’ll make for Sam!

  26. Love this shirt! Sam looks great in it and the colour is a stellar choice for him.
    My man is a bear of a guy too, so I’m glad to hear about the fit options on this pattern.

  27. This looks great, Helen! I am making one for my boyfriend as well. I love how versatile the pattern is to accommodate so many different shapes/sizes. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog :)

  28. This shirt looks great! I have been thinking about making my husband a button-down shirt, so I’ll definitely check out this pattern. It’s definitely a very different experience, sewing for someone else! My husband can be very particular, too… a few months ago I made him a pair of what I thought would be very simple pajamas… until he asked for pockets and a drawstring! But I enjoyed the challenge and got to break out my buttonhole foot for the first time!!

    1. Nice! It is such a different experience sewing for others, isnt it? I am learning patience and how to interpret feelings about fit that are pretty vague sometimes! lol

  29. The fit looks great and the color and fabric are amaaaazing. Your man is seriously cute. My one “maybe” tweak would be to scale up the pocket slightly, but also possibly no? (So helpful!) I could be talking through my hat. I also found the high-curved armscye of the Fairfield difficult to flat-fell nicely, so potentially you could lower the curve, which I think would have the same effect as a wide bicep adjustment on the width of the upper sleeve, plus a smoother sewing experience. I struggled with it until I redrafted the sleeve head, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with your stitching there that the human eye can see.

    1. Thank you! It’s so funny that you mention the armscye because I totally didn’t flatfell the seam there! Mostly due to lazyness, lol! Good tip about the pocket. I thought it was actually pretty well sized for his frame, but that makes me wonder if it would look comically large on the XS small size? Pockets are weird :S Thanks for your input! Much appreciated!

  30. The shirt looks fantastic! I am looking for a good t-shirt, long sleeve pattern, for my husband and thought to try the Strathcona but it is an athletic fit and the hubby likes his shirts looser for working (carpentry). Any suggestions on patterns? He typically wears a RTW XL, fairly broad shoulders but really needs the XL for his chest depth. Men’s patterns are hard to find!

  31. That looks so good! All men look awesome if the shirt fits right. So glad I found your Fairfield…

    As my Mum would say, the back pleat is a ‘design choice’ not a ‘mistake’.
    I bet some designer somewhere has it like that, lol.

    Go you; I have trouble finding time for one thing, let alone NINE…

  32. The shirt looks so great! I’m needing to make similar adjustments for my husband’s Fairfield. Do you have suggestions on where I can find a good tutorial for a broad back adjustment (especially for a pattern like this one with a back yoke)? Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *