The pattern I chose is Simplicity 1544 - a button front shirt with various options for pockets, shoulder tabs and yokes. The collar band, cuff and inside yoke are intended to be cut from a contrast fabric "for a fresh modern approach",
We instantly ignored the contrast fabric options, as well as the studded front yoke option, and the shoulder tabs. My Dad chose the pockets from view D (patch pockets with a buttoned top flap).
You've probably noticed the main difference between the pattern and the version I made is the sleeves - namely that the pattern comes with long sleeves only, and I made short sleeves. This is obviously an easy adjustment to make, and I simply measured the length sleeves on one of my Dad's short-sleeved shirts, added a bit extra for the hem, and then cut my traced pattern piece at that level.
The fabric I used is a pink Oxford stripe shirting from Fabworks. It's a really lovely quality cotton (especially for £4 per metre!), was great to work with and, I'm told, is lovely and soft to wear. Which is good news for me because I over-ordered so I think there may be just about enough left to squeeze out a top of some kind for me. Yay!
The buttons were a stroke of genius on my part (well, maybe not genius, but I was quite pleased with myself when I thought of the idea) because I harvested them from one of my Dad's old shirts. I tend to commandeer shirts that are a bit worn around the cuffs/collar to use the main fabric for linings, so there was one sitting here ready and waiting to have its buttons removed. More sustainable and I didn't have to wait till I could get to a shop to buy some. Everyone wins!
I've made shirts and shirtdresses for myself before, so I'm familiar with all the processes in making a collar, button plackets, etc. but they're still things that for some reason I imagine to be more complicated than they are. Does anyone else do that, or am I just weird?! I think making this shirt will have helped me get over that a bit though, because everything just seemed more straightforward. Admittedly, I did make things slightly easier for myself this time due to the fact that long sleeves and cuffs were eliminated, so maybe that helped.
The collar and collar stand is the area that I've struggled with most on other shirts, but this combination went together easily, and looked right first time without having to unpick and redo anything. Maybe the pattern is drafted particularly well, or maybe I've got better at inserting collars over time. Who knows.
In any case, the instructions were clear and easy to follow throughout. They're not overly hand-holdy, but they don't leaving you scratching your head wondering what on earth they're talking about either.
Shirts aren't necessarily the speediest of projects simply because of the number of pieces involved in creating a collar, button plackets etc. but there's definitely nothing to be afraid of as long as you've got a good pattern. I'm sure I'll be using Simplicity 1544 again in the future because I never usually know what to make for my Dad when it comes to present-giving times, but now I know this is a good option. And making things for people who appreciate the work that has gone into them is always nice, isn't it?