Men’s Button-Down Shirt Sewing Project

We leave tomorrow morning for a Hawaiian getaway, and I’ve been busily working on a few sewing projects. I had lofty goals when I started just a week ago, but I slowly came back to reality as each day nudged me closer to our departure.

The photo above shows my handiwork … albeit not yet ironed. The brown shirt is the one I wished to replicate. Using Kwik Sew men’s pattern 3422, I came very close in my knock-off taupe shirt.

I love a short sleeve button-down – it’s really my summer must-have. My favorite shirt is one that I purchased from Banana Republic years ago, and it’s getting close to retirement. Instead of buying another one for a hefty amount, I decided to put my sewing skills to work!

I shopped for a similar fabric and was surprised to find the exact same material, 98% cotton / 2% spandex. The spandex doesn’t make it stretchy, but it gives the fabric a rugged firmness that I like. Fortunately, the fabric was on clearance for a mere $2.99 per meter! (so, only $7.50 of fabric) I also bought fabric in another color to make Joe a shirt at the same time (slate blue with dark blue buttons).

The pattern is easy to work with and the instructions quite clear. I first made this shirt pattern a few months ago, so this 2nd time went much more quickly. And, I made a few modifications from the pattern this time:

  • Moved pocket higher; pattern places it very low it seemed
  • Added a 2nd pocket; wanted to make a flap but opted not to for sake of time
  • Reduced size of armhole which seemed rather large
  • Constructed collar with collar stand; pattern calls for a one-piece collar
  • Added more reinforcement topstitching around yoke, sides, etc.

The collar is the trickiest part in my opinion, and it turned out perfectly (not so good on my first attempt earlier this year):

In a future version, I will adjust the shape of the collar as this one errs on the 1970s side. I would only need to adjust the point to make it less sever and a bit more stubby.

I decided to make the buttons ‘pop’ by using red ($5 in buttons). The buttons are quite cool, a matte finish with a slight texture.

After I finished these two shirts, I started making t-shirts. A whole new saga that I’ll save for a post-vacation post!

Here is the version in a light slate blue:

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  1. Did you know Tim Conway loved to sew, and sewed many outfits for his children and wife, and often his own costumes when he was on the Carol Burnett programme?
    You’re in good company.

  2. I love Tim Conway, but I didn’t know that little tidbit! I’m surprised just how much I enjoy sewing. I first sewed when I was 7 or 8 for a 4-H competition and made a blue velour shirt (god bless the 70s!). It’s in the past few years that I’ve taken up sewing and am wondering why I didn’t do it sooner ;-)

  3. I appear to have run into a similar problem with a Banana Republic short-sleeved shirt. I haven’t sewn in years and BR seems to have retired the style and colour I used to buy. Where did you find the fabric?

  4. I found the fabric at Dressew, an outlet fabric shop in Vancouver BC. It may be hard to find an exact match but try to find a fabric of a similar content/quality. If you shop online, Mood (well-known fabric store featured on Project Runway) now sells online and carries a wide range of quality fabrics:

    Best of luck!


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