He’s a (Trapper) Keeper

A Bird Shirt has landed!


Professor Boyfriend and I use the phrase “bird shirt” (inspired by New Girl’s Winston Bishop) to describe any wonderfully patterned button-up shirt, not necessarily with a bird print, usually worn by a male-indentifying person. Think the shirts made by Wanderstitch and Emma’s Atelier, for and sometimes with their partners! Our fabric store ritual is to walk around, I point at a fun patterned fabric and Prof. BF tells me why he doesn’t like it. But not this time!

Me: Would you wear this?

Him: Yes. I’ll get that.

Me: …what?!

Him: Yes. How many yards?  

This project jumped the queue because I was so excited. Also because I’m avoiding my first winter coat project (I’m scared!) and sewing the Fairfield shirt in a highly cooperative cotton, no less, is a comfort sew, and because I found a new collar stand technique I really wanted to try (more on that later!).


I’ve sewn this pattern for Professor Boyfriend 12 times in the last three years so at this point I’m just tweaking. I don’t have any technical fitting knowledge re: men’s shirts but he feels comfortable and I think he looks v. v. handsome so we’re happy! I flat-fell everything, though this time I decided to flat-fell the side seams opposite to the directions (so I have two lines of stitching visible inside the garment, one outside, instead of the reverse). I made this minor change because I haven’t been totally happy with the appearance of my bottom thread while sewing lately. A needle tension issue, maybe? But sewing with quilting cotton is so stable and soothing.

This is one of Ruby Star Society’s first releases. It is niiice. I think Ruby Star’s designers used to work a lot with Cotton & Steel, but I get the impression Cotton & Steel was up to some funny business about royalties and licensing fees. Anyway, new brand, same great taste! This fabric is sold with the quilting cottons but it’s edging towards being a lawn, in my opinion. Apparently, that luxurious cotton feel + flashbacks of nineties school supplies is the winning formula for Professor Boyfriend.


I didn’t pattern match (ya think?) but I only got one double-noodle, on the pocket. On this draft, the pocket is raised 1.5” from the Fairfield pattern markings. Professor Boyfriend requests another half inch or so next time.

I did fussy cut the plackets! When was this shirt made?


And how do we feel about it?


Yay, fun selvages! Further yay, most accommodating fabric! It presses so crisply. This straightforward fabric was a great opportunity to try a new-to-me collar stand technique.

Remember when everyone was sewing the Archer and following those effective but fiddly directions, and then the Four Square Walls method blasted onto the scene? I was never really happy with my collar stands either way, especially compared to RTW – which is silly, because those are sewn by professionals whose experience dwarfs mine. It continues to be important to remember that, but listen, sinners! I have found A BETTER WAY.  

Actually, Mainely Menswear found it. I followed his link. It’s all in this video! There’s no spoken explanations, but it’s truly masterful sewing.

However, I prefer reading directions to watching or listening. Since I plan on using this technique forever now, I’ve made some diagrams I can follow in the future (focused on the stand, not the collar – here’s some collar techniques from Closet Case). All seam allowances should be ¼”. The interfaced side of the collar will show when the shirt is worn; the interfaced collar stand will be on the inside, touching the neck. If you try following these, please let me know how it goes!

1. Interface, stitch, turn, press, and topstitch collar using your preferred methods. Baste the raw edges within the seam allowance. Set aside.


2. Reshape the ends of the collar stand pattern piece as shown and cut x2 fabric. Cut x1 interfacing, and remove the seam allowance from the short ends and neckline edge.


3. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one collar stand. Press up the neckline seam allowance to the wrong side, along the edge of the interfacing. If your fabric is shifty or slippery, you may want to baste this in place.  


4. Place the interfaced collar stand right side up, then the collar, interfaced side down. Sew or pin together. Place second collar stand piece, right side down, and sew together, pivoting with your needle down at the collar stand corners.   


5. Fold or press the seam allowances along the stitch line, just in the collar stand corners. Hold the seam allowances and one side of the collar stand between your finger and thumb. Flip the other collar stand piece right side out, over the seam allowances. Repeat for the other end. This should create neat, symmetrical collar stand ends.


6. Mark the seamline on the inside of the uninterfaced collar stand by running a fine marking tool along the folded neckline edge of the interfaced collar stand.


7. Pin the uninterfaced collar stand right sides together with the body of the shirt (front plackets and shoulder seams completed). Line up the edges of the collar stand with the edges of the front plackets, and sew or pin the ends in place. Then pin the rest of the uninterfaced collar stand to the neckline edge, and sew in two steps, from the center out. Hold the interfaced collar stand out of the way, and sew directly on your marked line.   

8. Turn your completed collar and collar stand right side out, tucking seam allowances inside. Remove basting stitches, if necessary. Pin the folded edge of the interfaced collar stand directly over the seamline between the collar stand and shirt body. Topstitch all the way around, with the interfaced collar stand (inner collar) up.  


Done! This was, by far, the intersection of the neatest collar stand and the simplest collar stand technique I’ve ever sewn! And the result:


It’s a straightforward low-bulk finish and the stitching is seriously so easy to get right on both the inner and outer collar stand simultaneously. Everything just lined up! This is it for me for collar stands. You can tell I’m sincere since I retraced my pattern pieces onto cereal box cardboard, and that’s the good stuff! This whole shirt is good stuff, I think!


And this guy’s not bad stuff, either! See you next time!

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Ruby Star Society Anagram cotton, $30.00, Gather Here; buttons, $6.00, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $36.00

11 thoughts on “He’s a (Trapper) Keeper

  1. Wow, that shirt is awesome! Any my jaw was hanging open most of the time watching that video. Now I want to make a shirt! Or at least a collar. 🙂


    1. Me too, it got me so fired up!! Can you imagine moving so quickly and confidently with no pins and like half your pieces not even cut?!


  2. Wow wow wow so much good stuff going on here, I don’t know where to start. First – thank you for the detailed collar stand run down. I cannot wait to try that. Second – I love the selvage placket details, SO FUN. Third, that fabric!! I made a shirt from quilting cotton for my husband once, but it’s such a thick weave that it’s really warm, so it doesn’t come out all that often. I assume that’s not the case with this fabric? Fourth, what is up with the pocket placement on this pattern?? I also had to raise it at least an inch and a half. Did they draft this shirt for somebody 6’2″? 😂

    Anyway, bravo!!! I’m feeling inspired to bust this pattern back out.


    1. Thank you so much!! I remember the lovely lineny one you made your partner, it was beautiful. I’m sure he’d appreciate another! And yes to that pocket thing – I love Thread Theory but the original pocket is placed to gently cup a nipple!!

      This fabric isn’t too warm. It wrinkles, obviously, but it’s finer and drapier than other quilting cottons I’ve used. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun and easy fabric to sew and wear!

      Yay, I hope the rundown is useful! I was AWED by the video but also knew I didn’t have the confidence to go without pins or prepped collar pieces. So my take is definitely adjusted slightly for my limits. 🙂 Thanks again!


  3. Wow! This shirt is a work of art 😍 I’ve been eyeing up this range of fabrics and wondered about them for menswear.

    That collarstand is so sexy! As a lover of button-up shirts I’m always looking for new methods. Definitely using this next time!


    1. Thanks so much!! Let me know how it goes – I’m itching to sew another one. Ruby Star has some excellent choices and it was fun to sew, I highly recommend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I am late to the party, but WOW!!! What everybody else said and… WOW!
    I’m still processing.
    The mystery man was amazing. Breaking down preconceptions and stereotypes with those magical man-hands. (There’s a story there, as they say!) If he can do it I can!
    I’m off to crack open the Kalle…

    P.S. I’m “following” but never get your posts. ???
    P.P.S. So many ‘excited marks’ but I’m so excited!!! (Thanks!)


    1. Yesss, best of luck with your Kalle! The magic man will guide you to victory! 😀
      Weird about the posts – I’ll ask Dr. Google, see if I can figure out what’s wrong. I’m glad you found and like the video though! I’m seriously in awe of it.


      1. Your post magically clicked on when I commented and checked the subscribe box. (It’s the “follow” that didn’t work.)
        I’m thinking of using Heather Givens (sp?) library card fabric for a classic Kalle. But then again I just washed some Kaufman chambray flannel that would be lovely long sleeved. Darmn.
        Decisions, decisions…
        And thank you for blogging. I can use all the useful information I can get!


  5. I just looked up the library card fabric and it’s super cute! But if I were you I’d give into my long-sleeve mood (Northern Hemisphere, grey skies, all the cozy shirts please!).

    Liked by 1 person

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