The Fine Art of Shirtmaking - How to Sew a Classic Shirt
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5113 South Blvd.
Charlotte NC 28217
(704) 525-9022
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The Fine Art of Shirtmaking - How to Sew a Classic Shirt

Note – The pictured shirt has no buttons. I took the shirt photos before the buttons were sewn on, so I could get the class posted. The shirt is on display in the classroom, with buttons!

My Shirtmaking Story - My first attempts at making shirts were very frustrating; I was never quite satisfied with the results. The shirts looked OK but not nearly as professional as I desired. I set about learning as much as I could about how both custom shirt makers and industrial shirtmakers make shirts. Then I came up with a few techniques of my own and even had an article published in THREADS magazine. It was quite an interesting journey. Besides making shirts for myself, for several years I made ‘bespoke’ dress shirts for my son-in-law and for my son, both of whom had fitting issues with ready-made shirts. Let me share with you many of the things I learned about the FINE ART of SHIRTMAKINGI know you know, but just to be clear, ‘bespoke’ just means ‘custom made’.

A classic dress shirt has the following elements: a one-piece back; a double yoke; two front sections that overlap; flat-felled seams; one-piece (long) sleeves with plackets and cuffs; a collar on a collar stand, and a rolled hem, sometimes a pocket and sometimes darts. Our class project shirt will incorporate most of the classic elements. Even if it is not actually sewn to the shirt, we will make a pocket in the class because pockets have their own unique challenges. We will learn two methods for making sleeve plackets. One is the traditional ‘bespoke’ method; the other is the common industrial method. Our class project will be made with flat felled seams using a surprisingly easy method, but we will also learn about French seams and serger-finished seams.

This is a 5-sessions class, about 3-4 hours each session. There will be homework as all of the sewing will not be done in class. I do require that everyone use the same pattern for the shirt. You can choose to make a Woman’s shirt or a Man’s shirt. More information about the pattern can be found in the Fine Art of Shirtmaking Class Information. Pre-work will include purchasing the pattern, fabric and supplies, prewashing and ironing the fabric, making a working copy of the pattern, making simple pattern alterations to the working copy if you know what alterations are needed, and pin-fitting the pattern. In the first class we will take a look at the pin-fitted pattern and finalize needed alterations. Necessary adjustments to some of the pattern seam allowances will be made. Then the pattern will be laid out on the fabric for cutting and labeling everything. In the second class we will begin sewing.  

Click here for the Fine Art of Shirtmaking Class Information.  It contains pattern information, fabric and supplies list, pre-work and a draft class syllabus.

Classes are small; limited to 6 people, so register early to ensure getting a seat!

Instructor: Susan Nelson

Questions about the class?  Contact Susan by phone or text at 704-674-4391 or by email at

I communicate via email.  Please be sure your email is correct when you register.  You might save my email to your contacts to ensure an email I send does not go to spam.

Susan has been sewing all her life making garments, quilts, slipcovers, home decor and more.  She has been embroidering by machine since the mid-1980s.  She is trained on Pfaff, Viking and BabyLock machines, is certified to teach Pfaff/Viking software, is a licensed Sulky teacher and has been published in THREADS magazine.

The Fine Art of Shirtmaking - How to Sew a Classic Shirt

$ 150.00
Tue, Sep 17, 2024 at 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
Tue, Sep 24, 2024 at 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Tue, Oct 1, 2024 at 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Tue, Oct 8, 2024 at 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
Tue, Oct 15, 2024 at 9:30 am to 1:00 pm
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5113 South Blvd
       Charlotte, NC 28217

Mo,Tu,Th, Fr: 10:00a.m.- 6:00p.m
Wed. & Sat: 10:00a.m. - 3:00p.m


Charlotte Sewing Center offers the largest selection of high quality Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking and Baby Lock sewing machines in the Mecklenburg County area. Our store is a friendly, community sewing destination where exceptional service continues after your purchase. We specialize in providing you with interactive machine training, reliable repair services, and fun, informative sewing classes to increase your sewing proficiency and enjoyment! Read More...