In past seasons of Boys Can Wear Pink, I’ve gotten inspiration from The Great Gatsby, Point Break, and a German Valentine. This year, my inspiration is Tim Gunn and his well-documented love of plaid and strategic pops of color.
Season 4 of Boys Can Wear Pink feels a little bittersweet here. In the last week and a half James decided that he definitely, definitely doesn’t like pink. In the ever-changing list of favorite colors, pink doesn’t register anywhere near the top. For these past 4 years, what this series has really solidified for me is the imperative that I listen to the kid and let him develop and express his own style. He’s 4 now, so it’s been a lifelong journey between us. I’m grateful that he can and does communicate his preferences, and that he trusts me to listen. That said, in full transparency I bribed him for these pictures with a promise of newly made Captain America pajamas, and we gifted the shirt to his cousin once I was sure that the pictures turned out OK. He did request the exact same shirt, but in green (that’s still a win, right?).
Initially, I had grand ambitions to make another suit a la Season 1, but I had a hard time sourcing a neutral windowpane suiting that I liked that was an appropriate homage to Mr. Gunn. And those ambitions further deflated with James’s recent anti-pink sentiments. I knew he definitely needed a new button-down shirt appropriate for class pictures and church, so I focused on that. I found the perfect windowpane plaid in hot pink on white shirting at FashionFabricsClub and I opted to make the Birch Button-Up by Sew a Little Seam. I had tested once for Kelly at SALS about a year and a half ago and was impressed with her patterns. I wanted a straightforward fit and completely clean finish, and decided to give the Birch a shot, and I am SO glad I did!
For James, I sewed up a straight size 4 with no grading or modifications. It’s a relaxed fit shirt, and he’s a skinny kid, but the shoulders, sleeve length, and hem were all perfect for his frame. I finished the yoke and shoulders with top-stitched French seams, and otherwise finished the pattern according to the instructions. It’s been a while since I did “proper” sewing with completely finished interior seams and buttonholes, so here’s a few tips that helped me along.
- For the cuffs and collar stand where you fold under one hem and top-stitch from the other side- these finishes can be tricky. Keeping all the layers perfectly aligned with pins is a real challenge. Instead, I secure that folded-under edge to the other layers with 1/4″ fusible hem tape. It’s temporary so you still have to do the top-stitching, but it’s much easier to keep those stitches straight and even
- This Birch has 10 buttons and buttonholes! Sleeve tabs, cuffs, collar stand, and front placket. I use a small chisel to pop open the buttonholes so that they are perfectly clean. Additionally, I didn’t need to use this trick for this shirt, but when you’re doing buttonholes on thin or slippery fabric, put a layer of tear-away embroidery stabilizer between your fabric and feed dogs and that will keep your fabric nice and stable as you make the buttonholes.
So, this may be our farewell stop in the BCWP series- I hope it isn’t, but we’re OK if it is. I mostly hope that James will continue to be adventurous and authentic as he develops his personal style. And I really, really hope he will always let me sew for him, even if it’s just Captain America pajamas bribery.