Something for the Boys!

What could be more fun and frugal than spending less than $10 to make shirts for my three favorite boys?!  That is just what I did this week with three t-shirts from Goodwill, thread, and the Candy Castle Patterns Soda Pop Polo Shirt pattern.  I joined the Sew-Along, but missed the deadline trying to get three shirts done, during History Fair Week, while doing an unrelated pattern test.  I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew!  But in the end, I am pretty happy with the result and I certainly learned a lot.

This project was my first time:
  1. Sewing with knit fabric
  2. Sewing with a double needle
  3. Using my new serger
  4. Using this particular pattern
  5. Making a collar
  6. Using a stretch stitch
Since I was upcycling old t-shirts, I was limited in the amount of fabric I had available.  The boys wanted hoods, but I didn't have enough fabric for those.  I thought true collars would have looked better (and hidden errors better), but the boys nixed that idea, so we settled on the henley style.   The pattern certainly gives the option to use a contrast fabric for the hood/collars/insets/etc, including a woven instead of knit.  Several times I went to local fabric shops to see if they had anything I liked, but in the end, I decided to make the shirts completely from the original t-shirts.  This also saved on my cost, and since this was my first time sewing knits and my first time using the pattern, this was a particular plus.  I think the shirts cost a buck or two each at Goodwill in the men's t-shirt section.

My two younger boys wear about the same size, and I made size 5 for both of them with a longer length for the older one.  I made a size 9 for my oldest son.

My Star Wars guy was excited to find this shirt at Goodwill because his dad has the same T-shirt.  He asked for a chest pocket and seems really excited about his shirt.


For my little Spiderman, I added a web-like box at the bottom of the placket and a mini pocket on each sleeve using the smallest pocket pattern piece.  I had the worst time for some reason with the button holes on his shirt.  I think some thread got stuck in the bobbin area of my machine.  After I cleaned it out, it worked better, but the third buttonhole had already been ruined by that point, so I added a small piece of the web-print fabric to cover the error.


My little Superman was pretty particular and insisted I not put buttons on his shirt.  He wanted a zipper, but it was a bit late for that by the time I found out.  He said snaps might be okay, but I don't have a press, so we will see.  For now he claims he will wear another shirt under it!

Overall, the pattern went together well.  My biggest problem was with the collars.  I did end up cutting collars a size larger for the size 5 shirts (I used a size 6Y collar) and had trouble stretching it to fit without getting a tiny pucker in the main shirt fabric as I sewed it on.  In the end, I got it okay, but it took a few tries.  I was able to save the original hem for the sleeves and I did my own hem with a double needle for the three shirts.  I also had a bit of difficultly with placement of the buttonholes, as the bottom of the placket was too thick to fit under my machine, so I could not get a button any lower than the ones I did.

The boys were all excited to get their first non-costume garment made by mom and wore them the rest of the day as soon as I finished.  I am pleased enough with the results, particularly because of all the new experiences I gained, but they are not pieces I would want in a portfolio or anything.  I need to work on straighter stretch stitches around the neckline (I did learn that I need to increase me stitch length for better results).  I also confess to not taking the time toward the end to do things as well as I could have.  I was pretty eager to be done with all three shirts by the time I was getting to the end!  I am confident that the next time I use knits and the next time I use this pattern I will have much better results with the experience I gained using this pattern (for three shirts) and I am glad my three little men are so excited about their new super-shirts.


  1. WOW, I super duper love these!!! You should be so proud - I know I am proud of you :)

  2. They are so nice! Great Job! Love the picture!

  3. Good idea to upcycle men's shirts! I've done that a few times myself. Nicely sewn too!


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