Simplicity 5047: Anna Sui herringbone chambray man-shirt

I’d originally intended to sew this shirt up as an Archer. I even purchased the pattern (the PDF version because that’s all there was TWO weeks ago). The problem is that we don’t have a printer at home. Like a land-line phone, it’s one of those things we haven’t really felt an urgency to purchase since setting up from scratch over here.

Hubby was going to get it printed for me, but then he balked at the 60 pages and promptly left for a week long business trip. Honestly, it wasn’t me! I had my gloriously soft Anna Sui chambray on standby and it was giving me the eye so I was forced to come up with some alternate arrangements.

Introducing Simplicity 5047, a vintage men’s shirt pattern that I picked up for a 25c steal at a recent garage sale. The pattern is for a 36″ chest. My bust measurement is 35″, but without much bust to speak of. I also have quite broad shoulders, so my logic told me that perhaps a small men’s shirt pattern would be more likely to fit, where other’s have failed before.

Anna Sui button up and my leather circle skirt

I was right! I am so happy with the fit. The shoulders are wide enough. No broad back adjustment was necessary. I wasn’t aiming for a slim fit, but I didn’t want it to be too boxy or roomy through the torso either. It feels just right. I didn’t have to add fish eye darts in the back like I thought I would. The arm length works, but next time I will lengthen them a smidgen. I figured the arms would be longer than usual to cater for long, man arms. As it turns out, my alien arms are a little longer than that of mankind. The only change I made to the pattern was to flick one side of the cuff placket around so that I could have French cuffs instead of regular.


I like the look of chambray paired with my leather circle skirt. But when I was looking at the photos, I realised for the first time that a little peep had been drawing on my leg. Leg is clearly a far more creative medium than paper. I like that she matched my skirt though.

The best thing about this pattern is the collar. In fact, if I’m perfectly honest, it was the collar that swayed me more towards getting started on the vintage pattern instead of waiting for my Archer. But unfortunately it is another one of those all in one collar band and collars. It works well enough, but I just feel that it isn’t the proper way of doing things.The neck width feels great though. I love it done up to the top button. But it also works well undone and paired with my favourite maxi skirt.

I love the fit of this shirt, but there are a few construction details that I will change next time I sew this pattern. There is no proper front button placket. It’s more of a self-facing that is folded inwards, but not stitched down. Next time I will add a proper front placket as well as a collar band for a more professional finish. I will also shave a bit off the sleeve cap. There was a ridiculous amount of unnecessary ease in those sleeve caps.

It’s so nice to sew a shirt that fits well right off the bat. I’ve always had trouble finding RTW shirts that fit, due to my long arms and broad shoulders (comparatively speaking to other females). Perhaps I should have been looking in the menswear section instead!


18 thoughts on “Simplicity 5047: Anna Sui herringbone chambray man-shirt

  1. Jenny

    Pretty much 100% in agreement with everything you said about the pattern! The first thing that caught my eye was the collar- for a vintage pattern it looks surprisingly modern & you wear it so well. Love both of the ways you've styled it, but with the maxi skirt… perfection!


  2. lisa g.

    so brilliant! love this. i've always had trouble with RTW long sleeve shirts… always too short! since this one fits so well, i bet you could work out converting the collar to a two piece, and a front placket would be an easy addition. although, i've noticed that dressier men's shirts have the fold over placket like you've done here. anyways, i love this shirt with your skirts!


  3. Robyn

    It just shows that sometimes thinking outside the box can give the best results. Your shirt looks great and I'm looking forward to seeing all your tweaks and variations.


  4. sallie oleta barbee

    Lovely! Really, that pointy collar is where it's at! How fun! And I love that you were able to get a good fit from this pattern – sounds like a great starting point to make your changes for your ideal shirt! FYI Peter from Male Pattern Boldness did a great post a while back on how to draft your own collar stand and traditional collar. You're such a pro with pattern drafting, so you might already have something up your (stylish) sleeve, but I thought I'd share! And I really love this paired with that gorgeous carmel leather skirt. Seriously autumnal! But the icing on the cake has got to be the leg art… you should consider getting it tattooed 😉


  5. Sara

    Wonderful! The collar looks amazingly modern! Maybe I should try a men's shirt. I have broad shoulders too and that is the area that I always need to fiddle around with the most in patterns.


  6. Fabric Tragic

    This is such a wonderful shirt on you, and I love it with the leather skirt. I'm so loving tan leather at the moment and with the chambray it's perfect. So chic (and I love your bebe body art!).



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