Brown twill Shacket

Last week I finished a custom order for a brown twill Shacket, for a 6'9" tall man. I flipped the facings so the wrong side faces out--it would almost look normal worn inside-out! I hadn't made a sample of this version of the Shacket, so wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I really like it!

Wirebrush shirt

The Wirebrush shirt really needs to be seen in person to appreciate its subtle design details. So, I'll try my best to bring you to it with this meager blog post.

The medium weight Italian cotton twill fabric is double-sided. The light grey outside looks slightly brushed due to its texture, and the inside is darker grey with a delicate peach-fuzz soft pile. I won't blame you if you decide to forego the undershirt and go straight shirt-on-skin.

Although the fabric is typical of a dress shirt, the styling is borrowed from old-time work shirts. The rounded-bottom pocket and sleeve plackets are reinforced with stitching in the shape of an X. The top-stitching is slightly contrasting in color to the grey twill fabric.
The shirt has a classic dress-shirt front band, and a standard-spread collar, but the collar stand is squared off at center front.
One of the first people to order a Wirebrush shirt got it in the mail and wrote with enthusiasm, "...I plan to wear the hell out of it!" Mission accomplished.

Special Order: Pencil Stub shirt

One of my good friends lives in Brooklyn, so we had a chance to hang out quite a bit during RCF. He is one of the only people in the world who will talk with me about the fashion details in a men's shirt for hours on end! He has a unique personal style, which I am often inspired by when designing. He really liked the original Pencil Shirt fabric, but had the idea that it would be a great addition to his wardrobe as a short-sleeved shirt.  He also is one of the few people alive today who really loves long shirt-tails, and always tucks his shirt in! The result was a simple short-sleeved shirt with one pocket. I have enough fabric to make one more, so let me know if you are interested!

Pencil Stub shirt

Exaggerated (by today's standards) shirt-tails

The five8ths logo inside the shirt, alongside my customer's initials

Folding the shirt-tails in preparation for mailing

Collarless Keyboard shirt

At the Renegade craft fair last month, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who said he had retired so didn't need to wear a shirt to work anymore, but he "just loves shirts".  His wife said he "needed a shirt like a hole in the head", but he was enamored with the Keyboard shirt, and raved about Ben's Wagon shirt and its banded collar.  He suggested the idea of ordering the Keyboard shirt with a banded collar, and so to visualize how this might look, I hid the collar inside the shirt and realized that his idea was actually a more striking design than the original!  I'm really happy with the results, and hope he enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Introducing: Colored Pencil Shirt

This fine cotton shirting fabric is composed of horizontal stripes in a kaleidoscope of colors up-close, but only a few feet away, the tawny base color dominates and creates a neutral tone, broken up by a horizontal, textured, faintly-green stripe.  High thread-count, 100% cotton shirting.  Available at Brooklyn Renegade craft fair in sizes 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46, in addition to custom-sized orders.

Minutiae and Momentousness

I have been in production mode for the past few weeks, getting ready for Renegade craft fair in Brooklyn next month.  This week I am finishing up five linen dress shirts (more info on those soon).  Production mode is quite different from design mode, in that I do each process involved in building a shirt five times in a row (make five collars, make ten sleeve plackets, etc.).  Today I concentrated on some of the benefits of repetition, such as the process of perfecting skills.  It's amazing to me that, with barely any conscious action, once I get to the fifth shirt, the results are not only better, but faster than the first shirt!  Repetition, such a huge part of our everyday lives, can also be comforting and confidence-building.  So, I was taking a meditative approach to the work all day.

Then, half-way through the day, my meditative reflection on repetition was interrupted by a reminder of the big picture of the work that I'm doing.  I received a package from another independent designer, Fischer, containing a shirt I'd ordered!  I savored the experience of opening the beautiful packaging and getting to know my new shirt!  A personal note and surprise gift were included as well, which made it even more special.  I know this piece of clothing will be in my life for a long time, and a regular part of my week.  While immersed in the construction details of each cut piece of fabric, I had temporarily forgotten that the work I am doing is part of a larger movement of locally designed and made clothing, and remembering that allowed me to appreciate each part of the process even more.


For my whole adult life, I have been self-conscious about my tendency to be a bit OCD.  I always worry that I will annoy people by being so thorough, so fastidious, so knit-picky, etc.  I'm always apologizing for these behaviors, both verbally and with my body language.

Recently, I've experienced the benefits of being so particular, so attentive to detail-----it means that I do a good job on a number of things (where this would be important)!  That high standard for the quality of every detail of what I'm working on has been noticed both in my Montessori activities and my work in fashion.  It really boosted  my confidence to, for the first time, acknowledge that something I've always considered a failing might actually be an asset (while still underscoring that it can also be a hinderence in certain ways and activities).  

I don't feel, for once, that I need to apologize for the way that I am, but that it is what makes me great at what I do! :)