Finished projects

Unselfish Sewing: A Colette Negroni

I had all the right intentions while making the Colette Negroni shirt for DD. I bought nice chambray from Cali Fabrics and even made a muslin to test the fit. After making a couple of adjustments, I set to work and…. behold!…. another top that’s kind of “meh.”

Pay no attention to the chalk marks between the buttons… :-\


I guess it doesn’t look too bad, but the fit is a little off, especially in the shoulders (see the bunching and wrinkles?). I started out taking careful measurements of DD and compared them to the finished measurements chart. I decided on a straight size medium and set to work on the muslin. He wanted the shoulder seam to come up higher, so I did some internet research and came up with the following adjustments.


I attached the pattern pieces, keeping in mind the seam allowances. I don’t have a French curve (I probably should get one), so I sketched out the new shoulder seam on the arm piece (that extra tracing paper taped to the original traced pattern) and traced where I needed to trim the body (bodice?) pattern pieces (as seen by my sketchy arc in pencil).

Then I trimmed the shirt front, back, and back yoke where my sketched lines were to make room for the extended shoulder seam.


I hope that all made sense! I then cut into the beautiful chambray and set to work. When I was finished, I had DD try it on and… hmmm… those shoulder seams are too short! How in the world…? The sleeve also looks a little too big on him and we’re not really fans of the collar construction (no collar stand).



I also didn’t have matching thread and DD said that brown was OK. I kind of like the subtle contrast stitching. The buttons were salvaged from an old shirt too stained to donate.



He said it would make a good pajama shirt, so he’ll wear it once the weather cools down. I was really hoping this would be a great pattern to use so I can make him work shirts. He has trouble finding shirts because of his slim frame and long torso, so I was hoping to cut down on the shopping drama for him.


I’m starting to think my sewing projects for DD are doomed to fail or just to become PJs (which is basically all I’ve made him, minus the Paxson Sweater of Fail). I see Jamie from Mac’s Crafts made her husband a super awesome button down shirt (with cats!) from a Simplicity pattern, so maybe I should give that one a try.

I also have some more unselfish sewing plans for DD – the Thread Theory Jedediah Pants. I am hoping those will turn out better!

Have you made something for someone with the best intentions and it didn’t turn out as you planned? Share in the comments!


33 thoughts on “Unselfish Sewing: A Colette Negroni

  1. I made my Mr. 3 Negroni shirts and they are all doomed to the closet (a tale I’ve heard from others, as well). He only wears them when he has nothing else to wear. It just looks…cheap, regardless of my fabric choices. The pattern is weird – the collar is too wide and the fit is off! Mr. is a little heftier then DD, but he still has fit issues in the shoulder/armscye area. I bought the Merchant & Mills All State shirt pattern to try next. Hopefully it turns out better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no! Sorry you had the same bad luck. I saw Negronis in the past and they seemed OK, but maybe that was before I knew better. Sigh.

      Good luck on the M&M pattern! Hopefully 4th time is a charm? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hopefully! I’ll be posting it if it works! I definitely didn’t know better before I made those Negronis and that was only a year and a half ago! Now I’m more experienced and well read (RED?) with sewing and I know to steer clear of most CP woven patterns!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m yet to read a post from anyone who has had success with this pattern, so you’re not alone! I made this for my boyfriend and had very similar fit issues – just don’t think it’s very well drafted. I was recommended a Burda pattern (7045) so that’s what I’ll use next time for a shirt for him!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now I wish I would have done some research before trying this pattern! Oh well, you live, you learn! I’m glad I’m getting some different recommendations for possibly better patterns. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I made the hubs one a few years ago out of some blue plaid flannel and the fit is off, but he is built like a Scotsman so even though his measurements say medium, his shoulders say large. He pretty much wears it camping now, which is okay but not what I had intended. I have Jutlands that have been sitting out on the bed in the sewing room for a few years now…I hope your Jedediah’s work out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At least your husband can wear his shirt, but what a bummer about your fitting issues, too! Interesting how there’s a theme with the Negroni shoulders… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Jeds ran huge on my skinny man (jodpur-like thighs) but after a couple pairs I have the fit just as I (“we”?) like it it (honestly, it was just a matter of narrowing the legs – the seat and crotch seam, and really anything tricky, were fine). I like Male Pattern Boldness’s edits to the Negroni! Good luck!! It’s so disappointing when a gift is just so-so, but your sewing seems tops so I’m sure you’ll get there in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the heads up with the Jedediah thighs! I’ll probably have to make the same adjustments but am glad to hear I won’t have to mess with the tricky parts.

      I’ll have to check out MPB’s edits – thanks for the suggestion! (And thanks for saying my sewing is top-notch! So sweet!) 😀


  5. I was thinking about trying the Negroni for my husband but from your post and the comments here I might have to try something else! The Thread Theory Fairfield looks like it might be worth a go…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I’m glad we can help you out by sharing our “fails!” Thread Theory will hopefully work better for you as they’re focused on men’s patterns to begin with 🙂 Good luck!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The negroni is on my make nine list of items to sew (mainly to make me sew for someone else) but not sure if I’ll look at another pattern now. I’ve made hubby a McCall shirt before but it was a terrible fit, far too boxy so he won’t wear it. What other shirts would people recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d probably stay away from the Negroni – I just don’t really like the collar and facings (makes it look too beginner-sewist to me). It looks like people have a lot of recommendations in the comments but have yet to make them, so I’m curious what really works out, too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel almost bad knocking the Negroni pattern because I respect the Colette brand, but sometimes things just don’t work out! Looks like I should stick to their female knit patterns since the Moneta is a TNT for me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh it’s the worst when things don’t turn out for someone else. I made a button down for my Mom when I was a beginner and I just couldn’t wrap my head around all of her fitting issues…it’s a shame because I used a really pretty lilac and green floral print shirting. That’s weird to have a man’s shirt without a collar stand. Is it a one-piece collar with an integrated stand or is it just a collar? Maybe the intent was something more casual and not wear-with-a-tie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sewing for other people is so difficult! I have a hard enough time fitting things to my own body much less someone else’s. Bummer about the shirt for your mom – sucks when you use a good fabric for a “fail.” 😦

      The collar just attached right to the shirt bodice… it’s a little weird. I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if I made this about 5-6 years ago when I first started, but after the glorious Granville pattern, I am a snob about button-down shirts now!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s too bad! I’ve made….15? versions of the Negroni and my man likes them (but he’s into being casual so the camp collar works for him). I wonder if we assume sewing for a man will be easier but in fact they have as many unique variations in body type as women and fit can be just as tricky? Anyway, don’t trust me because I like the Negroni – though I have had issues with other Colette patterns so I’m not just a superfan – but I’ve also made a few versions of KwikSew 3422 which does have a collar stand. I think the fit runs a bit more relaxed than the Negroni.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you’ve had good luck with the Negroni! It really does depend on body type, for sure. I don’t buy most Colette patterns for the same reason – the patterns are just not drafted for my body type (although I have way too many Seamwork patterns…).

      I’m hoping I have better luck with pants, although that seems like it would have just as many fitting issues!


  9. I don’t think it turned out bad! I think if he rolls up the sleeves it would look fine. Your man is a toothpick like mine. You think it would be easy to make a shirt for them but it’s so not! I had to take in everything on the Holiday Shirt. The length was too long, the sleeves would have probably fit my thighs, and the 1 piece collar that you ran into… oh vey! I had to steal from my beloved B5526 and fashion a new collar for him. I keep wanting to make a second shirt for Hubby, short sleeved this time, but he won’t pick a fabric. It must have to speak to him or something. I think this was a great first effort at trying to dress your man!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It actually came out better looking in the photos – but he swears he’ll use it for pajamas. I’m mostly bummed because I paid decent money for decent fabric. But I guess it’s not all a loss… I managed to make a Scout Tee for myself with the scraps – I just want to do some hand-embroidery on it before it’s really “finished.”

      I didn’t realize (forgot?) that you had to make so many adjustments! Maybe I’ll scratch that pattern off my list, too… why is it so hard to fit men? Sheesh!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think part of the issue with a man shirt is that you’re shooting for perfection because you’re making it for someone else. You never want to gift just “ok” kind of work. I want to make Hubby another shirt but he won’t pick a fabric. 😦

        At least you got one win out of the fabric! I look forward to seeing your embroidery.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ^_^

        I hope when your hubby picks out another fabric that it’s as epic as his Christmas shirt. Tell him I don’t want to be disappointed, LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m no fan of Colette’s product(s), so my (salty) recommendation is to see if another pattern works better for you and DD. Lots of people have made M6044 and had good results, and Burda has some good options too! Camp collar men’s shirts are definitely a throwback style (think 1950’s man barbecuing at the weekend or hanging out at bowling league) and aren’t to everyone’s taste. There is something odd about the proportions of the collar on Negroni–it looks too big for the shirt somehow, which obviously isn’t a fault with your sewing. And speaking of your sewing, I love the thread color you chose: it’s a contrast, but it’s subtle and looks really nice. And of course, the fabric is awesome! I’m sorry this shirt didn’t work out, but I am inclined to think it’s the pattern, not you.

    I haven’t made tons for Tom, but I did try a v-neck tee recently and definitely didn’t get the V right! It’s an “around the house” tee only, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That McCall’s pattern looks like it might work out better – thanks for the recommendation! I definitely blame the Negroni on the issues and not myself. You win some, you lose some. I just feel bad that my losses are with DD, LOL! But those were Seamwork and Colette patterns, so I’ll probably stick to other pattern companies for anything else I make him.

      I love this fabric, too… thanks! It’s not a total loss as I was able to make a Scout Tee out of the leftovers for myself (with the same topstitching). I’m waiting to do some embroidery on it before I consider it complete, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for helping me dodge the bullet – I was about to cut out my Negroni when I read your review & comments. I decided to buy the Kwik Sew recommended by Pam Howard on the Craftsy class “Sewing a Classic Tailored Shirt.” It has a collar stand; I believe the lack of this piece in Negroni would ruin it for my very traditional husband. So thanks! Come see me at!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I could help! You definitely dodged a bullet. You know what? DD has never worn this after the photoshoot. I asked him if he forgot he said he’s use them for pajamas and it looks like it’s just that uncomfortable for him that it’s doomed to the donation pile (unless I get to harvesting those buttons first!). Good luck with your Kwik Sew pattern – I’m sure it’ll be perfect!


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