Considering how smashingly those efforts were received, I've always meant to sew him something he can wear in everyday life. Modern men's sewing patterns are nearly as scarce as maternity patterns but luckily Masheka isn't looking for anything wild--just a nice hoodie or two and some woven sports shirts.
I've owned a copy of David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing since it came out and together Masheka and I selected Kwik Sew 3422 pattern as the most promising starting point for a woven men's shirt:
That was the easy part. Have you ever tried to find good men's shirting fabrics at reasonable prices? I don't feel like Masheka is asking too much--he's looking for something fun, but not too fun, in a striped 100% cotton men's shirting. No blends (he gets easily overheated), no checks or plaids or florals or Western-style fabrics (not his style) and nothing too boring or stuffy (he wears those kind of shirts for work, not for weekend). Which pretty much eliminated every single fabric I found online or in my Garment District wanderings for under $25/yard.
Here's an example of one of Masheka's few favorite weekend shirts, from Brooklyn Industries (depicted here on one of our trips to Merida, Mexico):
And here's a closeup of the fabric for this shirt and another favorite (the stripes are actually blue on the second one):
Getting desperate, I decided to put aside cost for the moment and just try to figure out what exactly he liked. Enter Beckenstein Fashion Fabrics (aka Fabric Czar) on 39th St. This venerable institution makes custom-fitted men's suits and shirts, but also sells their high-quality men's fabrics retail. They must have nearly 1,000 different men's shirtings on display, all with a dozen swatches or so pinned to each bolt for easy sampling. The trouble is the price--$25/yard. I think the most I've ever paid for a fabric was $18.50/yard. But anyway, the swatches:
I had a better idea of what he wanted, but the price was still an issue--I'm not trying to be too cheap, but I hardly think it's wise to spend $25/yard on a first shirt project requiring 2 1/2 yards when I've never so much as made a buttonhole in my life. I poked around the web a bit more, and finally found this $3.95/yard shirting from Denver Fabrics that bears a slight resemblance to the purple striped bit above. Masheka was agreeable, and I ordered 2.75 yards:
When I'll actually find the time to sew this what with Cartoonist Baby so close to arriving and all the other projects in my queue is another matter...