An American flag shirt for 4th of July

I can’t explain why, but my husband James really likes to dress over the top for the 4th of July each year. I mean, I’m the one who’s American, yet he’s the one wearing stars & stripes sneakers, jeans, and now a shirt, too.

We visited a Mennonite fabric store when we were visiting friends in Pennsylvania in April, and they had a staggering array of quilting cottons (as you’d expect, really). James had lots of patriotic designs to choose from, but settled on this one with repeated American flags with an off-white, almost textured look to it.

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I told him I’d make him his TNT button-down shirt – Simplicity 5273 (now OOP but Simplicity 8180 looks similar and has boxers & a tie pattern too). I’ve been sewing this pattern for him for at least ten years now – I remember the first version was in a blue quilting cotton covered in hot rods, but then I’ve also made him versions in “dogs playing poker” fabric, “girls on scooters”, another hot rods fabric in sage green, and then again in John Deere fabric for his friend.

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It’s a pretty basic shirt pattern for men and boys – straight side seams, no yoke, short sleeves, but it does have a proper collar and collar stand, chest pocket, and a nice curved hem. It’s super quick to sew up and it generally fits him without alterations, though it looks a bit big on him through the body here (probably down to a combo of him losing weight recently and quilting cottons shrinking in the first few washes).

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I didn’t make any changes here as I was really just trying to meet the deadline of today so I wouldn’t have to look at the fabric in my stash for another year! I had a busy, active weekend yet still managed to squeeze it in, sewing the buttons on Sunday evening up on deck.

Sewing buttons outside on deck

The buttons are also little American flags (of course!), also bought from Verna’s Fabrics in Mifflinburg, PA.

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We took these photos this morning before heading for work – he disappointingly didn’t get any honks from drivers as he cycled in (boo!) but he’s had a lot of attention at work today!

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Anyone else outside America celebrating today?


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  1. 1

    Really suave! The funniest will be when he opens his mouth and people realize he’s British, not American! Looking good, James!

  2. 2

    This is so funny!!!!! We live in the states but my hubby is from Hampshire it’s always kind of awkward, but we do enjoy a bit of banter about it lol πŸ™‚

    • 3

      Oh, you have all sorts of fun expat holidays, too, then! It’s funny that everyone here associates fireworks with cold weather for Bonfire Night, whereas I grew up only having fireworks in the height of summer!

  3. 6

    I used to love going to Verna’s when I lived in that part of the state. Your mention of it brought back many happy memories.

    Great shirt for James!

    • 7

      oh no way, I’m amazed someone else knows it, too! πŸ™‚ A van-load of ladies from a nearby quilting class turned up just as we arrived, so James got to hear some Pennsylvania Dutch finally, too. My grandma was fluent in it (my Dad only knows a few phrases) but he never got to meet her.

  4. 10

    Cute shirt. And thanks for the pattern recommendation. I’ve been looking for a quick, but nice looking, shirt pattern for my guys.

  5. 11
    Katelyn Allers

    Great shirt, I love the patriotic spirit. Sorry to have missed you during your central PA visit. Hopefully we can meet if come through again!

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