Donny Shirt

I´ve wanted to make some kind of a woven tee shirt for a while now, but couldn´t find a pattern I thought was just right. Then I ran across the Friday Pattern Company´s Donny shirt. I liked the casual, but slightly tailored, look of the collar, and the neckline.

Photo of a white cotton shirt with a traditional lapel collar but
with a center seam instead of a button front. The shirt has
short sleeves and two patch pockets.

This turned out to be a good choice. I have some quibbles with a couple of things, but this is one of the best-drafted patterns I´ve seen. It´s so well-drafted that the woven sleeve caps set in without any difficulty — a trick the Big Four has notoriously had difficulty mastering for decades.

I made this version as a muslin, using a lightweight cotton shirting. (Note: I learned that I hate light cotton shirting — more and worse wrinkles, and none of the character of a more interesting natural fabric. I´m looking at you, dear linen!) Mine Donny is a size S, a choice I made based on the finished garment measurements printed in the pattern booklet, and the fit is spot-on, without any alterations; it´s roomy, which is my preference in a woven top, but not baggy. It worked up very well, but I made a few changes, based on personal preference.

The back is meant to have gathers, but they just look prissy to me, and they´re fussy to sew. I made two simple pleats, instead. I like those a lot better, and I also like the way they feed into the hint of button-down that the collar provides.

Photo of the back of a white cotton shirt showing the back
yoke with a pleat on each side of the center back.

As I´m no fan of curved hems, I also changed that in  favor of a straight one. As drafted, the Donny is longer on me than most; an inch and half (4 cm) hem gave this square top a good proportion for my size. (I´m not tall.) My version is a size S, which I based on the finished garment size, thoughtfully supplied by the Friday Pattern Company in the pattern documentation.

The Donny is meant to have stitching, on the front, outlining the facing. I really dislike the way this looks, but I also noticed that, in almost every version I saw made up, that each sewist had trouble doing the stitching without the facing creating a bit of ripple. I tacked mine down, invisibly, inside, instead.

Photo of the upper front of a white cotton shirt
showing the collar and placement of two front
pockets near the center front seam.

I also changed the pocket placement, and added a second one. The Donny pattern puts the pocket nearly under the armpit. I suspect the reason is that, otherwise, a more usual placement would interfere with the stitching line for the facing — but it still looked odd to my eye.

The center front seam really annoys me in a solid color like this, but it´s the reason the collar is so easy to construct, so I´ve had no choice but to forgive it! Sometimes, though, I plan to wear the top with a tie, which gives the Donny a middy-like flair, and should detract from that center front seam. Making it in a print would probably do the same thing.

Photo of the Donny printed pattern package showing two
models wearing the shirt. The model on the left wears a medium
brown Donny in a linen-appearing fabric, and the model on the
right wears the Donny in what appears to be an ivory cotton.

I have a few complaints about the otherwise really well-done instructions. Nowhere is clipping of curves mentioned, which was interesting. I actually debated not clipping, because the neck line curves are *almost* broad enough to not require it, and the 1 cm seams are accommodating. But clipping really does give a better result; newer sewists would benefit from that instruction.

Also, The Donny instructions use the ´burrito´ method to encase the yoke pieces. I´d say the instructions are good, but I think they´d be a little more clear if a line were added to say that, after rolling them up, that ´The rolled front and back pieces of the shirt rest on the RS of the main fabric yoke.´ I found the language that used the word ´wrap´ in the next step, a bit confusing. I´d write ´Fold the RS of the lining yoke over the ´burrito´ rolls, matching the cut edges.´ But these are small things; overall, this is a terrific pattern, and well worth making — over and over!

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2 Responses to Donny Shirt

  1. Charlotte Switzer says:

    I like this shirt. I think you might find more used for it than you imagine right now- every wardrobe must have a white shirt! And this does look summery.

    I agree that patterns should not leave out tips that results in a more professional finish. Sewing is “in” right now and that means there are many beginners.

    I like your instructions for a burrito technique. I’ve only done one burrito and found it challenging. Your tip would have helped me!

    • Noile says:

      You´re right, I´m sure, Charlotte. I´ve already worn the Donny once, much to my surprise!

      This was my first ´burrito´, since my woven tops tend to have facings instead of yokes. I was baffled until I rolled it up, and then realized that the process was a lot simpler than it seemed — but only if it was described less like a burrito, and more like sewing. (If that makes sense?!) I hope the tip helps!

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