Johnny B Good shirt

Despite my own best efforts not to finish this shirt, I did, and in good time for Boy’s birthday party on Saturday.  Phew!

johnny be good shirtBefore I get into the review of this shirt, let me just remind you that this shirt was upcycled from a shirt gifted to us by our friend, Martin.  The fabric is a thick and temperamental cotton, that acts like a very brattish polyester.

But…it’s wonderfully soft and cosy and Boy, who normally throws a fit of the screaming ab-dabs when you ask him to wear a shirt, couldn’t wait to get it on, and didn’t want to take it off. So it’s a win, as far as I’m concerned.

I did change the buttons.  On the original shirt they were a yellowy cream button and really looked a bit odd against the lilac/pink/blue fabric.

shirt buttons

The new buttons are a variegated lilac that I found on our local market stall.  I like them much more.

shirt buttons

Oops…a bit blurry, but you get the idea, no?

And, in one final change, I “drafted” a mandarin/grandad collar by simply folding the collar part of the pattern up and using just the stand to cut my fabric.  I did, of course, remember to add a seam allowance to the top of the collar!

johnny b good

The pattern is Shwinn Designs Johnny B Good shirt, and, I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about this pattern.

johnnybgoodLet’s start with the good:

  • The tiling on the pdf is really good and the pattern tapes together quickly and cleanly.
  • The drafting of the pattern is excellent.  I found all the separate pieces stitched up perfectly.
  • The sizing is good too.  Boy is a small 5 and this shirt fits him now but has room to grow into.  In my book this is perfect.  If I’m sewing something for the kids I’d like it to last more than a couple of weeks!

However, this pattern does have some challenges:

  • I found the instructions to be a little less than straightforward and clear.
  • I thought the sleeve placket is a little long.  It reaches right up to the elbow. This is, of course, just a matter of personal taste.
  • I also thought the sleeve placket to be placed just a little too far towards the front of the sleeve.
  • There are no placement marks for the buttonholes on the sleeves.  The idea is that you place them where you’d like them to go, but, personally, I would have preferred them to be added on the pattern.
johnny b good

I think this shows how far forwards the sleeve placket sits on the sleeve and also how high up the sleeve it goes. Please ignore the shoddy buttonholes. 

Despite the things I’m not fond of with this pattern, I will be using it again.  I think I’ll adjust the sleeve placket to move it more to the back of the arm, and shorten the placket a little bit.  

I plan to measure this shirt to get a really good idea for button placement and mark them on the pattern.

And lastly, I  think I’ll redraft the hem of this shirt to give it tails rather than a straight edge.  I think it will look really cute.

Once the pattern has been tweaked there’s one other thing I’ll change. I’ll use better thread so the topstitching isn’t quite so shocking.  I’m eternally grateful that this fabric hides a multitude of sins!

However, all my gripes are moot.  Boy loves his shirt, which is nothing short of a birthday miracle.


And yes, that is a bus cake.  As his party was held on the play bus (officially making him the coolest boy in the class…who knew?) I really had no say in the matter.

bus cakeHe loved it 😉

24 Responses to Johnny B Good shirt

  1. Mrs.Smith says:

    That’s awesome! I love the mandarin collar!

  2. Sue Taylor says:

    Fabulous shirt, fabulous young man. Doesn’t he look grown up! Love the idea that you upcycled an old shirt. I have been thinking about how I can remake some garments in my wardrobe so that I can get something new for very little expenditure. Not sure I could do anything as clever as you :0)

    • He looks far too grown up for my liking! 😉
      I have several more shirts to remake for him so I need to tweak this pattern and crack on. And I’ve seen your skills…of course you could make lovely things for your beautiful grandchildren. x

  3. Jane G says:

    It looks fabulous, and it’s lovely he enjoys wearing it, you couldn’t ask for more!

  4. Gorgeous boy, fab short and as for the cake…hope you saved me a slice (but I doubt it)!

  5. Cool shirt really. What a cute smile he has! That bus cake is superb

  6. That shirt looks fabulous, and the Boy clearly has good taste (and a very lovely mum!)

  7. T says:

    That’s a really lovely shirt pattern and a fantastic job on all the little details and perfect sewing on the plackets. Look forward to seeing the next incarnation!

  8. Gail says:

    I didn’t notice a single one of the design flaws until you pointed them out! Just looks like a super cute shirt on a super cute boy!

  9. K-Line says:

    Oh – that kid is such a little hipster. Look at him hanging out in his cool shirt! It’s like he’s 15!

  10. Shar says:

    He looks absolutely adorable in that shirt! The buttons were one of the first things I noticed. Good call to change out the original ones. You’re right – if he’s pleased then your job has been done and done well! That cake looks amazing – it sounds like he had a perfect birthday!

    • Thank you…I have no idea what planet they where on when they chose those buttons.
      And he had a high old time for his birthday, which is exactly what I’d hoped for.

  11. Andrea says:

    He looks so absolutely handsome! The headaches of sewing were well worth the effort Evie!

  12. Vicki Kate says:

    Oh, Evie! It’s beyond gorgeous, as is Boy!
    I completely agree with the sleeve issues, I have the Thomas shirt to make for my Boy and it’ll be interesting to see how they compare!