Last year I wrote about the banana cream pie I made for my father one Father’s Day. A couple of years after that incident, I made him a shirt.
I was much better at sewing than cooking, and by the time I made this shirt, I was sewing many of my own clothes, from pants suits to swim suits. So I had high hopes that this present would be a success.
But it is much more difficult to make clothes for someone else than for yourself. I tended to try on the garments I made for myself after each major step was completed, so I could re-fit the piece as I went. At the time, I was skinnier than most patterns, so I often needed to take in seams.
I wanted my father’s shirt to be a surprise, so I had no opportunity to gauge how I was doing until it was done. I chose an easy-to-sew double-knit cotton fabric, navy blue with white polka dots about the size of a pencil eraser. (Keep in mind, this was the early 1970s. It was actually a fairly conservative fabric choice.)
I took one of his golf shirts as a model for size. Then I cut my fabric and sewed the seams. I matched the rows of polka dots perfectly. I remembered to put the buttonholes on the left placket like a man’s shirt, though it seemed weird after the blouses I had made for myself.
The shirt didn’t turn out quite as well as I had hoped. The collar was a little floppy even with interfacing. The buttonholes weren’t exactly the same size (I never could do buttonholes very well). But it looked acceptable, and it was all my work. There was no one to blame for any failings but myself – no little brother had messed up this gift, unlike the banana cream pie.
I boxed up the shirt and wrapped it.
It was a surprise. “Where did you get this?” my father asked when he opened the package.
“I made it,” I said, beaming with pride.
“Well, it’s very nice.” He even wore it on weekends sometimes.
But I think he liked the banana cream pie better.
Happy Father’s Day to my father, and all fathers!