The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

In to Knits

I’m into knits these days and having a blast with it.

One of the most classic looks and things you can do with a knit is a takeoff of the classic French fisherman’s shirt which has been worn by anyone who’s anyone in the fashion or art world since the dang thing was invented!

The original shirt was worn and invented by seamen of the French navy so as to be easy to be seen in the water when they were overboard, which is pretty good thinking.


But like everything the French do (well, except their politics), it is always done with great style!







And so why shouldn’t everyone who has any style (French or not) pick it up as well.







It’s almost un-American to be French and not wear the shirt or a take off of it.





This was my first introduction to the shirt (the one on the right, not Matisse’s self portrait on the left), as what budding fashionista wouldn’t be drawn in by the style of Cary Grant.  This man studied style the way Nobel Prize winners study math – he was a consummate master and aficionado of style and practiced it and wore it effortlessly – sort of the same way Steve McQueen did.  But don’t fool yourself, they both knew exactly what they were doing and what appeared to be happy accidents in movies or press shots, was anything but!

So what’s all the hullabaloo about these stripes and what do they have to do with knits?  Just this:  if you’re new to knits or just returning to them after a long absence and not sure where to start – a stripe is a great way to start.  The classic Breton shirt (thanks to Trudy HotPatterns – now I wonder if that is actually her last name!!!!) is also a great place to start:

She’s basically done all the heavy-lifting for you and the design work.  But looking at all the pics above of the various takes on the style and design of the shirt, you can tell that they are mostly light background with a darker (traditionally navy) stripe.  If you want a classic Breton shirt, that’s the way you should go.  But don’t let that stop you, cause this shirt is easy to do up (if you have either a large differential between your chest & bust measurement OR you are a little more endowed in front, add an FBA).

There are great variations that can work as well.

Think of your favorite colors and work with those – the classic part to remember is that the stripe should be horizontal (parallel to the horizon), and the hardest thing you will do on this is the neckband trim, which will be on the length of the stripe and should be sewn on with precision so that it doesn’t look caddy-wampus!

A Breton or French fisherman’s shirt is always a classic addition to any wardrobe and for a first place to start, you can’t go wrong with this shirt!.


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