Note: Saint shirt

The Saint shirt is my second make from the new fabulous sewing book SY by Ann Ringstrand. It’s an oversized style with large cuffs and a pretty large collar. This is classic menswear interpreted for our time: Unisex, modern, and with interesting details.

Saint shirt and Base trouser, both from the book.

Shirts are among my favorite garments to sew. I like to make them, and I like to wear them. If you have read my blog before, you may know that I’ve made quite a few shirts lately, including several versions of another shirt pattern. You can read about them here. I could have found a contender for that pattern, Agnes, in this Saint shirt, but I definitely have room for them both. What I do know is that I want to make at least a couple more Saint shirts in other colors and fabric, too, to have a few choices. Shirts are long lived in my wardrobe and worth the time and investment.

Illustration from the book.

This version is made in a very crisp cotton poplin. The fabric is so densely woven it was difficult to sew, and every little needle hole stayed where I put it, so I had to take real care to get it right the first time. I used an 80 Microtex needle to be able to punch trough, and even then it was hard. On the other side, the fabric is light, soft and perfect for a shirt, so my struggles were soon forgotten.

The pattern has three sizes, S, M and L, and is intended to be unisex. The sizing is generous so I sized down to a small and still have lots of room although the measurement table put me in an M. Since the shirt is very long (89 cm), which is verging on dress on me, I shortened the bodice by 4 cm. The sleeves were shortened by 3 cm. They are still plenty long, but I wonder if the proportions are a little off now? It seems to me the cuff should start a little closer to my wrist, not above it? On my next version I’ll try with a slightly longer sleeve to see if I like it longer. The problem is, I find too long sleeves very uncomfortable, so there is a fine balance to it. I could of course shorten the cuff by a smidgen instead to mitigate this.

Usually I only interface the top collar, the outer collar stand and one side of the cuffs, but I decided to do both this time. The result is very crisp and looks good in this fabric. I think the collar could look a little limp if it were softer, and I’m unsure if that would just as well. The size of it demands more structure than a smaller version, am I right?

I had few challenges during the construction except for the sleeve slit. This is the first time I’ve sewn a shirt with a two-piece sleeve, and I like the look a lot. The instructions are not helpful, they plainly states to “sew the sleeve slit”. I tried to figure out how to sew it with a french or a felled seam to hide the raw edges, but I just couldn’t figure it out, so I ended up with overlocking it. I really prefer finishing shirts without any visible raw edges, so if anyone knows how to do this, please let me know.

My Saint shirt turned out just as I imagined, and I definitely have room for another white shirt in my wardrobe, it’s been on my mind for a while. I like the large pointed collar and the oversized cuffs a lot, they make it a little special. Another detail I am crazy about is the pocket which is asymmetric and placed lower than usual. To me, that’s the most important design feature on this shirt – why I feel that way is difficult to explain, but it definitely feels both right and a considered choice. The pocket placement was the first thing my friend mentioned as a great feature when I showed her the shirt, which proves my point. Is it because it balances out the long front? I think so.

In the book, Ann Ringstrand shows an example of the Saint shirt made from several old shirts in plaid, in different fabrics. It looks really cool and very fun to make. I don’t have a collection of old shirts to choose from, so I have to start looking for them in second hand shops. It feels like a perfect new kind of challenge with a long term perspective, and I’m on it.

Pattern: Saint shirt by Ann Ringstrand
Fabric: Cotton poplin from Sømsenteret, Oslo
Size: Small
Time: 6-8 hours
More about the book SY and my other makes from it here: SyAnnRingstrand


  • Hi Ingunn!

    Very nice and stylish shirt, I am almost convinced to buy the book and make one too! Regarding the sleeve slit, try looking at the Fibre Mood Ivory instructions (you can read for free all the instructions if you log in) on how to construct it.


    • Hi Kate, thank you for commenting! I didn’t think of that pattern and will look into it right away. The Fiber Mood instructions are a great resource, the are really well written. Great tip – thank you again.


  • Hei. Har du funnet en god beskrivelse av å sy todelt erme? Ivory fra FibreMood har jo helt erme, så det hjelp ikke ☹️


  • Hi Ingunn,
    many thanks for all your posts on AR-pattern. I have just finished the Saint Shirt..I simply made a one seam sleeve, with a classical sleeve slit (as there is no further shape introduced by the 2 seam sleeve). However more challenging for me was to add the collar to the shirt… there is additional width which was difficult to distribute.. did you have the same experience? (I have to admit that I added 1,5 cm seam allowance, which might cause more trouble in this respect).
    Next project will be the base trouser in XS.. those in S are finalized… but slightly to large for me (I hope my mother will take them..:)
    have a nice day!


    • Hi Antje, thanks for leaving a comment! I agree, the sleeve can easily be done in one piece, and it is a good solution for a cleaner finish. I liked the two piece for mixed fabrics, though. The collar hasn’t been hard to fit onto the shirt for me, not on any of them. I suspect that your additional seam allowance has caused you some trouble, like you say? The Base trouser is a firm favorite. I love both my pairs, and I hope to find time for another one this Autumn. I would love one in wool, maybe with some pin-stripes. Have a nice day, too!


  • Hi Ingunn,
    thanks for your comments… Indeed, I measured neck line and collar line, they are matching.. I have already removed the collar and will shorten the seam allowances and try again…
    have a nice week!


  • I figured out how to make french seams with the sleeve slit. Should have taken photos, but let’s see if I can explain: 1. turn back and iron the side hem of the slits and then the fold marks so you have the outlines of the slits ironed in place but not sewn. 2. line up up the sleeve seams with right side of the fabric facing out to sew the first seam of the french seam. You also sew shut the slanted top of the slits. 3. trim and iron open the sewn seam; then, reverse so the right side of the fabric is inside. Iron again. 4. Sew the second seam of the french seam 5. fold the sleeve slits into place and make any adjustments to the side hem of the sleeve slits; iron. 6. Sew the angled top of the slit against the sleeve, then open the slit and sew both side hems to the corresponding side of the sleeve. 7. and optional step here is to top stitch the entire length of the sleeve seam.


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