My boyfriend is an amazing musician who loves the music of the 1960s, as well as many other genres. He has always wanted a Monkee’s shirt, but has never been able to find one. I’ve googled for them and they are really hard to find. There are some hand-made ones available online, but they are very expensive and tend to ship to the US only …so I decided to have a go myself.
Jez wanted to be involved in the design process to ensure that it was a close as possible to the originals. He found me some photos online and stills from his Monkee’s DVDs, so we could look at the shirts in detail. We quickly noticed that there seemed to be several styles of shirts. Some had the button up fronts, while others were worn open, and there were several lengths. The key features were the eight button front bib, three button cuffs and square bottom hem with side splits. We took our time finding just the right buttons for both the front and the cuff.
The original Monkee’s shirts were designed by Gene Ashman, and as they were inspired by the shirt John Wayne wore in many of his movies, a western shirt seemed like a good place to start. I used the Eagles View Western Bib Shirt and cut out size XL. I made a very quick toile, for fitting and to test the making of the v-neck, collar and the sleeve cuffs – I’d never made sleeve cuffs before. Then, I just worked my way through the instructions on the pattern for everything except for the bib. I simply sewed together two rectangles of fabric for the bib, after completing the rest of the shirt, so we could judge the correct size more easily.
The fabric I used was a red twill, and the thickness made turning the collar and cuffs out and getting sharp corners quite difficult. When I was creating the button holes on the cuffs I realised that I should have removed more thickness from the seams, as I had quite a bit of trouble getting the automatic buttonhole foot to work correctly due to the fabric bulk. I’ll note that for future and probably use thinner fabric too, although this shirt will be really hard-wearing and last a long time. We were both pleased with the results in the end, but I think I’ll wait a little while before I make another.
How many Monkee’s shirts does one musician need?