Sewing for my Husband with Aloha

I’ve mentioned before how much I love sewing the designer fabrics I find at Cali Fabrics, and how I like to see if I can sleuth out how the designer originally used it. The Tori Richard designer shirtings were easy – anyone who loves Aloha shirts the way my husband does is familiar with the brand, which has been making quality Hawaiian-style shirts in Honolulu since the 1950’s.

So, on my early-summer trip to Maui, I had to stop in a Tori Richard store to do some homework! (Also Cali-Fabrics related, I’m wearing one of my Mermaid Maxis from last year’s post!)

While I was there, I learned that their cotton shirts (lawn, jacquard and dobby, all carried by Cali right now) always have the perfectly matched left breast pocket. However, only their silk shirts also match the print perfectly across the button placket. The sales personnel told me it takes up to 4 yards of silk to make one shirt because of the print matching. So what did I do? Chose a striped cotton lawn from Cali and decided that I would buy 3 yards and match it across the placket anyway because I love a challenge. (At least I didn’t choose a plaid, right?)

I used the Wardrobe By Me Men’s Tropical Shirt pattern (afflink) for its similarity to the Tori Richard styles. Though my husband wears Large in ready to wear, he just squeaked into 2X in the pattern, however the fit is nice on him and the construction is beautiful.

You might just think that palm trees, floral stripes and a geometric band might be a lot for one print, but it all works without going tacky tourist! We reused buttons from a worn-out Hawaiian shirt, and I really liked the brown color complementing the colors in this gorgeous print. The high quality of the fabric makes the shirt look like a million bucks. It’s lightweight but not see-through and has that characteristic slight sheen of fine cotton lawn. It’s been resistant to wrinkles and washes and wears well.

The print quality is so nice that it’s almost hard to tell the right and wrong sides of the fabric apart! Take a look here: The inner collar and the yoke inside the shirt (with the label) is the right side of the fabric, then below the seam, the inside of the back shirt is the wrong side! So don’t mix them up when you sew. Ask me how I know.

Find the pocket!

I can’t say enough good things about this designer fabric, so I’ll just say, go get some before it’s gone or you will regret it! Here’s our next project, vintage coconut-shell buttons and cotton jacquard in this fun but still distinguished seashell print. This one is sold out (see, I told you, go!) but there is another beautiful Tori Richard cotton jacquard that is still available as well as many cotton lawns and a dobby or two.


Jen H, from Tie Dye Diva

Jen creates PDF format sewing patterns for women, children and babies at

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