The CHINOLINA Dress Shirt

What kind of name is Chinolina for dress shirt, you might ask? Well, it’s a dress shirt with Carolina (light) blue and Chinese brocade. It was an impromptu creation as I was looking for fabric to test the splitting of my recently finalized fitted dress shirt pattern, to make a dress shirt with yokes.

A simple horizontal yoke was the easiest yoke to make, given it is straight. It simply divides the body of the dress shirt into an upper and lower piece. A third colour, if it were to be used, would have to be added additionally or on pieces of the pattern like collar or cuffs.

With two colours required, I went through my stash and found some black brocade with a dragon and phoenix on it, in small quantity sufficient for the yokes, collar and cuffs, but not much else for something bigger like another garment. To contrast this, I wanted to test out a really nice, soft and shiny Carolina blue fabric I got in New York, of which I had plenty of quantity for this and probably at least one more garment. The result is shown below.


During the design and assembly of this garment, I was too focused to be stepping back to take a look. First regret right away was that I should have trimmed it with some white. A white collar, cuffs, or even a strip of white along the horizontal bottom of the yoke would have been a real nice touch.

Somewhat “fortunately” for me, I don’t have to carry those regrets for a couple of reasons. One is that while the original blue was magnificent in shine and smoothness, I can neither steam nor flat iron out all the tiny wrinkles on this dress shirt! That was a huge disappointment. I should have tested it before. It’s not like the wrinkles are big, but the thing is on a sharp dress shirt, the little wrinkles matter. All kinds of men wear crappy dress shirts that fold like bags on their shoulders or otherwise and nobody cares or thinks it’s inappropriate or disappointing. Yet, they will with wrinkles on this dress shirt. It’s all about expectations management.

The fit was also a tad tight around the neck. I think somewhere in the ironing the thing shrunk! It doesn’t have to by much given how beautifully fitting I had this pattern down. Otherwise, it’d have been lack of craftsmanship to miss by a quarter inch here or there, possibly along those folds of the placket where one miss has double impact due to folds. All in all, this dress shirt is going to just decorate a wall in my kitchen sewing space. Disappointing, sure, but I’m looking on the bright side that even my garments gone bad aren’t looking too shabby!

Sewing Area Small Labeled2



1.   High contrast 6
2.   Non-generic colours 7
3.   Interesting colour combinations 8
4.   Tone or big bold prints 7
5.   Symbolism 7
6.   Good fit 5
7.   Asymmetry 6
8.   Creative cuts 6
9.   Practical wear and care 4
10. Memorable look 6
  1. There is some contrast with the blue and black.
  2. Sky blue is a bit rare among men’s garments.
  3. Sky blue and black isn’t that generic.
  4. The brocade has a nice dragon and phoenix on it, not bad size.
  5. Chinese brocade with dragon and phoenix.
  6. Barely with tightness on the neck.
  7. The dragons and phoenixes were picked out to oppose asymmetrically.
  8. Flat yoke is at least a cut.
  9. Fail here with the wrinkles and just hard to iron the blue part.
  10. Not a bad impression, but probably some impressions made when seen.

There’ll be a redo of this probably next week, with more punch colours, contrast and a third colour. It’ll just be a matter of which colours from my stash. 🙂

Please click here to read more of my fashion writings and garment making.

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