Hot! The “Andrew Wyeth” Shirt

There are so many lovely pieces of art one might choose to inspire an item of clothing. I’ve no doubt this week will be filled with colorful clothes for most of us. But it is late winter and the artist that most epitomizes that to me is the mid- to late-twentieth-century American painter Andrew Wyeth. For those of you unfamiliar with Wyeth, here are a few of his paintings as reference.

As you can see, he works largely in grays, browns, creams, tans, and whites. In other words, February and March in the Midwest, though his landscapes are of Maine. I happened to have in the stash a length of sturdy cotton in an odd gray that I knew I wanted to turn into a casual buttondown shirt that would go with jeans, a straight black skirt (which I guess I will have to make at some point since I don’t have one), black pants, or, if I want to get a little more vibrant than a Wyeth painting, bottoms in colors like red, pink, orange, or ivory.

I had to buy thread and buttons (oh my, it is not easy to match this gray!) and I’m quite pleased that among the only three or four syles of buttons Jo-Ann’s had in gray, there were these little sweeties that more or less matched. Sort of. Well, less in the photo than in real life. I swear.

The shirt came together very easily and I know I will make it again. The pattern has three different lengths and four different sleeve options and could be made with any number of fabric types and patterns, making it very versatile.

Here I am striking a portraity pose by a window, an homage to Wyeth’s wonderful ability to render natural light in his paintings.

And when it came to pictures, I just couldn’t resist trying to recreate one of Wyeth’s famous portraits of Helga Testorf, painted in 1979.

The Facts

  • Fabric: 2 yards heavy cotton
  • Pattern: McCall’s 5433
  • Year: 2007
  • Notions: 8 buttons
  • Time to complete: best guess is 5-6 hours
  • First worn: February 11, 2012
  • Wear again?: Yes. This is already getting a lot of wear.
  • Total price: $13  ($5 fabric, $1 pattern, $5 buttons, $2 thread)


Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


Comments are closed.

  1. Thanks for introducing me to Andrew Wyeth. His work is captivating. Your shirt is handsome and well tailored, and that shade of gray is a perfect representation of the sentiment in Wyeth’s painting.

  2. Great shirt! I love Andrew Wyeth’s work. “Christina’s World” makes me deliciously melancholy and want to choke up every time I see it, and I have a whole book called “The Helga Pictures”.

    And those buttons are little treasures!

  3. I love it Erin, really beautiful shirt and I love the photos. The buttons are great and add that special touch of uniqueness.

  4. I love Wyeth and this is such an awesome way to render his images. Beautifully done. The Helga pictures are some of my favorites.

  5. What a great idea! I love the shirt and the buttons are, indeed, sweeties. Very lovely.

  6. Nice and simple-just like the paintings. It looks effortless and I like the tunic length. I also like the buttons. I think this is the pattern I’m using for my next challenge-we’ll see how easy it is for me to pull together!

  7. Gorgeous artist to choose, very simple and brilliantly interpreted, and those buttons are perfect.

  8. Erin, great pattern, and color scheme. Thanks for sharing such an interesting artist with us. I really like her color palette and your inspired look.

  9. I’m nearly speechless here…Love the inspiration and interpretation. So great!

  10. Marvelous inspiration, and so perfectly interpreted. I love it so much. You would have made a fabulous Wyeth subject!

  11. Great shirt! I especially love those buttons. And great way to interpret an artists work.