Two women standing side by side in two views of 211 Middy tops.  Woman on left is wearing View A which has a simple squared neckline made in a light tan linen with a blue binding at neck.  Woman on the right is wearing View B made in raspberry voile.

The Middy Shirt has been a fashion classic for over a hundred years, although it has been a part of naval tradition since the days of sailing ships.  Its popularity peaked in the 1920s when newly-liberated women wore Middies for active sports and with skirts for more dressy occasions.

Flat line drawings of two views of middy top. Both views show front and back views.


Our View A is a very simple garment worn by British seamen in tropical climes.  Traditionally made of a white cotton twill with blue binding around a square neck, the Shirt featured short sleeves and a self-patch in the back.  The neck binding can be made from the same fabric or a contrasting fabric (perfect for nice scraps of fabric).

Young man wearing View A of Middy top.  Sewn in blue chambray. Top is short sleeved and has square neckline.Close up back view of middy top view A.  Shows details of self-patch on back of shirt.Side angle of young woman in light tan linen middy top View A.  Shirt has dark blue binding around square neckline.
Chambray Fabric (left and center) European Linen (right) both from Folkwear

In the 1920s, View B was worn for school, office and sports, paired with a pleated skirt.  Comfortable and practical, it has been popular fishing and camping wear for decades.  A square Middy collar, short set-in sleeves, band cuffs, and a side buttoned hip band, detail this popular shirt.  A tab below the V-neck opening catches the contrasting scarf or tie often worn with this Middy.  Instructions for neck tie are included.  Heavy to lighter-weight fabrics are great for this view.  And try a contrasting fabric for the sleeve cuffs and/or collar. 

Woman in light blue voile middy top View B.  Optional white neck tie is worn with top.Back view of woman in View B.  Shows squared color.  Woman is looking over her left shoulder.
Organic Cotton Sheer Volie from Folkwear

Suggested fabrics:   Views A & B: Medium- to heavy-weight cotton, denim, cotton twill, and blends; rayon; heavy-weight silk; wool challis; knits.  View B, also: Wool flannel; pinwale corduroy. But, lightweight fabrics can work also - they just make a lighter, breezier shirt.

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.

Molly is just made a new Middy top (View B) using a floral lawn, and it is lovely.  I love the prints that Liberty of London offers and the lovely feel of their fabrics.  Bolt Fabrics always has a nice selection of Liberty of London lawns.

Liberty of London Floral Lawn


This peach striped seersucker fabric would be lovely for either view of the Middy Top.  The light weight breath ability will be a great choice for summer weather. Hart's Fabrics has this available for you!

Close up photo of peach colored cotton seersucker fabric. Fabric has thin white stripes spaced closely together.
Peach striped seersucker fabric


Oak Fabrics has some beautiful corduroy, and this one by Merchant and Mills would be beautiful (we have a tan version in our store for a more neutral/sporty version). 

red corduory fabricHarrisa baby whale corduroy


We just received a shipment of new fabrics here at Folkwear. I love the feel of this 8 oz. denim and can't resist listing it seeing as how the pattern calls for denim in the fabric suggestions.  It really is quite lovely and would be perfect for a denim version of either of these shirts! 


 Washed Dark denim on bolt.
8oz Merchant & Mills Washed Denim

We also have some lovely linens and a chambray available in the Folkwear fabric shop - all of which would be great as either version of this pattern.