Tag Archives: button down shirt

Simplicity 1538 (Again!) in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

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Simplicity 1538 (Again!) in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

Hey…I bet you guys are going to be super surprised…I made Simplicity 1538!  Again!

Simplicity 1538 Shirt In Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

It’s good to know I finally have a TNT (Tried ‘N True) pattern.

This version is made from Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel in the Peach colorway with pearl snaps from Pintuck & Purl.  Thread, pattern, and interfacing came from Jo-Ann Fabric.

This shirt has the same added length (two inches) that my last one had, but for this version, I also used the pockets and front yoke in View A.  I swapped out my favorite buttons that look like pearl snaps for actual pearl snaps, something I’d never worked with before.

Simplicity 1538

Here are my notes.  This fabric has a very subtle right and wrong side.  It’s actually made up of red and ivory threads, and one side is a little lighter while the other side is a little redder.  I chose the lighter side as my right side.  Either would look great as long as you are consistent (or intentionally inconsistent, I suppose).  It also feels like a lighter weight flannel than the Mammoth Plaid I used for the last shirt, although it’s the same weight according to the Robert Kaufman website.  It also feels a little bit softer to me.  I did prewash and dry my fabric, but it may not be a bad idea to throw this one in twice, just to be safe.  When I finished the shirt, I noticed that the front near the bust is very slightly tighter than I would like.  You can see it in the picture at the top of the post.  It could also have been the addition of the front pockets and yokes or maybe, as Maggie at Pintuck & Purl pointed out, the difference between using pearl snaps and buttons.  Who knows?  It’s not something that will keep me from wearing the shirt, but it’s definitely interesting.

Simplicity 1538 Shirt In Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

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Simplicity 1538 Shirt In Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

During construction, I used flat-felled seams for my arm and side seams.  They definitely aren’t perfect, but I think topstitching and seams like these are just some of those things that take practice.  Overall I tried not to get too picky and only ended up redoing my topstitching in one or two places.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

I also tried out the triple stitch on my machine.  I know Lauren of Lladybird has talked about loving that more than using topstitching thread, so I thought I would give it a try.  It really does create a beautiful stitch.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

For another interesting detail, I used a coordinating quilting cotton for my cuff and collar stand facings as well as for the undercollar.  I wish I had more of these quilting cotton prints.  I won a few in a giveaway around the time I started to sew, and they coordinate with so many things.  Unfortunately, I don’t even know the company, designer, or line they are from.  Do any of you?

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

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Simplicity 1538 Shirt In Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

By the time I took this picture, the snow was getting to be a little much, but it gives you the idea.  Below is a clearer picture.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

Finally, pearl snaps.

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

I used size 16 ivory snaps for this project.  I was given the gift of my husband’s grandmother’s sewing things when she passed away, and I found two different kinds of snap setters among the bounty.  One is this blue plastic setter.  I looked around on youTube for a tutorial on how to use it (which was harder to find than I expected), and I gave that a try on some scrap fabric.  I also tried out this metal setter using directions on the back of some vintage snaps.  That was the tool I liked the best, and the instructions were excellent.  I got all of my snaps in without too much trouble with the exception of my first one, which cracked due to insufficient padding underneath it.  Lesson learned on that one!

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

So here’s my shirtmaking question for you.  When you are putting in your cuffs or collar, if you are instructed to pin the facing down from the outside and then topstitch from the right side, catching the outside and the facing in the topstitching, are you successful?  If you are, how do you do it?  I’ve given up and now I just hand-stitch those facings down and then topstitch on the outside because I could never catch the whole facing.  Thanks for any help you can give on that!

That’s it for this shirt!  I have some more Robert Kaufman flannel that I was going to use to make one more, but I’m trying to force myself branch out.  We’ll see what happens!  My latest thought is maybe Simplicity 8014.

Recommendations:

  • Ticket to Ride.  Have you ever played this game?  You try to build trains to complete your goals (“tickets”).  The more tickets you complete, the more points you get!  It’s a lot of fun.
  • Grandma’s House Patterns.  I can pass a lot of time looking through all the past and current sewing patterns on this website.  It’s also exciting to threaten to make some of the funnier styles of decades past for friends and family!  😉
  • The Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies from childhood.  As soon as I saw this Labyrinth worm pin from The Foxy Hipster, I knew I wanted it for my growing collection, and one of my friends got it for me for my birthday!
  • Lexi’s.  Fortunately (or unfortunately) there is one both next to where I work and within a relatively short distance of where I live.  The burgers, shakes, and fries are awesome.

 

Tiger Shirt!!!! Simplicity 1538 Perfected

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I’m so excited to share my latest project with you today.  I LOVE this shirt.  There are two reasons I love it so much.  The first is this awesome Cotton + Steel pink tiger fabric.  The second is the fit!

Simplicity 1538

Ping of Peneloping was my inspiration for this project.  Her tiger shirt is amazing (as is everything she makes), and it set me on the quest for my own tiger shirt.

You may remember my first attempt at this pattern, made from a vintage sheet.  I really loved that shirt.  It was beautiful, except for being too tight across the back.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

I also realized, in trying it on before making this one, that the darts were slightly too high.  Luckily, I had just learned both how to do a broad back adjustment AND how to lower darts.  After doing both of these things to this pattern, I think I may have found my perfect casual button-down…and I have worn it a billion times since making it.  I’m actually afraid of wearing it out.

This post is going to get a bit technical in the hopes that it might help someone else out there.  I won’t go into lowering a bust dart because The Curvy Sewing Collective blog just did an excellent post on this.  You can find that here.

I will, however, show you pictures of the major broad back adjustment I did in case anyone else is working on learning how to do this.  I showed how I did this on a princess-seam shirt in this post.  Today’s shirt, Simplicity 1538 does not have princess seams, but does have a yoke in the back.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Now is the time to skim if you don’t care about the technical aspects of this project.

As before, I used the information in The Perfect Fit, part of The Singer Sewing Reference Library.

Singer Sewing Reference Library:  The Perfect Fit

Because I knew my back measurement, I could measure the pattern to see how much width + ease I needed to make the shirt comfortable when sewn up.  The pattern was 15 inches across the back.  I needed 17 1/4-17 3/4 inches in order for this to be comfortable on me.  (I mention how I measured for this in this post.)  This meant I had to add 1 1/8-1 3/8 inches to this pattern piece (since it only represents half of the back).  I decided I would try adding 1 1/4 inches with a major broad back adjustment (rather than a minor adjustment, which just adds a little width to the back armhole curve).

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

Here are my pieces before alteration:

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

I have a full yoke piece and a half bottom back piece.  I folded the yoke in half so that the edges of each side could be adjusted simultaneously (and hopefully identically).  You’ll see that my yoke is narrower than the back bottom piece.  That’s because there is a little bit of gathering below the yoke on the center back.  As the shirt is sewn, they become the same width.

For the major adjustment, I taped the yoke to the bottom piece of the back so I could work on them as one.  I made sure to overlap them by 5/8 inch to account for seam allowance.

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

Then I drew a line from the middle of the shoulder seam down to the waist and parallel to the grainline.  (I’m more or less quoting from the book, but since you may not be able to read the picture in the book, hopefully this will be helpful.)

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

 Next I drew two horizontal lines perpendicular to the one I had just drawn.  Line number one went from the middle of the armhole over to my first (vertical) line and line number two went from about 1 inch below the armhole to my vertical line.  Since line number one coincided with where the yoke joins, you can’t see it, but I’m pointing to the two new lines with my fingers in the picture below.

IMG_6Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538967

 Next, cut out along the lines you just drew so it looks like this:

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

 That little ‘almost rectangle’ you have is what you will slide out the amount you need for that half of your shirt (so, it’s half the total amount you need across your back).  In my case, I slid that piece over 1 1/4 inches.  The book notes that the maximum you should slide it out for sizes smaller than 16 is 1 inch.  For 16 and up, you can slide it a maximum of 1 1/2 inches.  Since I had cut a 16 at the bust and an 18 at the waist and hips, this worked for me, and would give me a total amount of 2 1/2 inches across my whole back when the shirt was cut out.

Once you slide that piece out the amount you need, place some paper beneath it and tape it down.  It helps if the paper extends out beyond the edges of your pattern by the armhole and side seam since you will have to redraw those areas now.

I found this part kind of tricky.  I felt like I was making it up as I went along, but here is what I did.  I used my curved ruler to redraw the seamline itself, and then I added my seam allowance in afterward.  I just sort of slid the ruler around until it seemed right.

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

I also had to redraw the area below the armhole, blending the armhole into the side seam.  Again, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, so I took my best guess.  Then I cut out my altered pattern pieces (back bottom and yoke).

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

Major Broad Back Adjustment on Simplicity 1538

Because my yoke piece was actually a full piece that I had folded in half to do my alterations on, I had to make sure that I had the correct and identical alterations on both edges.  Don’t forget to move any markings (like notches and dots) to an equivalent place on your altered pattern pieces.

A really great thing about this alteration is that it doesn’t change the length of the shoulder seam.  If it did, I would have to adjust the front shoulder seam as well.  The length of that seamline wasn’t my problem, and neither was the size I had chosen.  The width of the shoulders in the back was the issue (and one I also have with store-bought clothing in woven fabrics).  This alteration completely fixed that, and now the shirt is wonderfully comfortable across my shoulders.

Simplicity 1538

The other thing that I did was to lower the front dart by an inch.  I found my information for how to do that in The Perfect Fit as well.  As I mentioned above, The Curvy Sewing Collective did a great tutorial on this very thing.  If you find that dart height is an issue for you, you should check out that post.

Even thought I’m not going into the details, I will show you how my front pattern piece looked after I moved the dart down.

Lowering a bust dart on Simplicity 1538

Lowering a bust dart on Simplicity 1538

I’m glad I didn’t go any lower, and I was a little nervous that the inch had been too much, but after wearing the shirt often, I think it turned out great.

Simplicity 1538

Technical details now finished.  Time for pretty pictures!!!

We found the best background for these shots, and it was actually sunny, too.  All that color + sunshine makes me happy.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

And one little fabric and topstitching close-up.  Love those tigers!

Simplicity 1538

Wow!  That was the most technical post I’ve written in a long time (or ever?).  How about some fun?

Recommendations:

  • I’ve got another podcast for you!  Now that I’m out of school, I’m discovering that history is interesting.  😉  I can see how valuable it is to know the past because then you understand why things are the way they are today and how you can avoid the mistakes of the past (hopefully).  It’s also just interesting.  I have long loved “Stuff You Missed in History Class”, but now I have to add “The History of English Podcast” to my list as well.  I realized I was really into it when I went back to episode one and started binge-listening.  It’s not about technical things like grammar, but more a broad history lesson about how languages are related and how the English of today came to be.
  • Have you heard about Me Made May?  If you are a seamstress/stitcher/sewist you should check it out.  It’s a personal pledge to wear your handmades throughout May.  You can challenge yourself to wear one for the month, one every day, or all handmade all month.  It’s whatever you choose.  I participated last year and loved it, and I’m planning on doing it again this year.
  • One of my librarian friends recommended the movie “The Woman in Gold” to me.  (Thanks, Laura!)  It’s the story of one of Gustav Klimt’s most famous paintings, the family it belonged to, and justice long after a wrong had been committed.  Here is the trailer:

A New Button-Down Shirt: Butterick 5526

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It is a lovely, lovely thing to sew from a pattern you have made before and made positive fitting changes to.  I’m just learning how to fit things to my own body, and I used this pattern (Butterick 5526) for one of my first attempts, making a broad-back adjustment to it before trying a first draft.  In making this second shirt, I didn’t change anything.  Someday, someday, I will try a swayback adjustment, but since I can wear the shirt comfortably without it (and the fabric pools in my back, where I don’t normally see it), it just doesn’t feel as urgent.

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526

Butterick 5526

The real feature of this edition of the shirt is this cool fabric.  I got is last summer at Field’s Fabric in Kalamazoo, MI.  If I remember correctly it’s from Robert Kaufman fabrics, and is a cotton.  Here’s the cool part:  it’s not actually purple.  It’s a trick on your eye.  The fabric is made of red threads woven perpendicularly to blue threads, and your eye sees it as purple.  Color theory in action!  (For an interesting read on color, page through Josef Albers’ book entitled Interaction of Color.  Mind blowing!)  The weave also gives the fabric a fascinating effect (I want to say “iridescent”, but that’s not quite right) in the light.

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

I chose to topstitch this shirt in red and used plain red buttons.  I searched high and low for cool, unique buttons, but in the end, these seemed right.

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

In future editions of this shirt, I’d like to use French seams inside, but I was sort of afraid they wouldn’t make it around the curves and I would get lumps.  However, Lauren of the blog Lladybird is the one who I copied convinced me to try this pattern after I saw her many versions, and she uses French seams, so I should give it a try, too, perhaps.  For now, let’s pretend the insides of my shirt, which I finished with a zigzag stitch and which consequently frayed in the wash, are a “design feature”.

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

And lest you think I’m aiming for the “moody” look in these posts, I’ve been sick all week, and I was still recovering when I took these (and the next few posts’) shots, so it might show.  I feel like I have to say this because when I take blog photos now, I always hear my Grandma’s voice in my head telling me to smile.  I tried, Grandma!

How about some “in progress” shots?

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

I’ve had this shirt done for a while and it’s gotten lots of wear.  The color is one I wear often, and the weight of the fabric is really, really nice.  It’s more substantial than my gingham version (which is not high quality fabric, really), and it feels like it will hold up a lot longer, too.  I love Robert Kaufman fabrics.  Even if I’m wrong about this being from them, I still love Robert Kaufman fabrics.

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

Butterick 5526; Button-down Shirt

I hope you all have a good weekend.  I’m already feeling better than I was yesterday when I took these photos, so that’s hopeful.  Now how about some fun recommendations?

  • Thanks to the Thread Theory blog for featuring the Strathcona Henley and Jutland Pants that I made for my husband along with some other amazing things created from their patterns.  Check out all the great projects!  The coats blew my mind, and I was definitely eyeing the shorts for ideas for the future.
  • Also on the Thread Theory blog, several cool videos on how various sewing items are made.  I really liked that the scissors they showed are still largely made by hand, and seeing how pins and needles are made was fascinating.
  • This music video by OK Go is CRAZY (crazy awesome).  They always have the best music videos.  Do you think they did it in one take?

As Promised: Butterick 5526 Women’s Button Down Shirt with a Broad Back Adjustment

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As Promised:  Butterick 5526 Women’s Button Down Shirt with a Broad Back Adjustment

Hi, friends!  Here we are today with lots of pictures and words on Butterick 5526, which is a women’s button down shirt.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526

Butterick 5526

After my last button down, which was a little bit tight through the back/shoulder area, I decided to learn about how to do a broad back adjustment and measure things on the pattern before I cut my fabric.  The ever-helpful Maggie from Pintuck & Purl put me on the right track, and I found my final and very detailed answer courtesy of The Perfect Fit volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library.  I cannot recommend these books enough!  One of the best parts is that they are often easy to find used at a very low price!  Mine were a gift, but I have bought one or two volumes that I didn’t have.

Singer Sewing Reference Library

Now is the point where things will get technical.  If you are just here for the pictures and general stuff, feel free to start scrolling at this point.  I’ll let you know when it’s over.

The book instructed me to have someone measure my back between the creases of my arms.

Making a broad back adjustment

I measured about 6″-7″ down from the prominent bone at the base of my neck.  The instructions said to measure 4″-6″ down, but I went a little lower so I could measure at the top of my arm creases.  My back width was 16 3/4″, and the book advised a minimum ease of 1/2″-1″ for a blouse, meaning my garment should measure 17 1/4″-17 3/4″ across the back.  The back width of the pattern was 16 1/2″, so I needed to add 1 1/4″ total or 5/8″ to the pattern piece (since the pattern piece was only half of the back of the shirt).

The book gives you instructions for making a minor adjustment and a major adjustment.

Making a broad back adjustment

Because of the amount I needed to add, I used a major adjustment.  The minor adjustment was appropriate for a total addition of 1/2″ for sizes under 16 and 3/4″ for 16 and larger.  The major adjustment is good for 2″ total in sizes under 16 and 3″ total in sizes 16 and up.  By ‘total’ I mean the amount across a full size back pattern piece.  If you are adding to a pattern piece representing half of the back, as I was, you would cut those ‘total’ amounts in half.  I chose the major adjustment because the amount I needed was more than the amount listed under the minor adjustment instructions.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

One puzzling part that I ran into is that the example shows a pattern piece without princess seams.  My pattern has princess seams.  I was a little worried since this was my first time making this adjustment.  What I ended up doing was taping the pattern pieces for the back and the side back together where they would be sewn together at the underarm and doing the adjustment across both pieces.  Then, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  The good thing was that, although I love the fabric I chose, it was also very inexpensive (it may have been around $3-$5 a yard), so if I really messed up, I wasn’t out too much money.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The above picture probably isn’t the most helpful because I set the pieces together after the fact.  I should have taken in-progress pictures, but I didn’t think of it.  Below are the individual back and side back pieces after the adjustment.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

After making the adjustment to the pattern, I cut everything out, and sewed it all up.  This wasn’t a difficult pattern, but I was really happy that I had my last shirt under my belt.  It helped me to have an idea of how long things were going to take.  Shirts have a lot of little steps, but they are really satisfying to make.  I followed the directions as written, with the exception of going back and zigzagging my seam allowances that hadn’t been topstitched down.  At some point I may use a more polished finish.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

In my initial tracing of the pattern, going by my measurements, I made a 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.  I found this to be very comfortable, and I wore it to the wedding I mentioned in the last post, but I sort of felt like there were little “wings” at the sides.  So, after getting home, I basted the side seams to be a little smaller, guessing how the shirt might have fit had I cut a straight size 16.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I was worried that it would be tight across the middle, but it’s not at all.  It still has plenty of ease, but it removes the “wing” effect.  For my next shirt, I retraced the waist and hip part of the pattern and cut it down to a 16.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The most technical parts are done!  Read on for less detailed information.  🙂

For others interested in making this pattern, I would say that this still has a fair amount of ease.  If you like your shirts to fit more closely, you may want to measure the pattern pieces and decide if you want to size down further.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

The less technical details of the shirt include pink topstitching.  I got some nice Gutermann thread for this.  I also found some crystal buttons at a nearby quilt store, Loom ‘N Shuttle.  I like the fanciness it gives the shirt.  😉

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I also cut the cuffs, collar, collar stand, and plackets on the bias.  I was hoping it would work out ok since I was going to interface those parts with a fusible interfacing, and it worked out great.  You can see that  a little bit in the picture below.  I really like the effect.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

I found out about this pattern by reading Lauren’s blog, Lladybird.  She has the power to make me want to try out just about any pattern, and she wasn’t wrong on this one.  I’ve got another one in progress with more of the fabric I bought last summer, and I’m contemplating future versions in basic white and black.  This pattern is a winner.

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Butterick 5526 with a broad back adjustment

Now I just have to go back and try the broad back adjustment on Simplicity 1538.  I think that one needs a larger adjustment, though, so I put it on the back burner while I work on a few other projects.

One last thing before I go…I love getting recommendations, sewing and otherwise, from other bloggers.  If you’ve ever listened to the While She Naps podcast, you’ll notice Abby and her guests sharing recommendations at the end of the show.  I love that.  So, when I have something fun that I am really enjoying, sewing or otherwise, I’m going to put it at the end of the post in case you want to try it, too.  This isn’t advertising.  No one is paying me to write this blog.  It’s just stuff that is fun for me right now or a really great reference that I like.  That’s why I’m going to call it:  This is fun now…at least until I think of a better title.  Feel free to suggest titles–I’m listening.

This is fun now:  Today’s recommendation (other than the Singer Sewing Reference Library) is an etsy jewelry shop called Adam Rabbit.  I’ve been a fan for a few years now and my family has been nice enough to get me some of the jewelry in the shop the last few Christmases.  If you like chunky, rough gemstones and a style you might find in Free People or Urban Outfitters, you may enjoy this one.  The owner occasionally has deals for Instagram followers, too.  Enjoy!

Simplicity 1538, The Button-Down Shirt

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One of my current sewing goals is to learn to make button-down shirts.  I’ve tried drafting one before, courtesy of the instructions in Cal Patch’s pattern drafting book, but I wanted to learn how to sew one from a commercial pattern and, hopefully, fit it.

My first long-sleeved attempt is Simplicity 1538, View A, minus the studs they recommend on the front yoke.  I made a size 16 in the bust and graded out to an 18 for the waist and hips.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Because this is my first attempt at this pattern, I found a bed sheet in my stash that I liked, and used that for fabric.  It seemed like the best way to go before trying out more costly fabric.  Interfacing came from my stash, but I think the time is soon approaching when I’ll actually have to go out and buy more of that!  The buttons (and they are buttons, rather than snaps) were a drama all their own.

These are the same buttons that I used in my orange shirt, and I had one left.  I really loved how it looked on this shirt, so I went to Joann’s to get more.

And they had one package of three buttons.

I needed 10 buttons.

So, several days later, I drove down to another Joann’s and looked through all their buttons.  I didn’t see a single package.  I was nearly ready to leave with my other supplies, when I decided that, since I had come all the way down here, I should just ask.  And I got the lady who stocks the buttons!  She explained how the buttons were organized and helped me find what I needed.  They actually had four packages that I had managed to overlook.  I know!  Sad on my part.  I only needed two packages…but I bought all four since they were on sale (and I was worried something would happen and I would need/want more).  So that’s my story.  😉

Now back to the pattern!  The fit is great, except…the shoulders are too narrow for me.  You can see the strain at the edges of the yoke and in the shoulders in the front.  The next time I make this, I’ll try out a broad back adjustment.  I’m tempted to do it on this pattern and try turning it into a popover shirt, which would mean cutting the front piece on the fold, rather than as two pieces, and inserting a partial placket down the front.  I know they are kind of sewing-blog-trendy at the moment (check out Dixie’s and Sallie’s), and I pretty much got sucked in.  Now I want one, and I keep envisioning some of my fabric in popover form.  It doesn’t hurt that Indiesew just posted a tutorial on putting in a partial placket.  Maybe it’s destiny.  😉

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

Despite the shoulder width problem this is a very wearable shirt.  I really like it, and it fits my style.

The one change I might make to the directions is on step 47 (yes, there are A LOT of steps–I will never take a button-down shirt for granted AGAIN!).  It tells you to press under 5/8″ on the neck band facing, but I think next time I’d try just pressing under 1/2″.  When sewing from the outside, I didn’t catch hardly any of the facing in my top-stitching , and I had to go back and sew the facing down by hand.

Despite that, making this shirt was fun and I’d do it again.  It was a billion steps, but skill-wise, it was at my level, and I’m proud of my work.  The inside looks great with a few French seams and a few bound seams (similar to the orange shirt, but just a little better), and I think the topstitching turned out well, too.  Also, the way they have you do the yoke is pretty darn cool.

Simplicity 1538

Simplicity 1538

I’ve traced out a pattern for a princess seam button-down (I blame Lladybird/Lauren–she makes me want to copy her ALL THE TIME.), and I’ve been looking into the popover option.  These plans may get sidetracked by Christmas and *gasp* sewing for others, but we’ll see if that really happens.

In case you want a look at what is tempting me to sew for someone beside myself, you can check out Thread Theory’s Jutland Pants and their Strathcona Henley.  Maybe I’ll actually sew something for my husband! 

The other big temptation is the new sewing patterns for girls that Megan Nielsen just released.  I was a pattern tester for the Mini Tania Culottes.  Check out what I and others made in this post on Megan’s blog.  She also released patterns for Mini Virginia Leggings and, my favorite, the Mini Briar Sweater and Tee.  I think that Mini Briar pattern is calling to me, especially since Megan gave her testers all three patterns as a thank you.  I love a new pattern!

 

Project Day!

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Today was project day.

Drinking coffee and getting to work!

Drinking coffee and getting to work!

I usually reserve Monday mornings for blogging and for projects, but often it’s just the blogging and maybe some photography that happens.  When I planned out my time to start this blog, I found little pockets where I could write posts, but still haven’t found my rhythm for continuing to make new work, write posts, and take care of my family.  This year is for attempting to figure some of that out.

I realized that I was sort of stuck with my creative projects.  There was one that had me stumped, and when that happens I tend to avoid working on things.  It sort of feels like a roadblock to getting anything done.  My roadblock was some vintage pants I was altering.  So, after gathering advice and thinking about the problem for a long time, I decided to take the easy way out so I could get them done and move on.

Vintage wool pants

The pants in question

I got these pants pre-kids and, even then, they were snug.  In fact, they met their demise when I wore them one day, sat down, and split the butt seam.  (Luckily, I was on my way home, so I didn’t have to figure out a creative fix at work.)  Anyway, in the end, I decided to let out the seams, but that meant that my waistband was now too short.  I tried adding an extension to it, but it wasn’t quite long enough, and there were some other reassembly problems that I ran into.  That was when I decided that the most important thing was being able to wear them again.  So, I finished the top edge with single-fold bias tape that I already had, which also makes the waist less high and more comfortable for me.

Here they are!

Wearable again!

Wearable again!

Vintage pants

It’s so nice to have these wearable again, just in time for the colder side of fall and the coming of winter.  They were, I think, originally meant to be ski pants, so they are made of handwoven wool from Ireland, and are lined inside.  I won’t say they are the most slenderizing pants out there, but I love that blue on blue check, and that they are warm and cozy.  I also think fashion is more fun if it’s just a little bit weird.  🙂

The pants were the only project that got finished (well, I fixed a hole in a jacket, so I guess that got finished, too).  The other two projects are in-progress.

I have a little bit of a long-sleeved shirt shortage, so I’m trying to alter some shirts I got last winter to fit better.  These two are going to be sewn together and then reverse appliqued a la Alabama Chanin.

Shirts soon to be sewn together

You can see the other shirt where I folded up one of the sleeves.  Both shirts came from Lands’ End.  They are basic t-shirts and are the same style.  Both are inside out and safety pinned to one another so they can be sewn together.

Two shirt sewn together

Here is a detail after sewing.  I used the t-shirt/bolero back pattern piece from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin as my guide for the side seams.  I laid it over the pinned shirts and used chalk to trace around it.  Where the side seam touched the armhole, I tapered to the wrist opening (you can sort of see that above).  Once the two shirts were sewn together, I cut off the excess fabric.  Next, I’ll work on doing the reverse applique.  I’ve made a lot of the patterns from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design as basics in only one layer of fabric to test them out (although I have been using my machine, rather than hand-sewing them….I hope Natalie wouldn’t be disappointed 🙂  ).  I’ve really come to love and trust her patterns and working with knits, which I was always afraid to do before I discovered the Alabama Chanin books.

The other project I worked on was a muslin (test garment) for a shirt pattern I’m developing.  I mentioned before that I had gone through Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch.  While I’m starting to get the basic ideas, I still need a lot of practice.  I’ve made a button down shirt pattern before, but wanted to make another pattern and then make some variations from there.  This is the test garment for the initial pattern.  Here it is so far:

Muslin for a button down shirt pattern

I found a cute sheet to use as my muslin fabric at the thrift store, so I’m hoping that even if this isn’t perfect, it will still be wearable and I’ll get two shirts out of the process.  Once I put the cuffs on, I think I can try it out.  I’m not great at fitting and transferring my corrections to my pattern, but I’ve been reading up on it, so I need to give it another try.  I loved the first shirt that I made, but it wasn’t fitted as well as it could have been.  It’s all progress, right?

Hopefully I’ll make some good headway on these projects sooner rather than later so I can share them with you as they get finished.  I’m looking forward to showing you how they turn out!