Tag Archives: pearl snaps

McCall’s 6262: I Made a Western Shirt!

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McCall’s 6262:  I Made a Western Shirt!

American western wear is such an interesting subset of fashion. It can cover everything from the toughest everyday workwear right through to a costume worn in concert by a famous musician, with plenty of range in between. I think that’s what makes it so intriguing to me. I love the practical value of workwear, and western wear, in many cases, takes workwear and makes it beautiful in a way that even those beyond its natural boundaries can appreciate. Although I’ve never lived in the western United States, I’ve always been interested in this type of clothing, particularly western-style shirts. That one garment seems to have so much possibility. Take your basic button-up and add some shaped yokes and maybe shaped cuffs and you’ve got a blank canvas for as much or as little decoration as you like. You might choose to keep it simple or maybe you add piping, fringe, shaped pockets, and/or embroidery. I love seeing the different directions people have taken this in. And that’s why I wanted to try it for myself…well, that and the fact that growing up, I kind of wished I could be a cowgirl. I guess that never died. ūüėČ

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

I’ve been turning this over in my head for a few years, and collecting ideas on my “Sewing Inspiration: Western Shirt” Pinterest board. To be fair, in the past I did make Simplicity 1538, view A twice (first attempt, second attempt), which has a bit of a western style to it, but I wanted to try piping this time. Despite the fact that I wanted to go all out and fill up a shirt with embroidery, contrasting fabric, or other cool details, I decided to start simple with a shirt that had a shaped yoke and, hopefully, cool shaped cuffs. I settled on McCall’s 6262 a unisex Palmer/Pletsch pattern from 1992. This was advertised at “The Easy Western Shirt” with plenty of options, so it seemed like a good place to start. Looking at the finished measurements on the envelope, I decided on a size large, even though my actual measurements put me at an XL bust and XL/XXL hip. I found a used copy of the pattern on eBay in September 2020.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

The ’90’s and its love of positive ease in clothing meant I didn’t have to do a broad back adjustment, but I did grade out a bit at the hip to the equivalent of an extra large.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

Despite the millions of ideas I was interested in, I decided to keep it simple for this pattern and just add some piping and pearl snaps, and make the shirt in a single color of fabric. I think this was a good choice, because by the time I finally got around to starting this project in January 2022, I had really psyched myself out about the piping. Yeah, I really overthought it.

I chose to use a “flannel solid” in lilac from Robert Kaufman that I got for Christmas, and I paired it with spring green piping and white pearl snaps. View C was my choice, but I opted to skip the darts.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

I really wanted to try out that piping, even if I was worried it wouldn’t turn out right. The instructions were very good, with lots of tips for a quality finish as well as information on how to get the details you wanted.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

Despite my desire for “cowboy” cuffs (cool, shaped cuffs), I decided to let that go this time since it wasn’t included in the pattern. I’ll show you what I originally had in mind, though. Check out view A in this picture of vintage McCall’s 2118:

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
screen shot from an eBay listing, I think; McCall’s 2118
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
screen shot from eBay; detail of McCall’s 2118
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
screen shot from eBay; McCall’s 2118; this gives you a good sense of what the pattern piece for the cuff looks like

I had bought an issue of Threads Magazine* that explained how to add those cuffs to a shirt, but I knew that every deviation from the pattern would add to the time it would take for me to finish. Some people love hacking patterns, but I love following the directions (mostly) and finishing my garment. I buy patterns because it means someone has done all the problem-solving for me, and I can just follow along and make something cool. That can change based on the project, but for the most part, that’s how I love to sew. Every time I add a deviation from the pattern or something I feel nervous about making, it really slows my process down, and that bugs me, since I don’t sew especially quickly to begin with. Slow sewing can be fun, but usually I want that garment finished and on my body now!

By the time I actually finished this in March or April of 2022, I knew its time for that season was limited since spring and warmer days were around the corner. And then it sat while it waited to appear on the blog, so it hasn’t gotten worn much! Now that it’s cold again, I really want to wear it!

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

Thoughts

–This definitely has that ’90’s oversized look to it, but that makes it really comfortable. I like it better tucked in than out, but will wear it both ways.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!
McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

–This flannel is nice and beefy, as usual for Robert Kaufman flannels, which are some of my all-time favorites, but it is pilling a bit after only a few washes. I guess that’s just par for the course with cotton flannel.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

–I’m getting better at putting pearl snaps in, although I did crack one of them. Luckily, you can’t feel it, and it won’t fall out–it just looks cracked.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

–My piping, while not perfect, worked out pretty well for someone with very limited piping experience! I’m happy with it.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

My interior finishing on the yokes just involved pinking the seam allowances.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

It’s not my favorite finish since it will (and did) fray, but I knew it wouldn’t be able to fray beyond the stitching line, so it was fine. I also added piping at the cuffs.

McCall's 6262:  I Finally Made a Western Shirt!

Resources

As I said, I’ve been contemplating this shirt style for a long time. If you are also interested in this style, here are just a few of the resources and inspirational places I looked to get ideas as to the range of western wear. Hopefully there will be more of this awesome style in my sewing future.

~How the West was Worn: A Complete History of Western Wear by Holly George-Warren and Michelle Freedman…I really want a copy of this book, but the used ones are so dang expensive! This was a really interesting resource.

~100 Years of Western Wear by Tyler Beard…gives you a look at western wear through, as you might expect, the last 100 years up to the 1990’s

~”Go West! Why These Custom-Embroidered Cowboy Shirts Are Topping Our Fall Shopping Lists” by Kristin Anderson for Vogue.com, September 29, 2015…an interesting look at one company making modern custom western shirts

*~”Updating the Cowboy Shirt” by David Page Coffin, Threads #67, November 1996

Of course there are many more resources out there, but these are a few that I found particularly interesting.

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

Today’s post is a little bit different, but in a good way, I think. ¬†I want to share how to install pearl snaps since there seemed to be some interest after I posted my latest flannel shirt featuring pearl snaps on the blog and on Instagram. ¬†Obviously I’m no expert, but I tested out a few ways of installing pearl snaps, and this was my favorite.

Before we begin, let me just say: ¬†it pays to practice. ¬†I made sure to have extra snaps so I could practice putting them into scrap fabric before trying to install them in my shirt. ¬†Even so, I still had a cracked snap, but because I practiced, all the other snaps came out just right–all functional, and all in the correct location and right way out.

OK. ¬†Let’s get down to business!

 

Tools You Will Need

How to Install Pearl Snaps

  • Pearl Snaps
  • Your shirt or whatever you are installing your snaps in (I’m using a double layer of flannel for this tutorial.)
  • The cardboard–at least two thin layers
  • Hammer
  • Snap Setter
  • Water- or air-soluble marking pen
  • Pin

Here are some close-up pictures of the snap-setting tool I used.¬† It’s pictured above near the top left of my flannel square.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

The Process

First, make sure that you have at least¬†two thin layers of cardboard as a work surface under your snaps when you are setting them. ¬†I used a single layer of thin cardboard from a shoe box for my first snap. ¬†That snap cracked. ¬†Once I doubled the layers, I didn’t have that problem any more, thankfully.¬† Learn from my mistake!

Simplicity 1538 in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel

Before you install your snaps, lay out your shirt as you plan to wear it with your plackets or cuffs aligned and mark the desired location of your snap with your marker.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Next, put a pin in the place that you marked.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Holding the pin in place, lift your top layer and mark around the pin on the bottom layer.  This way the snaps will line up when you go to put your shirt on.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

There are four pieces to each snap:  the pearl part with prongs, the male part of the snap that is attached to the pearl part, the female part of the snap, and the back part with prongs that the female part attaches to.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

It’s a good idea to put the pearl side of your snap in first. ¬†That way you make sure the visible part of the snap is right where you want it. ¬†In order to do this, lay the pearl part of the snap on your cardboard with the prongs facing up. ¬†Lay the right side of your fabric over the prongs and facing the cardboard with the placement mark you made centered over the prongs of the snap so that it is in the middle of the snap. Gently push the fabric down (being careful not the stab yourself with the prongs) until all of the prongs protrude through the fabric.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

IMPORTANT NOTE (5/2/19):¬† According to the package instructions, you pair the female side of the snap with the pearl top and the male side of the snap with the bottom ring.¬† I have it reversed from what the instructions show below (I only just realized this), which works just fine, but you should be aware that that is what I did if it is something that will matter to you.¬† You can do it either way‚ÄĒin fact, you can even use a pearl cap with both your male and female snap parts if you are making a reversible garment.¬† All the instructions below are still good, just pair the pearl top with the female side of the snap and the ring bottom with the male side of the snap if you want to do it “by the book”.¬† Sorry for any confusion!

Next, carefully place the male side of the snap over the prongs and put the snap setting tool over the snap.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

The tool should have an indentation that will allow you to cover the snap without worrying that you will flatten the male part of the snap (and yes, it both makes sense and is completely weird that we are talking about male and female parts of a snap).  Holding the snap setting tool over the male part of the snap which is resting on the pearl prongs, hit the tool with the hammer several times.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Check to see if the snap has been pounded on enough by trying to slide your fingernail between the two snap pieces. ¬†If your nail won’t go between, you’ve done it! ¬†If it does go between, place the tool back over the snap as before and give it a few more hits with the hammer.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Good job!¬† You’re halfway there!

Now lay the back side of the snap with the prongs on the cardboard, prongs facing up.  Carefully line up your placement mark from the corresponding area of your cuff or placket so that the mark is in the middle of the prongs and press down on the fabric (again, trying not to stab yourself with the prongs) until all of the prongs come through.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

If you want to, you can gently lay the part that you already did over the top just to make sure things look like they are lining up before finishing the installation.¬† Now is also a good time to check that you aren’t putting the second part of the snap in backwards (I have done this).

Now take the female part of the snap and lay it over the prongs, placing the side with the deepest grooves down on the prongs.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

If you are unsure about which way to orient this part of the snap, here is something I found helpful.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

This is the side you want up (below):

How to Install Pearl Snaps

and this is the side you want facing down onto the prongs (below):

How to Install Pearl Snaps

Place the snap setting tool over the female side of the snap and hit it a few times with the hammer.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

Do the fingernail test again to make sure it’s been pounded on enough and then test your snap by snapping it together.

How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

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How to Install Pearl Snaps

It should be all set (ha, ha)!

There are multiple types of snap setters and you may end up liking another style better.  I chose this one because of the two I had been given, this metal one and a blue plastic one, I liked this the best.  If you have a favorite tool for setting snaps, tell me about it in the comments!  I love discovering new sewing gadgets!

Recommendations

  • This week I made Smitten Kitchen’s Black and White Cookies, and they were excellent!
  • This article from the Mood Sewciety blog cracked me up: ¬†How to Workout with Your Sewing Machine
  • Last week I watched the movie The Young Victoria about the years just before and after the start of Queen Victoria’s reign. ¬†It was such a good movie and really makes you admire both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as well as the force for good that they were together.
  • For your viewing pleasure, I give you Leonard Nimoy singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. ¬†I have a whole new view of Mister Spock now. ¬†ūüėČ

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! ¬†ūüėČ
  • 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.