I conquered the shirt. In plaid.

I was watching Pamela Howard’s shirt class on Craftsy and she was saying that you shouldn’t make your first shirt out of plaid fabrics. Or stripes even. Admittedly, this is not my first shirt. I’ve made the JJ before, it had button bands, continuous sleeve plackets and a mandarin collar. I’ve also made an Alder which has a proper shirt collar. See? This shouldn’t have been a very difficult project.

I used a pattern from Burda 03/2015, size 38. It’s the one for the crazy show-me-your-right-hip shirt dress, but quite obviously I chose to make it a basic shirt using the JJ for length and hem shape. The shoulder are dropped – not something I usually go for, but I thought that it’s a good choice for a relaxed shirt. Now, even though the shoulders are dropped, the sleeve head is very curved, I’d say it has the same shape you’d see in a normal shirt. I was too lazy to go back to the pattern to check, but it’s easy to see there’s too much fabric there.

The fabric. The fabric! I think this is what is called double gauze, because it’s gauzy and it’s double. Really, it has two very light layers of fabric held together by crosswise lines of stitching. It’s spongy and it doesn’t behave, not even under steam. I pressed the hell out of it, but it always sprang back to its spongy nature. It’s even more obnoxious when cut on bias. But that didn’t stop me from cutting lots of pieces on bias, trying to center the crossing orange lines where possible.

  • one back placket
  • two button bands
  • cuffs
  • sleeve plackets
  • pocket

Do I have to say that I had to cut each individual piece at a time, just to make sure each is perfectly placed? That applies to the fronts, back and sleeves as well, as I wanted to make sure the horizontal lines match everywhere.

Ignore the thread that pops out of the pocket 🙂

I’ve put a lot of thinking into this and I’m happy with how it came out, but there are a few things that I could have done better:

– interface the button bands. The class and the pattern instructions say you don’t need it, because you already have 3 layers of fabric. But my fabric is light and spongy and totally nasty on bias and the edges curve slightly.

– I patiently block-fused a piece of fabric for the collar and stand. I didn’t realised I placed the interfacing on the right side of fabric until I finished fusing. I used it anyway for the under collar and stand.

– align the obvious black stripes on the collar. The squares on the fabric are more like rectangles, so even though I chose the black line as my center back, the corners of the collars ended up with a different pattern.

– I cut the stand in the wrong direction. See how the black narrow line is on the other side?

None of these bother me too much, but I thought it’s worth mentioning. For posterity 🙂

I’ve never made tower plackets before and I dreaded them. They weren’t very difficult. I can imagine making them in a crisper fabric cut on straight grain would be a piece of cake.

It was a first for flat felled seam as well for me. I’ve done mock flat felled on the JJ before, but this was the first time I’ve done the real thing. I did it only on the armhole seam though. By the time I got to doing the side/sleeve seam, the fabric was too frayed to have enough to flat fell. So I just serged the seam and mocked it again.

FUN FACT! I was in TKMaxx recently and found a shirt made out of the exact fabric, different colors. I loved how soft it was and the shirt was really nicely made, but it was too narrow in the sleeves and chest. At that time I though it was too wide in the shoulders, but they were probably going for the same look I was 🙂

Lots of top stitching on the details and they didn’t dare cutting them on bias.

Soon after the above picture was taken I found my fabric on myfabrics.co.uk. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to order it, as it was just weeks after ordering some other fabrics from them. And then, they contacted me! To ask if I wanted to make something out of their fabric. “Uhmmm, YES PLEASE! I want to make a shirt like the one that didn’t fit me. But better! With matching buttons“.

For all my moaning, this fabric is really great. It is a pain to sew, but what makes it so difficult to handle is making it a dream to wear. And this shirt was just meant to be.

Do you have any sewing coincidence stories? I hope they’re happy stories!


If you’ve had the patience to read all this, you might be happy to find that I have a myfabrics.co.uk voucher for you. You can use LIVINGROOM until the 19th of April to get a £10 discount for a minimum order value of £35.


6 thoughts on “I conquered the shirt. In plaid.

    • Thank you, Chris! It was very nice of them. I would never say no to free fabric, and I really like this shop. I have some boiled wool I bought from them around Christmas – It’s cut and it was going to be my February Burda challenge item. But then this shirt happened. February was too cold for that jacket anyway 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love your sunglasses!
    Just kidding, all that work, and matching! You are a hero to me!

    I have some plaid fabric sitting in my stash since like forever and I still don’t dare to touch it! I just don’t have the patience you had to match it! I am not a very big fan of cutting one piece at the time!


    • Thank you! I think there were almost 3 weeks from start to finish. Cutting the fabric was probably the most time consuming task, and then I kept delaying when I got to the sleeves, I was too scared of the plackets. Turns out they’re not scary at all! 🙂


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