A tricot shirt: neck band doesn’t lie flat.

This is the fabric that I made all previous shirts for:swap 42 hhgttg ipad cover
Katzentritt by Susanne Bochem/ SUSAlabim for the European brand Lillestoff
Both drafting a pattern and learning to sew with jersey were done just so I could cut into this expensive and quality fabric and make myself something.

This is the shirt and it went all wrong the very end, at the neck band:
sewing self drafted t-shirt tee shirt Katzentritt jersey tricot stretch stitch Janine 425S

Last week, at sewing lessons, my teacher commented that I tend to stretch my jersey bands too much, they should be put in a tad looser. You put together the fabrics, at about 4 fingers width, and then the garment fabric should be loose enough for one finger to poke through.

After preparing the neckband I noticed I once again had made quite a tight band. One could easily put two fingers between the garment fabric and the band. So I opened up the neck band again and put in an extra strip, carefully matching the pattern.
I put it in the neckline, using a stretchy stitch (which sews triple, stitch G on my Janome 425S) and, knowing it would be looser, topstitched immediately. With another stretchy stitch that sews triple, the “straight” stitch A on my machine.
Turns out it was too loose. The band does not lie flat against my skin.

After consulting with textile friends there are at least 3 solutions for a neckband that doesn’t lie flat, apart from ripping it out and cutting a new, longer band:

  1. cut away the band and make the neck opening a little wider. Use same band.
  2. open up the band a bit and put in a bit of elastic which will sit the top.
  3. take the band at the shoulder seams and fold the tops into itself a bit. Making the edge circumference smaller. Secure with thread (or topstitch).

Because I had done a nice bit of pattern matching at the front I opted for the elastic:
sewing self drafted t-shirt tee shirt Katzentritt jersey tricot stretch stitch Janine 425S
Nice! Little ripples are visible but that’s beginner sewing for you: small steps, small mistakes but already nice things are happening and the garment is very wearable.

Trying out how tight the elastic should be:
sewing self drafted t-shirt tee shirt Katzentritt jersey tricot stretch stitch Janine 425S
When I was content I sewed the elastic flat onto itself, making sure it wasn’t twisted anywhere. I put it back in the band and closed the little hole I’d cut into the band with neat little stitches.

Now all that remains is topstitching the sleeve cuffs and grade the seam allowance there. I’m confident to sew tricots now.


needle case from scrap fabric

With this new machine it’s so easy to thread the needle, sew a seam and cut the thread. I’m playing around making fabric out of scraps and trying to sew a needle case. It’s a try out for a swap on Ravelry, at the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

I came across a marvelous blog which promotes playing with fabric and the sewing machine: 15minutesplay.com
So that’s what I did, early this morning, just 15 minutes of playing with scraps I took from the bin.

scrap fabric quilt 15minutesofplay indigo dyed linnen
Wonderful! I’ve never done a thing like this. Nothing remotely “quilt-y”. I like doing this! It’s not very neat but I was assured on the blog that it didn’t need to be. It’s bound to neaten up a but when pressed with the iron, these seams were pressed open with fingers.

The fabric is indigo dyed linen. It was dyed during a workshop from Wolop.nl¬†and I’m using the fabrics for a fitted skirt at the moment.

Now I’m looking to use this little craze scrappy fabric as a front for a needle book for myself. Using this tutorial from Instructables.com for the general idea: http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-sew-a-needle-book/ and glancing at these two for binding the edges or making them beautiful with piping. Both are from So Sew Easy which seems to be another site that promotes the fun and the skills in sewing.

Binding edges tutorial

Piping tutorial

I’ll update this page as I progress.

I’ve got the shell fabric, the batting and the lining (plain linen):

I sew in the wrong order and have caught the batting in between the right sided fabrics, in the small stitch that I used for this seam:

I turn the project right side out anyways. The batting is not caught everywhere, I had cut it a bit smaller than the fabric. I’ll try and rip or cut it free:

sewing a needle case

Reasonable succes. The edges are a bit “hairy” here and there but I can live with it. Rather than ripping the fine stitches seam.

Topstitching with a longer stitch. I chose a pale grey instead of the white working thread, just so it would not demand too much attention.

Oh. I forgot to add the closure elastic when I sewed the layers together. Have to think up another closure.

I’ve got some cotton that was dyed when we were dyeing the indigo. We were doing shibori and that requires thread. I’ll use that and make a braid:

new machine: Janome 423S

I entered the present time:

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I brought my retro ’70 machine to Rijkers Naaimachines in Veghel and they explained it really is beyond salvage. It only sews backwards. For a reason. It’s busted and slammed stuck in reverse. It cannot be repaired. Bye bye cute retro Senwa:

If I wanted they had the modern equivalent of this to sell to me. The Janome 423S.

The 423S is mechanical machine, not a computerized Diva with sensitivity issues. And one with more features than a more basic type, this one can do button holes, has an adjustable pressure foot and a whole extra series of stitches.

The ladies at the drafting pattern lessons will be so proud, they’ve insisted for two years now I get myself a machine with at least a zig zag stitch.

The saleswoman gave me an extended explanation until she was sure I could take it home and play around with it without frustration. She suggested I make a drawstring bag for the foot peddle. An easy project that invites me to explore the machine. A wonderful suggestion! ¬†ūüôā

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine VeghelJanome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I got to learn threading the needle, filling a bobbin, various stitch widths and foots. It’s a free arm machine.

There are special stitches on there, I used a decorative one to sew down the edges: Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

The Janome 423S has a whole set of extra stitches and one of them is a straight line that is sewn threefold. Nice and sturdy! I tried it out to reinforce the draw string opening:
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I don’t know yet what to do with the loose threads. Just cut them? I am having sewing lessons now and will ask tomorrow. The machine has all kinds of nifty things. How about a thread-through-the-needle-putter?

Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

I installed us in the upstairs room. I feel sewing!
Janome 423S Rijkers naaimachine Veghel

the practise shirt I sewed last June

Last year, at my drafting course, we took our block and made it into a pattern for a dress shirt. Just before Summer break I sewed it. Out of a cheap cotton from the market. This is the blog post I wrote then:


There are few things I feel unsure about. I was told to swivel the bustdart into two waist darts. And the little dart that goes from the apex to the arm pit too, the one that most big busted women need.
It has left me with a rather sharp angled arm hole on the front panel:
Schijndel bloes

At the back I’m putting in a yoke and have brought the shoulder seam forward by cutting off a piece from the front panel and attaching it to the back panel, literally. But I wasn’t told I should ease the curve in the armhole. It has quite a dent in it:
Schijndel bloes

Never mind, don’t go changing anything. Just sew as is. It’s for study.

Sewing steps. Following David Page Coffin’s book: Shirtmaking.

cut with 1,5 cm seam allowance. Aii! this fabric is slippery!

at 1,3 cm from the edge:

right up to the staystitching. All curved edges (neck, arm,) and things on the bias (yoke, shoulder seam).
Schijndel bloes

Due to bringing the bust darts to the waist my side seam is now on the bias too…. clip it? I don’t think so, it’s not supposed to add fullness… clip it a bit because it will add fullness and I don’t want the edge to interfere with the seam.

long seams while guiding the fabric through, keeping it at a little tension. This is to avoid that the dog feeder at the bottom will take more of the fabric at the bottom than the fabric on the top.
I also have a Hemmed Seam foot on my antique Singer machine! yeah! Mr. Page Coffin really wants me to use it.
Felling foot on my antique Singer foot treadle sewing machine.

Рshorten stitch length. Seam stitch = 2 mm; top stitch = 3,5 mm. Edge stitch is close to the edge, 1,5 a 3 mm. Topstitching is done further from the edge.
– adjust seam guide on sewing machine: from 1,3 cm to 1,5 cm.

5. DARTS IN THE BACKPANEL. Important points are only marked with pins, doublechecked with pattern and then sewn. From the fat part of the diamond to the points.
Schijndel bloes

6. YOKE TO BACK. Back sandwiched between the two yokes. Ai, the backpanel is 1,5 cm wider than the yoke and the pattern. The fabric was so slippery when cutting. I’m putting in a pleat/gather. Making the back panel top fit the yoke bottom:
Schijndel bloes
Schijndel bloes
Grade the seams, keeping the one at the outer yoke the largest.
press upwards
edgestitch outer yoke to seam allowances (fold inner yoke back as not to catch it).
Schijndel bloes

I had forgot to clip the upper edges of the yokes so thought to do so when they were already seamed to the back panel. Only I clipped dangerously close to the seam! So I sewed another seam close to it.:
Schijndel bloes
Now pressing upwards and edge stitching. Letting the pressed seam run in the middle of the little foot prong, the one on the left. Doing so the edgestitch is 1,5 mm from the edge.

7. FRONTS: darts and facing.
These darts are huge. Are they meant to remain like this or should they be graded and the edges treated? I guess so but I’ve resolved to just do as I’m told on this blouse, to learn the most that way.

finish edge of facing: fold under and stitch.
Attach facing to buttonband. press, apply interfacing. Press again, remembering “turn of cloth”: don’t fold at the seam but allow the frontpanel to fold over.

front to inner yoke. Grade seams.
Fold outer yoke over. One side doesn’t fit nicely… the staystitching is showing, even after getting it apart again and redoing it.
I’m adding a decorative seam to the other side, so they at least look a bit more similar.


Assemble collar and stand and attach them.
Argh! This fabric is way too slippery, I didn’t manage to cut decent collars.
Didn’t manage to draft decent collars either… I don’t understand the explanations we got in the lesson very well.

Just drafting them as the homework told me they should. Using sewaholic’s tutorial and Page Coffin’s book for guidance in the sewing. Here’s a nice video for another method, attaching collar to stand and then them to the shirt.

here’s a good tutorial for drafting a stnd andcollar! By pattern cutter Emily Tao in the UK

I don’t understand the bottom of the sleeves… they are curved. While the cuff is a rectangle. Where should I place the placket? Leaving it.
this is my template:
placket sewing shirt sleeve placket
this tutorial by Sewaholic

I then did sew it. I combined the tutorial above with instructions from Page Coffin, page 103. I placed it 6 cm from the sideseam. Ignoring biased cut sideseam and curved bottom edge, just going by grain of the cloth.

The side seam is stil open. Placing sleeve in armhole, right sides together. High top is the point of reference.
Pinning sleeve cap in place, with sleeve on top. Pinning at the stay stitching (= seam line), not at the cut edge.
To the back side the sleeve fits perfectly. All the extra circumference is in the front. Trying to ease it in at only the top front, not the front bottom.
there will be pleats… but I’m not rotating the sleeve, the high point is meant to sit at the shoulder “seam”.

I clipped it way too much, I misunderstood Page Coffin about the staystitching. Cannot make this into a decent felled seam. Just folding it once, finishing it with pinking shears.

Hmpf. The upper yoke has a different dimension than the lower one. The staystitching and clipping is showing on one side. It’s ok, this will be a practice shirt.

12. Hem.

13. closure: buttons. I don’t have any. By now the shirt was so clearly a study-shirt that I didn’t bother putting in buttonholes, buttons, a zipper or snaps. I would just pin it shut along the CF for fitting.

FITTING at the last day of the class.

Bodice fits well. Nice and smooth across the shoulders, enough room at the bust. Waist darts look awful though. They also run right up to the apex.

The sleeve is uncomfortable at the shoulder, due to to shape of the armhole in the front panel. At the natural shoulderseam the dent was too obvious. Sleeve width down the arm is ok as is the cuff. A bit too long, the sleeve. Sleeve placket and all topstitching is neat.

Never ever work with this slippery fabric again for a dress shirt.

My teacher drafted a new collar for me, as I had not understood the directions well enough. We amended the armhole a bit.

See next post for pictures.

Failed: Trousers in dark grey linen.

My drafting lessons this Summer ended with a final fitting of my practise trousers. CB had to be taken in a lot at the top. My teacher divided some of this to the side seams which have now become too shaped to my liking (I’m very straight at my sides).

Therefor I have taken the skirt pattern, which I developed over the Summer and which fits me well now, and have laid it on top of my trousers pattern. I’ve taken the main lines and measurements from my skirt and only the CB and CF and width of legs from the trousers pattern. I then drafted all the pattern pieces from that: yoke, waist band, pockets.

Over the past few weeks I took these SEWING STEPS:

  1. inner pocket
  2. waist band put together with its interfacing (non-iron). Including top stitching.
  3. staystitching
  4. attach yoke to back panels.
  5. sew the long seams, adding biais band to catch the raw edge
  6. zipper, good videotutorial from Threads here with excellent photo tutorial from Itch to Stitch here
  7. waist band
  8. fit.


bad at sewing trousers...bad at sewing trousers...
The pocket openings “lubber” terrible… even though they are reinforced.

And the waist band… is too wide. Again?? I keep keeping trouble with the width of my waist band. Even though it too is reinforced and shaped checked and double checked and fitted onto both the pattern and my body.
bad at sewing trousers...
It can be the woven cloth that duped me, stretching. I also remember sewing Centre Front, at the zip flap, freehand. Perhaps I veered off to one side, adding wearing ease. The sideseams of the waist band do not match those of the legs precisely either. All of the above together?

The back sits alright. That yoke is designed while drafting, just a straight line getting rid of waist darts. Not sure about its succes in real life:
bad at sewing trousers...

The fabric is woven linen, meant for curtains. It frays quite a bit. So I was careful with handling it and I enclosed most of the seams with biais band:
The back yoke, the side seams, the inner seams. Pretty much everything is enclosed.

I sewed a jeans zipper successfully, following¬†this tutorial¬†by Itch to Stitch. Very good. I feel confident about jeans’ zippers now.

The inside before installing zipper. CF is closed (basted at the fly) and the seam is enclosed in biais band.

I’m laying this aside for now. I want to start on a shirt. I think I’ll take these trousers to a sewing teacher to see if it can be salvaged. The waistband is not fixed permanently yet and can be easily ripped free. Then we can rearrange the front parts, while I wear it. Perhaps it can still become something wearable.

finished a lined linen skirt, on the bias

paarse linnen rok
Linnen, cut on the bias.
First picture shows accurate colour.

Waist band, pockets in side seam, lapped zipper in side seam:
paarse linnen rok

Lining with a rolled hem and french seams. Attached at waist band and zipper.
paarse linnen rok

Sideseams sewn, folded flat and sewn again. Finished with pinking shears.
paarse linnen rok

Pockets weirdly low as I tried to stay clear of the zipper. Next time trying to combine the two.
paarse linnen rok

There’s tape in the side seam, to prevent stretching. It has a double function in catching the lining. Later on the waist band is put over these three layers: fabric, lining, band.
Sewing skirtspaarse linnen rok

Everything was staystitched too, as soon as the fabric was cut. Fabric cut on the bias will stretch otherwise.

Lapped zipper, my first.
I’ve worn this skirt a couple of days now and some of the bits need refinishing. The end of the waist band popped loose, for one:
paarse linnen rok

Fabric cut on the bias wears very pleasantly. I want to make more.

sewing the Hoezee skirt

I showed my orange practise trousers to my teacher and I learned:

  • how many parts there ought to be to a zip fly
  • that indeed the side seam of the front panel can be more curved than that of the back panel but not as much as I had
  • that we had to take the waist in quite a bit
  • that I prefer loose pant legs. Even with stretchy fabrics I don’t like the restriction over my upper legs.
  • how to fold away any remaining darts at the front.

These adjustments I put into my pattern and some into my block. Then I made it¬†into a skirt pattern, with fly zip and jeans pockets. I’m now sewing this so I have a skirt to wear (I desperately need a practical skirt, made from canvas) and to practise sewing fly zip and pockets.
With this skirt I can see if the pattern is truly ok now. If it is I can use it to sew linnen trousers, from the fabric I bought at the Stoffenspektakel. The Summer trousers I’ve been longing for.

sewing steps:

  1. trueing and walking the paper pattern: making sure all seams attach nicely to each other and have the same length. Indicating notches at convenient places such as hip line, seat line, CF, CB etc.
  2. pressing the fabric and then cutting. I’m doing 1,5 cm seam allowance. Making sure there are no big dots or spots on inconvenient places such as the crotch. Pocket insides are cut from thinner cotton. No interfacing for the bands, this is sturdy canvas, I think it will be enough on its own. Besides I’m done with fusible interfacing, I melt it all the time and I don’t feel like sewing in interfacing for this project. The waist band will get a stay band sewn into it, to prevent stretching.

These are the pieces I have now:

pattern pieces skirt with pockets and fly zip

I have the feeling there’re not enough pieces here…

Let’s see: back panel, front panel right, front panel left, yoke, waist band front left, waist band front right, waist band back twice, second¬†waist band front left, second waist band front right, stay tape for the waist band, hook and eye closure for the band, two pocket visible parts, two zip fly parts, one zip guard, one zip, pocket inside left and right.

There needs to be two more pocket insides and perhaps another zip guard.

3. staystitching curved bits I want to keep in shape while I handle them: waist band, yoke, pocket curves. (it feels kind of ridiculous to do this, to spend the time and the thread. I’m still doing it though, because I’m too much of a beginner to know what’s important and what not.)

Sewing practise trousers


My practise trousers, from an old bedsheet my neighbour gave me. Here are the notes I made:

preparing the pattern

I trued the paper pattern pieces (or so I thought). Changed the waist band so CB wouldn’t have that sharp angle. I changed the angle to 3 small darts and then folded those away:
proef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousers

Pressed my fabric and am ready for cutting.

first question: are yokes on trousers in double fabric? Running upstairs to look at husband’s jeans…. they are not. They are on gentlemen’s/gentlewomen’s dress shirts. Here’s an informative article about yokes in clothes on general: http://thecuttingclass.com/post/5540217278/basic-yokes

There’s so much to learn about constructing clothes, I love it!

cutting the fabric

Punched holes in the paper at all significant points. These are where notches are located in regular patterns I guess. Placing paper on top of the fabric, weighing it down with whatever I have laying about (scissors mostly)

I touched each hole with my permanent marker. I then removed the paper and drew in the seam lines with ball point. Repeated on the second layer of fabric.

Cut out with wide seam allowance, about 2,5 cm/ 1 inch. I could cut a bit rough since my seam lines are marked so clear.

I tailor tacked the point at Centre Front where the zip flies end. Right on the seam line.

sewing steps

following Angela Kane’s video tutorial about sewing jeans. She runs an excellent site! AngelaKane.com

Starting with staystitching the top of the front panels, including the pocket curve. Realizing my pattern pieces look odd, I didn’t cut out the pocket hole in the front pocket. Doing this I realize my idea of a pocket of 7 cm wide and 10 cm high is nice but is placed too high in these trousers, I’d never get my hand in. I elongate the side pocket entrance to 13 cm. This looks comfortable and looks better too, it makes the lines in the trousers longer. (They won’t be deep pockets though. But interesting to see what these lines do for my silhouet. And whether these pockets might bulge.)

proef broek practice trousers

Before I staystitch now I need to sew the darts in the front panel. They’re still there, I couldn’t fold them away.
Before I sew in the darts I sew together the front seam, from zip fly to crotch, now that the two pieces of fabric are still matched up so beautifully.

done all that, next step: cut of the fly extension from the left front panel.


things ended up weird. My fly extensions were way smaller than Angela Kane’s. There was no room for topstitching or attaching Right Front Zip Guard (which pattern piece I didn’t even have).
I suspected my drafting course was aiming for a different zip than a jeans fly zip. I ripped out all seams and did what I thought was good.

proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers
proef broek practice trousersproef broek practice trousers

I now have a zip that’s covered, both at the front and the back. But these practice trousers now have the raw edge of the zipper tape visible:
proef broek practice trousers
Normally a zip peeks out from under the folded side of the Left Front Panel. This fold hides the edge of the zipper tape. Behind the zip is a separate piece of cloth, coming from that same Left Front Panel, that prevents the zipper teeth from touching your bare belly.
The zipper is sandwiched between these two parts and the weird thing is that the front part that’s folding back is only a few mm wide. The back part sticks out a couple of cm, it ends up covering the width of the part of the waistband with the closure up top (button or clasp).


right pocket is too wide. It’s also supposed to be caught in the zip area but I’m already past that phase. I don’t know what my teacher wanted me to do. Today I just shorten the pocket a bit and secure it with the waist band. Next trousers will be better.
proef broek practice trousers

Couldn’t zigzag over the edge of the toppocket part. I pinked it and gave it two rows od stitching:
proef broek practice trousers

BACK YOKE and pockets if I had them.

didn’t remove the pins from the back seam, the lower part. The two parts are still matched up beautifully.

Side Seams.

pin carefully, using the notches (aka hip line point etc.) Pin, sew, neaten, press to the back, topstitch.

wait, I wanted felled seams.

pin wrong sides together…..pff, they don’t match up very well. Here it shows how impottant it is to have the front pockets in the right position. That’s it, I’m done for the day.

next day: that’s quite alright, pinning the WS together. Means I get to do an easy fitting after basting them together.

Ah, but my seam line is marked on the WS so will be pinning RS together after all.

huh? sideseams don’t match at the top. Both front panel and back panel do seem to follow the pattern pieces exactly but Back is 1,5 cm shorter than front.

Trued the pattern, from “zithoogte” to bottom om waistband there’s indeed a difference between front and back piece….


Shortening the side seam frontpanel to match the back. Need to adjust the waistband then. .. well, it only needs 1 mm more width to cover the new curve. But the shape does need to be different. Cutting new pieces of front waist band.

t komt toch wel heel nauw hoe de pas op het achterpand wordt vastgezet. na spelden eerst kijken of de sideseams nog overeenkomen met het papieren patroon. Dat is nu niet zo dus ik heb het verschil gemiddeld in de naalijn.

back seam

sew, clip, pink, press.
Not topstitching yet, I discovered during pressing that I hadn’t followed the exact sewing line on one side:


Which is weird because the two pieces were still pinned together from when I cut the fabric. They were never apart.

I’ll try it on for fit first and then, if it’s ok, I’ll topstitch.

inner seam.

join at crotch, pin, sew…


there’s a huge difference at the front panels, where they meet up at the crotch. ?? I must have matched the cutting edge instead of the notches. How weird. I did some more weird things yesterday. Don’t sew when tired.

I can follow the right line but now the right front panel is a tad higher in the waist then the left one.


waist band

made a new pattern piece for the front. Making up for that too much height in just the side seams of the front panels. Adjusted block too.

Added facing. Forgot to put in a stay.

The Back seam of the waist band doesn’t line up properly. I divide the difference and sew down the middle:

proefbroekproef broek practice trousers



It’s a pair of trousers…. the first ones I ever made, apart from that muslin.

It’s quite wide at the top. Too roomy. The fit at the back is not good. Yoke is weird. Panels under the yoke are weird. Going to show my teacher and ask for advice.

Width of legs is¬†ok? Not sure about the upper legs though, gotta ask my teacher.¬†Could have a bit more flare in my linen trousers from this pattern. It isn’t very comfortable to sit in, the back rides down and it’s tight around my upper legs.

It doesn’t do my behind much favours. I have this beautiful curve in my lower back and then small buttocks and slender legs. Trousers should use that. These ones are quite baggy and hide these features. Especially from the back, it looks more like “mom-pants”.

Also, I think it should sit higher, at my waist line, not at the widest part of my tummy.

Overall not bad for first trousers. I’m really looking forward to having a fitting and hearing some professional opinions.

I like the look of the elongated front pockets.


door aangepaste (verkorte) sideseam voorkant de tailleband opnieuw tekenen. En 2 x uitknippen + 1 x verstevinging. Dus 4 x in stof en 2 x in vlieseline of in stof



next time

stay stitch waist band and yoke before construction

smoothen shape of waist band. Less pronounced bumps.

enlarge zip fly extensions. add zip guard. Follow Angela Kane’s Jeans Zip Fly – Ultimate Guid- Video Tutorial

Drafting trousers using the block

I’ve got my block. On paper I’ve got the steps I need to take to transform it into a pattern for trousers. Let’s get to it.

  1. copy block
  2. decide on wearing ease for the legs. This is from the horizontal hip guide downwards, I’m not changing the wearing ease upwards. I have one pair of trousers, linen, and their wide legs are 56 cm in circumference. My block is 40,5cm. I’m choosing 45 cm, for a pair of linen Summer pants with a bit of flair. I’m adding 1,1 cm to each side seam (curving it to the original line at the inner side seams). Plus a seam allowance of 1,5 cm should I want more width.
  3. waist how high? I want it in my waist line, but only at the back. Decrease 2 cm at CF and sideseams. None at CB.
  4. facing or waist band? waist band. With my sway back it’ll be always a band. 4,5 cm high. Well, what do you know, the band is as high as the triangle I had to take out at CB to accommodate my sway back.
  5. darts. usual people can make them disappear into the waist band and the itty bitty left over dart can me ignored or transferred to the side seam. I’m not sure since my darts are still pretty long and pretty wide. I’ll leave them in and ask to my teacher for comment.
  6. front pocket. I drew in a standard pocket: 10 cm wide, 7 cm high. Below the waist band. Standard jeans pocket. Then I measured the pocket on my comfortable linen trousers and found they are 7 wide and 10 deep. I like the look of these, they are slimming. I’m changing my pocket. The pocket consists of three pieces. I folded away the dart that’ll be still in the outer shell.
  7. zip facing. Add 2,5 cm to CF, this goes under. Facing stays above the curve in CF, the zip will be a short one. I’ve got one from 11 cm long (measured the teeth alone), from an old skirt. It matches the length of the zip on the linen Summer pants I’ve been wearing for 20 years now. The 11 cm is just the length between the waist band and the curve in CF. Mark 2,5 cm on the inside of CF, this will become the facing. I’m just drawing it in the shape I see a lot on the internet, haven’t got a clue otherwise. Watch tutorial about sewing a faced zipper. Angela Kane is very good.
  8. back pocket. Not doing one.
  9. yoke at the back. Frontseam 4 cm, CB 6 cm. Fold dart into it. If any dart is left you can fold it away in the side seam and CB. I have a dart left of 5,5 mm wide and 2,3 cm high.¬†I move half of it to the side seam and half of it to CB. O my, so many yokes are possible! It’s a real design feature, apart from making the dart disappear. I made a bit of a straight yoke, I’m afraid. By default I made the line cross CB at a straight edge. Not the most flattering look it seems. Shall I alter?
  10. belt loops. Make 5 or 6, on the waist band. Look online how. Study where to place them.

Now to true the pattern. Just making sure¬†all the curvy bits share the same curves (yoke and back panel, yoke and waistband, pocket and front panel etc.) With all the copying a curved line is bound to differ from the mate it’s supposed to match.

Next: sew a practise garment. I’ve got some bright orange bed sheets left. I’ll sew for fit and to gain some experience. If fit is alright I’ll sew up a real pair of trousers in one of the linens I bought. (Here are some photo’s on sewing the yoke with a felled seam.)

My existing trousers have a different pocket shape from standard jeans:

There’s even a front yoke. I like these trousers very much. The elongated pocket shape elongates my short figure. And the pockets are at a convenient height, I love to casual put my hands in them. In my pattern I chose the same shape of pocket but they are placed higher up since I didn’t dare to do a front yoke on my very first trouser pattern (and sewing).

Folding away the dart for the inside layers of the pocket:

Weird dart on the right, at CB, for sway back. Luckily it falls right within the waist band:

I’ve never sewn pants before. Only the muslin and the orange block toile. I’m going to watch tutorials about sewing pants from Angela Kane. She’s very good!

Sewing some parts of the Birds in Shoes Shirt.


Using this tutorial from Sewaholic. Excellent work and site.
sleeve sleevecap fit shirt arm hole
I used fusible interfacing on this one.

I made the mistake all novice sewers make:
dreint a collar
I clipped too close to the edge and/or used a pointy thing to try and make a nice point.

Next time I’ll employ one of the tricks I found on the web. One is using a surgical clamp to get a good grip on the point before turning it inside out.
The other one is this beauty, from Off the Cuff, a blog about expert shirt sewing by Pamely Emy:

using a temporarily thread to catch the point.

collar point technique by Pamela Emy

Off the Cuff is a great site with expert information on sewing dress shirts.¬†I’m sorry mrs. Emy doesn’t blog anymore, due to health issues I believe. I hope she still sews and has many good days.

My collar point topstitched:
dreint a collar


I inserted my Crazy Comfortable sleeve pattern. I now think that the reason they¬†actually work so well is because they’re on the bias… not so much because of the crazy pattern (wide flat shoulder cap. I say “flat” but it’s actually concave.) Anyway. Sewed them in. Pressed good. Added a single needle top stitch to secure the seam.

Now pinking the left over edge:

How are these seams finished on high end dress shirts? Surely not serged/overlocked. Felled seams probably. Ah yes, I’ve found some things on the net, one of them, again, an excellent instruction from the Off the Cuff blog.

I’ve now ordered the book on which Sewaholic based her collar-tutorial was: Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin.

51wyjnjldbl-_sx401_bo1204203200_ I hope to learn much from it.

Zipper placket.
It’s not done, a zipper in a shirt. But my machine can’t make button holes and I don’t like to make them by hand. Not yet anyway. I’m sewing a zipper.

I’ve attached a separate placket for it. Did some folding to get the sequence right. The precise cutting I do was very helpful, I could just lay the edges against each other (“flush”?) and treat them as one.

First I attached the zipper to the front and the placket. Then I folded back the front and the placket and sewed a nice top stitch line. Which wrinkled as I progressed with the needle:

Because you should always press. Duh.

After pressing it looked better and it sewed much better too:


You could press the plackets first, to bring some idea of purpose into the band:

Collar stand.
Upon fitting I saw how awful and weird the button plackets looked as they went up vertical above the zipper. Following the Centre Front line right up. Because that’s where all the buttons were supposed to go in the original pattern. I amended the pattern to not have overlapping plackets. But I didn’t amend it for height and it looks awful with the zipper not closing the gap all the way. (and you don’t want a zipper all the way to the top)


I also found out that the collar stand I had cut¬†didn’t fit the neck line anymore, it was too short. Don’t know how that happened as I followed the Knip pattern for the neck exactly because I hadn’t learned anything about necklines or collar (stands) yet.

I solved both by folding back the button (zipper) placket. Something else Not Done in sewing. It’s more of a dirty hack than anything else and I’m not proud. But it gets me a front that works and by now this shirt has become a wearable¬†practise shirt so here goes:
Fold away and topstitch in place. Awful. But functional.
Now I’ve got an acceptable shape at the front edges. (note to self: a next shirt with a zipper needs it to close a bit higher. About 5 cm.)

Now I could attach a collar stand that fits to that, I learned how to draw one at drafting lessons last Monday. No need though because the original collar stand now fits again, if I shape the rounded edges freehand. (Something else that’s going to get me in trouble. Symmetry is very important at this point of the body.)

Todays task is to finish those round edges of the collar stand and perhaps assemble the collar to it. Again using Sewaholic’s tutorials.

dreint a collar

I’ve trimmed the seams on the inside of the collar stand a bit. It was six layers thick and it will receive three more layers from the collar. That’s just too much difference from the single layer of fabric that’s the rest of the shirt.