Failed: Lila Dress Shirt

Based on Beige Beestjes Shirt I made a new pattern, with princess seams for better shaping at the underbust and looking for a better armhole. I sewed the shirt but the fit is so bad I won’t finish it.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.) fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problems are the armholes and that the shaping at the underbust is too extreme for the fabric. This petite busty woman needs more than two princess seams at the front. Right now the shaping on those two is too extreme and the fabric stretches and flares.

I did bring the Beige Beestjes Shirt up to a pattern with princess seams, both in the front and the back. Back is nearly good now, it just needs a little less curves at the bottom. (It’s not too tight at the arm hole, the tightness there is caused by the armhole and sleeve. But it looks weird, I agree.)

It’s getting better and better though. Combining this with “Loes’ bloes” from the previous post and I’ll have something wearable soon.

Process for Lila Shirt:
using Block April 2016, to find out if it’s ok. Basically a resew of the slippery cheap market cotton shirt from June 2016 that was a failure.

  • amendments: using “upperbust” (=93 cm) at the point that this pattern drafting methode uses “borstwijdte” which is right at the horizontal line at the armpits. This brings in the sideseam at that point, by 4×2 cm for the block. At the apex (nipples) I’m still using “borstwijdte”. Basically I’ve now used my upperbust and given the block a FBA. I found that each shirt drafted from the block was too wide at the armpit, just where I wanted the armhole to be fitted.
  • amendments: elongating shoulder seam by 1 cm
  • new shirt pattern from the block will have princess lines both front and back and a new sleeve and arm hole, derived from Beige Winterbeestjes bloes. I mainly need this block for better waist shaping (and the mentioned snugness at the arm pit horizontal line).
  • amend block to have a CB that’s not straight? Has the waist shaping incorporated instead? –> only whenever there’s a CB seam. Otherwise use two princess seams.

Still working towards the ultimate Dress Shirt Pattern for all my future shirts and any woven that catches my fancy. From Block to Pattern:

  • swiffel side bust dart to the waist dart, not to the armhole.
  • match front and back panel at the shoulder seams and make arm hole nice and round at the top.
  • 1 cm wearing ease at the side seam/arm pit
  • back shoulder side dart swivveled to shoulder seam (will become part of princess seam, no yoke this time). Not sure if the line is supposed to be at a square angle with the shoulder seam. I just assume so. Next: redraw the arm hole so it’s smooth again.
  • draw princess seam. Will smoothen
  • add wearing ease: 1 to 1,5 cm at the sideseam. Compare with pattern for Beige Winterbeestjes
  • neck CB -0,5 cm; shoulder seam -1,5 cm. Bottom CB + 3 cm, sideseam -2 cm
  • SA 1,5cm
  • frontpanel: swivveled side BD close and brought it to the waist dart. Swivveled arm hole BD to the princess seam in the shoulder. Left with an akward arm hole. Smoothened it and now have a front length of the arm hole of 19,1 cm. The length of the front of the sleeve cap is 22,9. I’ll never be able to ease that in, too much difference. (the original, awkward arm hole is 19,1 cm). I’ve folded away some of the width of the sleeve, with the emphasize on the sleeve cap. Front of that is now 22,1 cm wide, the back 24,0. That’s 4 cm more than the armhole. I’m going to try and ease it in. I think 3 is the maximum you’re supposed to do but if need be I can resort to a fold at the high point of the sleeve. I’ve drawn the line a little closer to the original awkward armhole, another few mm won. Also: I had widened the sleeve at the biceps with 2,5 cm. Half of that has now been folded away. I will do another sleeve adjustment to get that back. The shape of the sleeve cap will flatten even more as a result.
  • 2,5 cm van de mouw af voor een mouwlengte van 59 cm. Machet is 13 cm hoog, dubbelgevouwen, met manchetknopen. Nagetekend van mijnwitte bloes.

backpanel: dart to princes seam:

pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust darts

front panel: closing side dart. Making a princes seam to the arm hole results in terrible angled side panel (see pencil-finger-pencil). I opt for princes seam to the shoulder seam. pattern drafting Lila Dress Shirt bust dartspattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

that weird steep armhole again… rounding it off. Butn ow the circumference gets too out of line with the length of the sleeve cap. Settling on the middle line. pattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armholepattern drafting shirt Sewing darts armhole

I made some adjustments to the block, based on this shirt. One of them is lowering the shoulderseam at the neck by 1 cm:

fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

The main problem, other than the armhole, is that the extreme waist shaping a busty petite woman needs cannot be done in just two princess seams.
fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)fitting of handsewn self drafted blouse (it doesn't fit well. Too much shaping in too few princess seams. Also needs more wearing ease and lower armhole.)

I’m looking at designs with more seams, more panels, horizontal parts even.

Like these from DD-atelier and CarrisaRose:


my first “Loes’ bloes”

A top with a scalloped front. No opening though, it slips over the head. Gathered sleeves.

Pattern drafted at course, based on my personal block.

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Learned a lot. Still looking for a good arm hole + sleeve. This arm hole was cut 3 cm lower from the block. It’s about 1 cm too low at least. The sleeve should have been elongated at the underarm, I feel. Now it only allows for the arm to hang straight down.

Had to open the neck front more than initially drafted. I have a large head on a scrawny neck. The block is good for drafting tops with a wide neck or an opening (such as dress shirts) but it’s too tight when only regular drafting numbers are used for tops that slip over the head. Needs 5 cm more, on top of the regular numbers (1,5 cm at CF en CB here).

I feel the back has too much fabric lengthwise. The small of my back is not sufficiently accommodated. Yet my teacher showed that when arms are raised the back wil travel up. So fabric is needed. Perhaps additional shaping fixes the problem.

In the left front panel the bust dart is folded away: CF is not straight any more.

In the right front panel the bust dart is swivveled into a French dart. This one needs to have it end point about 5 cm lower, well below the apex. And at the side seam it needs to be lower too, about 10 cm.

used this tutorial form Sewaholic for the simple continious sleeve plaquet.


Finished: Beige Winterbeestjes shirt.

handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Finished the dress shirt. It’s wearable, yay!

Noting the problems:

I used the selvedge at the button band but now it shows at the underside:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

The shape at the arm hole needs to be taken a little in at the sideseam. The arm hole needs to be brought closer to the body at the underside. The sleeve then needs to be equally elongated:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
The steep corner at the front of the armhole isn’t actually much of a problem. Besides it being difficult to cut and difficult to sew.

Collar is a bit too wide:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
Probably the width I added when I thought it was too narrow.

The waistshaping is horrible:
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt
I’m converting it to a princess seam or to a panel with tucks or pleats at the underbust. Being petite with a small frame and having this proportionally big boobs just won’t make a nice fitted dress shirt with just waist shaping.

Little mistake: both sleeve plackets are the same. One closes the wrong way around. But at least they are both at the correct spot on the sleeve: the underside.
handmade outfit handspun vest mittens sewn shirt blouse skirt

Overall I’m happy. This is wearable!

Today I wear it with my fractal handspun vest.

a Fake Fur Crocodile

krokodil kussen crocodile plushkrokodil kussen crocodile plush

Free form sewing the ridges, remembering to pivot in two steps at every corner:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur
Only I made the mistake though of sewing with the Wrong Sides together. I had to unpick all this.

Much better, sewn with the patterned sides outside and then turned:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Those back paws look awkward though. They’ll have to go.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Two tips when sewing with fake fur:

  1. don’t pivot in one step at sharp corners, pivot in two. It makes turning easier and corners become more crisp.
  2. after turning rub the seam with something (end of scissors, a nail) to free up the hairs.

Here’s the turned seam with one half treated so the fur is free and one how it looks fresh of the machine:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

Handsewing on its paws and its felt teeth. The front paws are little pouches a well, they can hold things.
crocodile cushion Sewing fake fur

She loves it!
crocodile cushion

Bonus: cats really appreciating this fake fur:
crocodile cushion Sewing fake furcrocodile cushion

Sewing the Beige Winterbeestjes Shirt 2/2

COLLAR SURGERY because the collar was too wide, its base overlapped at CF.

determine points on stand where you want collar to end: on either side of the button band = 1,25 cm from CF

Plan: open up the collar on the raw edge, fold side inwards and fudge it so the angle of the points is steeper. Preserve the point but make the side come in faster.

collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloescollar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloescollar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

Attaching collar stand to the bodice, trying to match the new collar width. There’s really not much space in the bodice, with the zipper running so high:
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
Turned out nice.

Attaching collar to the collar stand. Sure a whole lot of layers in that collar stand. I did a lot of trimming after this photo:
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

This is how it turned out: collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes
That’s allright. Wearable, breathable. Way better than it was previous, where the neck ended too high and the collar stand overlapped as illustrated by the two red pins:


Detail of the sleeve head and the armhole. Why is the sleeve less wide than the bodice?
collar surgery Beige Winterbeestjes bloes

Next time I will finish the arm hole first and then ease in the sleeve. I’ll also amend the sleeve, adjust it for a wider biceps without altering the circumference of the head like this: Sewing sleeve adjustment biceps

a faux leather WIP bag (bunny + gun)

handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewinghandmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

A knitting WIP bag in the shape of a rabbit’s face and inside it has a gun.
The idea is that you tie the ears together if you want to really close the bag but there’s also a button hidden at the top.
For a knitter friend who loves bunnies, the colour black and who already has an awesome bag with the contour of a revolver in it, something like this:

I started with the side burns. The fabric is faux leather on one side and fake fur on the other. I’m using both sides of it in this bag.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewingfake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For working with fake fur I got two tips from a good friend:

  1. Don’t pivot your machine when making sharp corners. Add a straight stitch in between, it will make turning easier and give crisp corners nonetheless.
  2. After turning run something (scissors, nail) along the seam to loosen all the trapped fur hairs.

I made sure the “flow” of the fur works a certain way: you want to stroke these sideburns from the inside to the edges. The front and back panel of the bag are cut so you want to stroke it downwards when you put you hand inside. The two cheek puffs are also downwards (“vleug” in Dutch).
handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

Sewing the gun, RS together:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

This gun just wouldn’t turn, the muzzle was too narrow. I made another, with a wider muzzle, and made the sewing mistake of sewing both WS together. But it looked ok so I filled it up and attached the purple leather cord. Here with half turned first gun:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

After finishing the top of the bag panels I measure how long the strip with the ears must be:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

All parts together. Just need to sew the sidestrip (ending in ears) to the front and back panel. Remembering to insert the gun at some point.
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

Using French seams when attaching the strip to the panels:
fake leather bunny WIP bag fun fur handmade Sewing

For closure a button with braid embroidery floss around it: handmade purse wip bag fake leather bunny Sewing

sewing the Beige Winterbeestjes Shirt 1/2

Things to keep in mind before starting:

  • the fabric has direction: keep all iglo’s upright during cutting
  • separating zipper for closure: construct like a lapped jeans zip, with a guard made from the facing and a lap from the other front panel. Construct within the existing pattern buttonbands (except for the interfacing of the left panel). The buttonbands need to be 0.5 cm wider.
  • green thread for nice topstitching and edgestitching (collar, cuffs
  • pattern pieces do not have a seam allowance. Add 1.5 cm
  • how to treat the CB seam if you want to try it on for fit? temporarily attatch to yoke and front panels? Or make the pattern as is, since it will probably be wearable, and adjust the basic pattern afterwards?

sewingsteps to take:

  1. cutting
  2. staystitch
  3. clipping
  4. sew princess seams back panel
  5. sew yoke to back panel
  6. sew front facing
  7. sew fronts to yoke
  8. fit
  9. sew zipper and finish seams
  10. sew and attach collar and stand
  11. sew sleeve placket
  12. set in sleeve
  13. fit
  14. finish seams
  15. sew cuffs
  16. hem bottom
  17. final fit


1. cutting
adding seam allowance, 1,5 cm, by marking important points with a fabric marker or following my measuring device when cutting or cutting by eye.
Adding some tailor tacks to apex and dart points.

2. staystitching
at 1,3 cm from the edge, with cheap thread. Doing the top of the sleves, the armholes, the neck holes, the top of the yoke. Keeping that weird steep angled arm hole, just to try out with the sleeve I drafted:

3. clipping
postphoned until actual pieces are to be sewn

4. princess seams back panel
Trying out the felled seam foot on my sewing machine. Page Coffin is such a big fan of it, he says there’s no use trying to fell a seam by hand. I have no success in either yet, since this is the first time I try it.
My foot makes small felled seams: 5 mm wide. These are used on my commercial dress shirt on the side seams and the sleeve seams. The armhole seam is done with a very wide felled seam.
feller seam footfeller seam foot
I have especially trouble in the second run.

My try out, on the left by hand, on the right with the foot. Front and back:
feller seam foot   feller seam foot
I ended up just sewing the seams, pressing them, topstitch and pink.

5. yoke to back panel
done. It works very well when pieces are precision cut. Everything fits.

Grade the seams with the pinking shears:
adding a lapped zipper to a dress shirt

6. front facing
For treating the raw edge of the front facings I practised the rolled hem foot. It’s appalling. The round part cannot be done like this. Needs to be finished another way.

In fact, the facings are better off with rectangular shapes. Will amend pattern after this. Finishing: just tuck under, stitch, pink.

6.5 Button bands and zipper
This took some piecing and puzzling and making up my mind:

  • right front folds at CF, zipper peaks from under there.
  • right front facing elongates 1 cm (or less, 7,5 mm is ideal) to the left, functioning as zip guard.
  • at the top (at seamline, not actual top) the right front facing veers to the right to align with the front panel and dissappear together into the collar stand.
  • left front panel laps over the zipper, 1,25 cm from CF. Left from CF is another 1,25 cm = de button band is 2,5 cm wide.
  • left front facing is attached to front panel before attaching zipper, it reinforces the flap. Sew facing and panel together first, creating a seam at the outer (visible) end just like with jeans’ zip.

NB “roll of cloth” and have the outer panel dominate the inner panel at the seam. OR – reinforce the left front panel at the zip lap. use interfacing to catch the zipper and not have it touch bare skin, just like the right front facing does. Yeah, that’s more sensible. How to reinforce the left front then? iron on stuff = not my favourite… Is interfacing needed though? it concerns the 1,25 cm zipper lap… it is the weakest point of the shirt though both Page Coffin and my teacher recommend using it though. Iron on interfacing it is.

UPDATE: I got some brand iron on interfacing, weight 200, and it was way better than the brandless one I had before.

  • start with pressing CF line into right front panel.
  • position zipper, xx cm down from the top of CF (change of plan: zipper needs to end high, with the zippertape on the seam. Facing will not veer back. The whole will have to disappear into the collar stand.)
  • position right front facing, max 1 cm outwards from CF, press in place -attach interlining to right front, right facing and left front
  • check everything one last time
  • fold right front to the left so it’s fold under wrong side is exposed, on top of the righ facing (WS up). Sew together.
  • fold back, insert zipper and sew it. First to the facing alone just to position it permanently, then topstitch front through zipper tape and facing.
  • position left front panel so CF’s line up -determine where left facing should fold, as not to overlap with right facing this determines where zipper should be attached to left facing
  • fold over left front panel and sew it to the zipper and the facing with topstitiching zipguard, just 7 mm out of CF (CF = middle of zip in this case):

adding a lapped zipper to a dress shirt

adding interfacing:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band

Right facing sewn to front panel seam allowance. Then the panel is folded back into its position and sewn close to the zipper teeth:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button bandsetting a lap zip in a dress shirt button bandsetting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band

On to the left facing and panel. First position zipper to facing, pin in place:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band

Then fold front panel back and sew in place with a topstitching 2,5 cm from the edge (1,25 cm from CF) and edge stitching near the edge. Result:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band   setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band

The lap differs in width from CF at the bottom. It ought to be everywhere 1,25 cm but I noticed that the print would give away that I haven’t cut the pattern piece on the straight grain. So I opted for visual straighness and not actual straightness:
setting a lap zip in a dress shirt button bandsetting a lap zip in a dress shirt button band

Before all this I tried to have the zipper at a lower position, further from the collar. I also tried to fold back the zip guard a bit so it would align at the top with the front panel, where they both could be caught by the collar stand.

I abandoned that idea when I tried on the bodice parts and found out that I wanted the zipper to close up higher. But  here are some pictured from that previous attempt, for future reference:
adding a lapped zipper to a dress shirtadding a lapped zipper to a dress shirtadding a lapped zipper to a dress shirt

I also investigated catching the zipper of the left panel in between the front and the facing, creating a double seam right at the end:
adding a lapped zipper to a dress shirt
But decided to do things differently.

7. fronts to yoke
No problem. Sew, press, topstitch, pink.

8. fit
(check fit back and whether the side seams need more waist shaping. Check that zipper fits. Don’t add the front panel waist shaping yet. Check height collar.)

Only checked the zipper and the neck opening.

9. add zipper and finish seams

10. sew and attach collar and stand

11. sleeve placket
I combined this tutorial by Sewaholic above with instructions from Page Coffin, page 103. I placed it 6 cm from the sideseam. WS placket up on WS sleeve, close to the front of the sleeve but with “tower” at the other side. plusminus 4,5 cm between side seam and placket slash. Not more. This places the slash at about the highest point of the “wave” shape in the bottom of the sleeve. I put the placket on the wrong side 😦

When turning the sleeve placket, don’t fold the sleeve fabric. The placket folds over the raw edge.
sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffinsleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin

sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffinsleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin

Don’t fold the sleeve fabric; let the placket encase the raw edge:
sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin

Sew backpart into place before folding toppart back for topstitching. This way I’m sure the back part got caught everywhere. I sewed it from the WS.
sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin sleeve placket sewing dress shirtI did it on the other side too, earlier.

sleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffinsleeve placket dress shirt through tutorials by Sewaholic and Page Coffin
It looked neat when folded but less neat when sewn. I’m still a beginner.

UNFORTUNATELY I sewed the placket on the wrong side of the sleeve, it should have gone to the right on the right sleeve. I will decide later on wether I’ll cut and sew a new sleeve+placket or wether to call this one a design feature and wear it as is.

Second one:
First sewing around the slit and cutting the slit and pressing the placket to the right side. Then I secure the placket on the WS.
When cutting the slit I’ve clipped through the sewing by mistake!

I try to fix this by starting the securing seam on the WS above the fold I want to secure. It ventures a bit into the part of the little folded triangles that are now not secured at their base (because I clipped through the thread by mistake):
sleeve placket sewing dress shirt sleeve placket sewing dress shirt

second endresult. Neater than the first now that I did not try to extremely edgestitch the “little house”:
sleeve placket sewing dress shirt

Oh. I see I forgot to sew all the way to the bottom. Must return to the sewing machine. In the little “house” I let the stitch length determine where the seam would fall. You see the upper part is not at the very edge of the outline.

Backside. Ugh. I caught the fabric. Luckily just in the SA. Can clip it free.

sleeve placket sewing dress shirtsleeve placket sewing dress shirt

As you see I tucked away all threads as I went. I pull the thread to the side (WS/RS) where I can hide it and then I hide it under the fabric that’s sewn in place. Sometimes I first tie a knot. I did so with the securing stitching I did on the WS. Now off to sew that seam I forgot. 10. collar and stand I’m contemplating a loop and a button for closure at the stand. But first I’ll construct the collar and the stand. COLLAR: DPC is a fan of non-sticky interfacing. I’m using cotton from a new sheet. Following Sewaholic’s collar-tutorial.

  • cutting the interfacing
  • Removing SA on 3 sides (use paper pattern piece as a template, don’t add to previous cutting imprecisions).
  • place interfacing on one of the collar pieces. DPC wants interfacing on the wrong side of the top collar. Makes sense, that’s the one you want to be reluctant folding over. (I think the top collar is the one you see when you wear the shirt, it touches your neck and dives into your shirt.) Make sure the pattern print is the right way up
  • removing 6 mm on either side of the other collar piece
  • don’t have glue, I pin the interfacing to the collar piece.
  • edgestitch the interfacing
  • cut corners, press. Have the top collar “flow over” the under collar ever so slightly.
  • press whole collar and topstitch (stretch into position undercollar as you do so). I chose edgestitching
  • fold seam allowance and press. Stitch a line into it. I fudged the fold afterwards (and effectively the SA) to make sure both collar points have the same length.

COLLAR STAND: tutorial

  • fusable interfacing. I have so much SA the stand will be tough anyway.
  • zipper ends too high, pattern should be ammended. For now I lower it as far as possible, adding a new staystitch. Clipping. Pin, from the inside, the clipped side. Stitch
  • pin other stand in place and stretch it while sewing. I sewed from the same side as before, to make sure I followed the same line. It looks horrible from the other side… I doubt that this will yield a decent collar stand…
  • mark end of the collar. It’s 1 mm inside the edge of the panel. Follow the fold in the collar and the intended seam (-SA) of the collar stand.
  • already in the sewing stage I lengthened the neck line by deepening it. Now the collar virtually ends at the edges of the front panels. I should have shortened the collar. Ack. The collar points overlap around CF. Will have to see if I can somehow lengthen the seam it follows int he stand or shorten it’s own seam (by moving it outwards, towards the raw edge: awkward long pointed collar). Both not succesfull. Sew a new collar?

I’ll stop sewing now. This post shows two days worth of full time sewing. Collar with sewn in interfacing. Sew from the centre outwards:

Sewing collar shirtmaking Sewing collar shirtmakingSewing collar shirtmakingSewing collar shirtmaking

Cutting the undercollar a bit shorter (6 mm on either side). Will stretch it when sewing: Sewing collar shirtmaking

The corners:

Sewing collar shirtmakingSewing collar shirtmaking

I trimmed that itty bitty of excess interfacing before cutting the corner and turning it.

Topstitching of the collar = edgestitching. Without a special foot, just by eye: Sewing collar shirtmakingSewing collar shirtmaking

Pressed, making the topcollar fall just a bit over the undercollar: Sewing collar shirtmakingSewing collar shirtmaking

Folding the seam allowance as per instructions from both DCP and Sewaholic. The outer edges of the various fabrics are not meant to line up and they don’t because one fabric has to travel the outer side of the fold whilst the other travels the (shorter) inside:
Sewing collar shirtmaking

Checking to see that both collar points are the same. Fudging a bit with where to place the fold to make sure:

Sewing collar shirtmaking

Finished collar:
Sewing collar shirtmaking

Fitting. Gargl! The neckline is too high:

Sewing collar stand shirtmakingSewing collar stand shirtmaking

Caused because in the previous shirt it was too low. We thought it was the pattern but in fact it was the slippery fabric and the way I cut it. Now the zipper is too high also. In white a staystitch line too indicate a new, lower neckline:

Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

It catches the very top of the zipper teeth. Can’t go lower than that. Using fusible interfacing on my collar stand: Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

Sewing the collar stand. “Use lots of pins” recommends Sewaholic:
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

She then says it’s better to sew it from the other side, where all the clipped parts are, because that’ll be easier to prevent them from getting caught. So I had to shift all these pins to the other side. (btw, I don’t sew over pins. My sewing machine bends all pins it can get its foot on.)

Sewn with green thread from the other side and being very precise about following the existing staystitch seam (white) as a guide:
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

But I failed to pay proper attention to this side laying smooth. It got caught several times:
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

I unpicked (only) the naughty bits and resewed them.

I sewed the second part of the collar stand in a similar fashion, from the other side where there was already a seam. It made this side look shockingly:Sewing collar stand shirtmaking

This will cause all kinds of problems… I also forgot to stretch the under collar stand while sewing. Made more difficult even since this was the interfaced part. Should have interfaced the first part, I’m sure.

The pins show where the collar stops, they would overlap:
Sewing collar stand shirtmaking
This needs to be resolved.

Fitting of the Slippery Market Cotton shirt

fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
First shirt from self drafted pattern from beginnersclass Patroontekenen from Modevakschool Nationaal. Unfortunately sewn in a very slippery cotton which caused a few mistakes in addition to my inexperience with sewing and shirts and collars.

Self drafted pattern: yoke in double fabric, button bands, front facing, sleeve plackets, bust darts swiveled into waist darts at the front. Back darts.

Puckering because of the dent at the natural shoulder seam:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
Should have smoothed the dent when putting together front panel and back panel for the yoke. When I do so I should recheck the circumference of the armhole and fit it to the sleeve head.

Front button band looks good. Facings could perhaps be wider to give beter support, Off the Cuff blog is a fan of that. Collar could have a different shape, this is too docile. Should be placed higher up the body too:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
CF lies straight. The fabric lies smooth across my upper torso. A good fit.

Waist darts stop at the apex, a sewing mistake from me. They don’t stop at the apex in the pattern. Not enough waist shaping. Shirt needs more fabric at the front of the sleeve head:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted patternfitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted patternfitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern

Caused by swiveling away the little bust dart from armpit to the apex, resulting in a steep arm hole:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
It sits nice on the body though, so I opt for adjusting the sleeve head, not the arm hole.

This much additional fabric is needed at the sleeve. This will distort the smooth look of the sleeve which is a ladies’ sleeve, not a typical shirt sleeve:

fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern

Side seam is straight. But way too much fabric at the back. I have a short torso and a sway back. A petite frame:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
I will address this in the next shirt, the Beige Winterbeestjes, by having two princess seams at the back. A better solution would be a Centre Back seam that’s not a straight line. My teacher has a sway back too and all her fitted patterns need a CB seam and it isn’t straight. This may be the case with me too. But because of the slippery fabric I cannot yet say how much is sewist error in this shirt. There shouldn’t be any faults in the pattern because this is a tailormade pattern drafted to my specific measurements.

Either way I plan to explore my sway back more with other things such as a yoke at the small of my back or a bow like the Deer&Doe dress has. It’s one of my key features and it could be emphasized, I feel.

Arm length is good:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
Cuff’s too wide. Perhaps adjust width of the sleeve at the lower end too.

fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
Too much fabric in the lower half. Ugly dart endings. Should also be solved by making them into princess seams, going into the back yoke.
The yoke works nicely: good shape, well fitted. The sideseam could have way more shaping. Something to check out in the next dress shirt, which will be of a better fabric and will have front shaping done at the end, while fitting the shirt. Then we’ll know whether the side seam needs additional shaping too. For now it could be caused by just the slippery fabric, not the pattern.

Back of the armhole and the sleeve is ok:
fitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted patternfitting marktkatoen shirt Sewing self drafted pattern
Should not be smaller for even 5 mm though. To try out this pattern in stretch fabric might be nice.

Changes made to the dress shirt pattern because of this fitting:

  1. made front neck a little bit higher: 1,5 – 2 cm
  2. adjusted collar/stand accordingly. New front length is 10,5 instead of 11,5 cm. Change collar shape altogether, I misunderstood at the course. Teacher drew me a new one, using that one. Could have drafted a new one myself using tutorial
  3. placing the end points of the waist darts lower at front panel. They are at apex line now. Mistake.
  4. the vertical darts at the back panel are changed to princess seams. Still working on accommodating the sway and short back. This will need different pattern adjustments.
  5. The sleeve head front needs additional fabric. In the market-cotton-version I cut open the seam and placed a piece of fabric behind to find out what and how.
  6. The armhole has a ridiculous curve in it at the front but I’m preserving it.
  7. lessen the dent in the top of the armhole, it’s in the yoke piece at the natural shoulder seam. It caused puckering of the sleeve top.
  8. Undo additional width at side seam at the armhole. Put there to approach the length of the sleeve head better but it’s no good.
  9. Lower sleeve head to approach circumference of arm hole.
  10. make sleeve cuff less wide. It needs about 6 cm overlap now to fit my wrist. Make sleeve placket longer to accommodate this broader overlap.

Another time:

  • draft a horizontal feature at the lower back to hide/take away the extra fabric my short back doesn’t need. A “half-belt” kind of yoke. Or the bow the Deer & Doe has. Or that feature of the pink blouse at my class.
  • use stretch fabric

New side back panel with a princess seam from bottom to top:
centre Back not straight, accomodating for sway Back and short Back. Petite frame

PS this nice tutorial just landed in my inbox: 3 ways to adjust for sway back! by 


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.

– shorten 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.