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.


my previous sewing experience: a shirt

waiting for the patterns to arrive:

Depart USPS Sort Facility

April 19, 2013


I once had this shirt I really liked. It was made of a very thin cotton with blue flowers and after a few years of wear the fabric started to tear. This shirt was done.

So I took it apart with my torn thingy (proper word needed here)

I studied how it came apart. The cuffs, the collar, which seam in the arm hole was done after which. I jotted it down on a piece of paper.


When I had everything in bits I placed them on an old sheet we got when we purchased this cabin. It is decades old and it has yellow butterflies on it! I love it.

I cut a copy of the pieces in the butterfly fabric. The sheet was fairly flat but the shirt pieces weren’t. I was not yet aware at how often a seamstress nowadays uses her iron… (I only learned that last week, while reading the internet). I also didn’t think to pin them down. If I remember correct I held them down with one hand and cut around it with my scissors with the other. I did use fabric scissors. I’m not a total newbie! (ahum!)

Thanks to my notes and also because I only took apart half the shirt, leaving me with an intact arm with cuff to study, I managed to produce a shirt:

I made a collar!
I made cuffs!

it even has darts for shaping. But I still didn’t know anything about seams.

I could not face making button holes by hand and when I went to the sewing shop for advice they sold me a zipper. This may have been a special sort of zipper, you can cut it to length. I knew nothing about zippers and that’s why it’s hanging loose at the bottom and is not lined on the inside. This zipper is the reason I cannot wear this shirt over a simple top, it hurts against the skin.

I don’t care if it is not perfect. This shirt is about the butterflies, about making something by myself. And I made it in a time I was severely brain fogged. And it was all done on an antique sewing machine to boot! This shirt is about giving myself a smile (and wear it)

I love this shirt. It makes me look ill and grey because of the colour but I love it! The butterflies are so much fun!

Feeling encouraged I tried to make this shirt a couple of times more. This time with Real Fabric. From the Real Fabric shop. Alas. I chose the wrong fabrics. I did have the sense to stay within woven, cotton like, fabrics. But one had all kinds of band sewed on it, making cutting and sewing a nightmare. Another one was way to smooth, it slipped away all the time. The third one was good old fashioned cotton but with such a sweet little dumb flowery print that I could not muster up the spirit after cutting and starting. It looked like a clown had sneezed all over it. I don’t like clowns. I don’t like rainbow coloured clothes.

Such a waste of money. But now, feeling that original shirt with its soft soft fabric and seeing the butterflies again, I might be tempted to try another one! Providing I learn a bit more about fabrics first.

This project also taught me about direction. I did manage to make the butterflies fly away from me at the cuffs.