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.