Tag Archives: shirt

A shirt for Andrea

Last year I went to London with one of my closest friends, Andrea. While I was looking for just the right fabric to take home from Liberty, she found a fabric on her own. As I sew and she doesn’t, we agreed that I’d make her a shirt as a belated birthday present (her original birthday wish was to get something from London while we were there). As last year wasn’t a quiet one either, the shirt ended up closer to her next birthday than the one before, but she was happy with the end result.


I even found blue buttons to match the blue print 🙂

Andrea had a fairly basic shirt which she got from her grandma. This shirt was a bit on the long side, with a back yoke and bust darts. She wanted something close to this in look, and we opted for an old BurdaStyle pattern (#105 in the #9/09 issue of the magazine). I shortened the pattern a bit and made a muslin from old sheets. Based on the fit of this, we decided to add a bit more width to the sleeves, as she liked the roomy sleeves on her original shirt best. Then I made the shirt and requested her to show it off in my blog, which I’m happy she agreed to do.

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First sewing course project: Long-sleeved shirt

Our first project was to be a shirt sewn from a basic pattern where we needed to construct a simple collar (no separate collar stand) and cuffs. It was sewn from plain-woven cotton with serged rather than flat-felled seams. It was my first time using a serger, and since I’ve been looking for my perfect serger to use at home. I think I’ll end up with a Juki, but I want to test at least Babylock and Bernina before buying a machine for myself. The possibilities of serging are currently racing through my mind and I love it – inspiration flowing freely without me having to ask for it 🙂

I chose somewhat big buttons for this project, and I’m thinking of dying the shirt blue when I get to take it home. Perhaps also adding some darts to take it in a bit – it’s quite boxy, but so comfortable.


In addition to this shirt we’ve had an express intro to the design process – two days filled with new info and the task of gathering inspiration – I was exhausted along with most of my class by the end of day two. We also had to do a flat drawing of our shirt – a task that sounded easy enough, but which ended up taking as much time as actually sewing the shirt.

Next course project will be pants: reconstructed – pattern drafted from an existing pair of pants. At long last I get to make a twin for my worn-out pair of gaucho pants – my all-time summer favourite.

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First ever shirt

This was a very belated finalization of a Christmas present for my husband. I bought the fabric from Bishopston Trading Company. This fairly traded handloom cotton was a dream to work with, and it’s a pity that Bishopston will soon be out of business, in part due to their tremendous success with their fair trade projects in India.

I had almost enough fabric to make the whole shirt, excepting the lower collar, inner yoke and the inner collar band. These were made from leftover scraps from a black Ikea fabric, and I added a pocket made from this fabric and black buttons to complete the look. The only downside was that my fair trade shirt had to be downgraded to “almost fair trade”.

I used the BurdaStyle’s Frank Button-Down Shirt pattern from the book BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern, which was very easy to work with. The only change I made was to make short sleeves as required by my hubby. These were made to look almost as puffy rolled up sleeves. I also drafted the pocket, as I didn’t care for the original pockets on this pattern.

I also had the best teacher for learning to sew a shirt – Pam Howard and her Craftsy-course The Classic Tailored Shirt. I can’t recommend this course enough – Pam Howard is a seasoned shirt maker and a wonderful teacher, and everything was so much easier to do following her instructions. I’d almost recommend it for her yoke trick alone.


Right sides out:

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Inside the shirt:

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Under-arm seams:



He tells me he likes the shirt 🙂


I’m very happy with the result on this one. The bonus of making this shirt (apart from a happy hubby) is that it was a great way to prepare the first assignment (make your own shirt) in my one-year sewing course which I started last week.

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