Shirt making is something that until recently I’d never been drawn to do. I kind of only thought of shirts as workwear which is something I don’t have a need for (except for one subject at uni last year in which I raided my mother’s wardrobe). However when I saw this super cute leopard print all I could think of was a cropped boxy collared shirt that would be more casual take on a shirt.
I used the Archer button up shirt, from Grainline Studio, as the starting point for this shirt. I choose this pattern as I had access to the pattern and as it has a detailed sew along, which was super helpful to me I had never done a collar or button placket and was intimidated by both of these things. The sew along is so incredibly detailed with advice on fabric, interfacing and cutting before the sewing begins and then plenty of photos and videos to help with the actual construction. I’m sure this would be helpful even when constructing a shirt using a different pattern as it’s very reassuring and clear. I didn’t use the instructions and relied entirely on the sew-along.
I made a few minor changes to the top so it would be more like the one I had imagined in my head. Principally I took out the shaping on the side seams and made it straight down. I also cropped the shirt at the top of the hem curve. I made the sleeves ¾ eliminating the sleeve placket and substituting for a cuff. To do the cuff I cut a rectangle folded it horizontally, attached to the end of the sleeve and tacked it up.
I chose to topstitch down all my seams with a double line creating a faux flat felled seam and a lovely finish inside as the seam allowances stay nicely tucked away. I did this with regular weight white thread so this is very subtle touch. It’s just for me as I can see how much neater my top stitching has become over the years. While I was very proud of them my first few garments included some very, very wonky topstitching that was definitely a ‘handmade tell’ of the not so great kind.
I used a heavy weight interfacing because it was all I hard in my sewing supplies. Next time I would use something lighter. The collar sits a little stiff at the neckline and waist tuck. I’ve worn this shirt a few times now and the interfacing seems to have broken down a little near the tuck and upper collar, so it sits a little bit more how I wanted and is a little softer.
I used buttons from an old men’s button down shirt (because #recycling and also I didn’t have to go to the store) and I think they fit in nicely with the shirt. They are just plain white so let the print be the most exciting feature of this shirt. I also used the rest of the recycled shirt to make joey pouches for the animals caught in Australia’s bushfire so this meant I was really able to use most parts of the shirt. (Follow along with the Animal Rescue Craft Guild on facebook or instagram for updates! This was a great and very helpful scrap busting project, so I would highly recommend)
Overall I was very happy with the results of this shirt. I think the one I envisioned in my head was a flat collar (not sure if that’s the technical term?) over one with a collar stand like the Archer however being a new shirt sewist I did not take note of this difference. This is a little further outside my usual wardrobe but it is slowly becoming more worn. I think I’d like to make a flat collared shirt in the future (similar to this one by Heather-Lou).
I’m very, very happy with how this shirt turned out. This year I’m trying to pick projects that advance my skills with new techniques and elements for me to try. This project fits that category and was a nice first make of 2020. I ended up really enjoying seeing the collar come to life and even ended up enjoying the final step of hand sewing the buttons on.
Fabric: Little Big Cats cotton shirting from The Fabric Store
Pattern: Archer shirt from Grainline Studio