Challenge Series IV: Men’s Shirt

So this is a bit of a cheat because I did make DH shirts more than 10 years ago from a McCall’s pattern, with lengthening for the body and sleeves and I may have put a large neckline on a medium shirt. He’s worn them all out but I was reluctant to jump in again, so it was a self-challenge to get ‘er done!

This time I started with a Burda pattern hoping for better drafting to start with. And luckily it’s a Tall size. I measured his best fitting shirt, and Burda 04/2013 138 had a little bit different shoulder width but everything seemed to be workable as is! I did grab the shape of another of his RTW collars as this one is a bit unique. I kept it a bit thinner (between RTW and the pattern) and see if he likes it.

Since it had been so long, and Burda came through with their usual beyond-terse instructions, I looked up a few resources along the way.

Liana’s shirtmaking info was a necessary read before cutting out for some tweaks. I followed her recommendation of cutting the cuffs with the fold at the buttonhole side instead of the wrist edge (makes it easier to sew the buttonhole and match the fabric pattern), and added cut-on plackets with her directions (self-faced). I also followed her recommendation of interfacing both top and under collar to allow for close trimming. With the somewhat loose weave plaid fabric the first two may have been more of a hindrance than a help (the wrist edge of the cuff didn’t match facing and right side plaid because of the large repeat, having wonkiness at the buttonhole edge might have been a smaller area and not so noticeable; the front placket kept skewing with topstitching which meant it didn’t really line up even when it was cut-on and could have used more interfacing – to be fair having a separate placket wouldn’t have made it any better!). I also cut the sleeve plackets, yoke and pocket on the bias so I didn’t have to worry about pattern matching. for sleeve placket instructions worked a treat!

Since DH rolls up his sleeves I wanted to do a flat fell seam for the sleeve at least. An interesting flat felled seam technique led me to test a few ways to do it. This fabric is remarkably slinky for being a nice beefy flannel and does not like to stay straight when sewn, so the extra run of stitches with the linked option was adding more problems. But the three layer thick 1/4″ seam of the traditional method was a little stiff in comparison. So I took the linked technique, used the check pattern to be able to line things up without doing the first run of stitches, and her recommendation to use Steam-A-Seam on the last step to keep everything together before the final seam.

flat fell seam wrong side
flat fell seam, underside
flat fell seam right side
flat fell seam, right side

(Mostly for my own notes:)

  1. pin side/seam sleeve right sides together, with the back piece 1/2″ wider than the front
    1. this will take a total 1″ from the seam: 1/4″ from the front, 3/4″ from the back; the imbalance isn’t too worrisome at this location, I don’t match the seam to a specific point on the cuff – it’s also 1/4″ too small compared to the cut seam allowance but again not an issue in a loose shirt, but may require adjusting the sleeve tucks a tiny bit to fit the cuff
  2. sew both together 3/4″ from the cut edge of the back
  3. press to the side so the long seam allowance is over the short
  4. place hem interfacing under the seam allowance, roll the raw allowance under 1/4″ to match the short one, press down to stick
    1. tried Heat-n-Bond regular, but it was too stiff; slicing an inherited unlabeled thin web version in half to make ~1/4″ size works well (Stitch Witchery maybe?)
  5. stitch again 3/8″ away from the first seam from the right side to capture the folded seam allowance

This makes a wider flat felled seam (1/2″ on the underside, 3/8″ apart on the top), which works better for this fabric. Having the folded seam on the underside is safer for the slinkiness, I only have to get the first seam to line up, it doesn’t matter so much if the second line causes the fabric to stretch and the check to not line up so much.

I took Liana’s advice to run  a line of serging along the bottom edge and use that as a template to do the double folded hem. I believe she stitches each fold, but I wasn’t willing to risk distortion so I pressed the folds and did one pass with a straight stitch.

Not bad for such a gap between attempts.

plaid shirt front

It’s been worn every night since :).


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