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Aug 6, 2013

Butterick 4575 Shirt Update!



Friends, would you say the color of my shirt fabric is café au lait, cappucino, latte, macchiato, or chocolate mocha?

Or tan.

My shirt is coming along very nicely.  I could have pushed and finished it today but I'm trying to remind myself that I sew much better in the morning and early afternoon.  When I'm fried it's best to stop.  What's the longest you can sew in a day and still sew well?

Regardless of how many shirts I've made in the last four years (dozens) I learn something new every time, truly.  For the first time ever I interfaced my shirt cuffs with (prewashed and dried) cotton muslin.  I love the way it looks -- so much better than any fusible I've ever used.  It's sort of an old-timey solution to an age-old problem: how do you keep your cuffs (and collar, if you're sewing one) crisp for the entire life of the shirt?

As you can see, I left the muslin in my seam allowances.  It makes the cuff edges stronger and adds hardly any bulk.







On a related note, if you ever see a pattern piece for a sleeve placket like this one, throw it away!



There is a much easier way to make a beautiful button placket and remind me to show you some time.  Basically, you cut separate pieces for the under placket and over placket, and you make the little "peak" by folding a long rectangle on a 45 degree angle and then folding again (a David Coffin tip).  I may already have a tutorial for it in my archives -- I'll look.  (Or if you find it include the link in the comments.)

I spent 45 minutes trying to get my first placket perfect (fortunately the second placket only took 10 minutes but still).  I found myself shaking my head and wondering why, after all the shirts I've made, I'm doing this the hard, long, tedious way.  (One of the things that made it doubly challenging was that my fabric is the same on both sides, so it's easy to forget which side is which.)



In the end my placket looked good.  After 45 minutes, it should!





There was a a bit more ease in the sleeve cap for this shirt than my TNT Butterick shirt pattern, 4712.  The trick to easing it in successfully is always to sew with the sleeve, which is a bit longer, on the bottom.  This is because the sewing machine feed dogs always want to pull your fabric back and the presser foot wants to push your fabric forward.  Whichever side is longer (and needs to be eased) should be in contact with the feed dogs.  I learned this trick from Margaret Islander and it helps a lot, and not only for sleeves.



If you're going to make a flat-felled seam, that extra ease in the seam allowance is going to make the folded over layer bunch a bit here and there.  That's OK because the seam is made on the inside of the shirt. 





It doesn't have to be perfect as long as the topstitching is an even distance from the original seam (I generally use the 1/4" edge of my straight stitch presser foot as my guide.)  That even distance is what's visible on the right side (i.e., outside) of the shirt (see below).  Pressing the seam flat before you stitch it down helps, as does starch.



I finished the sleeve sides and torso sides with French seams -- much easier than flat-felled seams and very clean looking.

This is arguably the best-fitting shirt I've ever made right out of the envelope.  The sleeve cap is low, so I have a lot of movement in my shoulder.   More fabric means more creasing, of course, but it's much more comfortable to wear than a high, narrow sleeve cap like Vogue 8889's.







The pattern calls for two long fish-eye darts in back; not sure if I'll add them or not.



And that's the end of today's shirtmaking saga.

Oh, before I forget: I've named my female PGM dress form Princess Grace of Monaco -- easy to remember, right?  Thank you for all your many excellent suggestions.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

26 comments:

  1. Khaki? Married to a military man, ya know. Great fit and I'm sure you will style it well. Just no hot dog hats, as my husband likes to call his khaki Navy cap. Once more impressive smooth sewing.

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  2. A while back I asked an FIT menswear professor about the single piece versus two-piece placket after seeing the two-piece version illustrated by Mike Maldonado on the web. I believe -- my memory could be mistaken -- he said that the two-piece version is used if you want one piece on the bias for a design effect and that otherwise the one piece is used on better shirts.

    In my class, we practiced doing the one-piece placket in paper, then we progressed to samples, then to the shirt. It was a great class; the teacher broke down even the most complicated aspects so they could be mastered.

    If I thought that I were going to use that placket more than I would transfer to oaktag or plastic so I could trace around it. Then I'd chalk in the sewing, cut, and fold lines as needed. Mike Maldonado folds the triangle without guides but that may be too hard for a beginner.

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  3. "(One of the things that made it doubly challenging was that my fabric is the same on both sides, so it's easy to forget which side is which.)"

    Mark the wrong side with chalk, or mark with thread tracing.

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  4. Mike Maldonado's video on constructing the 2-piece sleeve placket.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQVKaeIC77Y

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    Replies
    1. Excellent -- thanks for the link!

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    2. You're very welcome. I know someone from the Cutter and Tailor forum who took the whole online Maldonado class when he was unable to take Menswear Sewing at FIT. He really liked it, and last I heard he was doing some custom shirt making on the side.

      It was good to read about your experiment with the muslin interfacing, I don't like fusible, either.

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  5. Beautiful workmanship as always. But I'd like to comment on the color, if I may. From the pictures it seems to be very close to the color of your skin which could result in it making you look washed out. Just another opinion you didn't ask for.

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    Replies
    1. I think the color similarity is probably more of a result of seeing the camera's interpretation of the color, then having that interpretation re-interpreted by the web, then interpreted a third time by your computer. Colors are rarely accurate online...especially skin tones. (I'm a photographer, so I deal with this all the time. A person will look great in an original photo, but online the skin tones appear much cooler with more blue.)

      I think Peter's instincts would be good enough at this point that he wouldn't pick a color that would make him look washed-out. I think it actually highlights his features and makes his eyes stand out... the color is simple and non-distracting, so it highlights the face. :-) (Oh, and I'm pale and blonde, so anything in that color range...or grey...makes me look washed-out. I wish I could wear that color without looking sick! However, if I'm ever looking to have someone say... "You look terrible... why don't you go home?" I just throw on a light grey tee shirt and skip the blush!)

      I actually really like this color on Peter... I think it's going to be a very clean look. :-)

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  6. Do you always sew your collar last? I am sewing my first shirt currently, but I've made dresses with collars before, and I've always attached the collar last. However on this shirt pattern, it says to attach the collar before even sewing the side seams. I thought I'd try following the instructions (for once!), and I can't decide if it's easier this way or just different.

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    Replies
    1. Once the fronts, backs and yokes are attached (i.e. the neckline is complete) you can add the collar stand and collar. The order's up to you.

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    2. I always attach the collar first if I can. I find it easier as you can spread the shirt out flat around the machine as you sew, rather than having it all bunched up as it does once the side seams/sleeves etc are done. Plus I hate doing collars, so it gets it out of the way and done instead of me getting to the last step and abandoning it for ages like I so often do!

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  7. The shirt is coming along nicely. I've just made my first shirt for my boyfriend and I'll be making some more, so is be interested to learn more about the two pieces placket. Love reading your blog, I always learn something!

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  8. Coming along nicely! I must admit, I dread the day my boyfriend asks me to make him a long sleeved shirt. I've watched my mum fight with sleeve plackets too many times, and she's a sewing veteran of 50 years.

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  9. Uh. . . that doesn't look like the Bernina up there.

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  10. Peter, you make this look so easy, but I know that is from lots of practice. I can't sew straight through all day either without getting too tired and making stupid mistakes. Glad to know I am not the only one. I like the color of this shirt; I think mocha light.

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  11. great tips - i'm planning a shirt for hubby (rubbing off an existing shirt so no pattern/ instructions). loving the tips about the muslin lining and easing the sleeve. thanksfully it's short sleeved so no sleeve plackets to worry about!

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  12. My favorite interfacing is old server's aprons. My son gives me his and I can fussy cut to avoid stains. Body, washability, no bubbles and a nice mix of soft/ sharp for any garment!

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  13. With your physique, a fitted form, from fish eyes, will be fantastic!

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    Replies
    1. DING DING DING -- Alliteration Award of the Day!

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  14. Replies
    1. Most of it on my Kenmore 158.141 in the table.

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  15. In college, I used to make board shorts for money. I'd drink beer until I made a major screw up, then I knew it was time to stop.

    I don't like fusible interfacing either. It can bubble, but it does support a knit until you can sew it.

    Excited for saturday. Should be good weather

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  16. Peter, the shirt looks nice in this fabric. I think I remember making the princess seamed version for my brother when this pattern was new. I made a lot of shirts for him when I was in high school, but they didn't usually turn out as well as yours do. I haven't made a shirt in years, but I'm thinking seriously of doing one when I get a couple of other projects finished.

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  17. I see that Michael is relaxing on the sofa in the background of a couple of your photos of the shirt. Have you trained the Chihuahuas to take photos. The world needs to know!
    Your shirt project is working out well. I am going to start on my Madras shirt a second time either today or tomorrow. $ 15.72 for 3 yards of Madras fabric. Hopefully it works out this time.

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  18. The color looks good. It's a bit of an about face having seen the many colorful shirts you have made(about face, get it? military).

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  19. Improved with the darts!

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