Friends, would you say the color of my shirt fabric is café au lait, cappucino, latte, macchiato, or chocolate mocha?
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.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!