V1462: Shirts Are Hard

Fellow sewers, do you find it weird when people compliment dresses and overlook handmade pants and buttoned shirts?

I guess dresses look more impressive, but in my experience, pants and buttoned shirts are a thousand times more challenging. More seams, more moving parts, more things to be fitted and it’s more obvious when it’s wrong.

I can whip up a t-shirt in an afternoon, a skirt in a day, a knit dress in a weekend, a woven dress in a week or two–and this shirt took over a year.

Now a lot of that is plain old procrastination, of the “this is going to take forever, I’ll just make a dress instead” kind. But a lot of it is that this is a very very involved project.

The Side

It has a lined yoke, hidden button placket, proper collar and cuffs, hem facing, and a tower sleeve placket.

I left off the pocket. You can see it is shown as loose and drapey–but not *that* loose and drapey.

Plus I also decided to make this my first-ever silk crepe de chine project, so everything is made with french seams–which means, they’re all sewn twice. And sewing marks couldn’t be made with a wheel or chalk so were instead made with tailor tacks.

The Back. You may be wondering if there are more gathers in the sleeve head than there ought to be. You would be right. Not sure what happened there.

I bought the silk, I think, two years ago. I cut out the pattern over a year ago. I spent one weekend making all the tailor tacks. Another weekend sewing together the main shirt pieces. A weekend messing up the collar. A day fixing the collar. Another weekend making and attaching the sleeves, and attaching the hem facing. A day doing the handstitching and fixing the collar (again). And then another evening finishing up the hand-sewing.

The collar still isn’t perfect–the only thing I could think of to interface it with that wouldn’t alter the colour (it’s pretty sheer) is itself, so that’s what I did, and it is a bit wobbly as a result. And the silk was very stretchy, slippery and fussy so some seams are not as neat as they could have been. But overall, I think, it’s pretty. Plus it’s red silk and such a classic style I should be able to wear it forever.

Sizing Notes and Alterations:

–I chose the size based on the bust measurement as it’s meant to be loose and drapey and will be tucked into things with a snug waist. Thus it’s a 14 all over. (Which is two sizes smaller than I’m supposed to be–I went by the finished measurements printed on the paper pattern.) It’s mostly ok. I had to add in another button on the front to keep it closed across the chest because the volume is all elsewhere, which is annoying. I’d have to think about how to fix that if I make it up again.

Still, if you are thinking of making up this pattern, you can probably size down by two and still have a loose, drapey blouse.

–I didn’t shorten the sleeves on this one. Instead, I tapered from a 14 at the shoulder to an 8 at the wrist (small bones), so that the cuff is small enough to keep the sleeve from slipping down my hand. This keeps it in the loose/drapey mold. I probably could have taken an inch off the length, though, and kept the drape.

Other than that, it is as the pattern had it, and it all worked out fine. Fussy, finicky, and forever, but fine.

6 thoughts on “V1462: Shirts Are Hard”

  1. Lovely blouse! I’m so happy to hear that you find shirts difficult, I have a box of fabric waiting to be made into shirts and they are still waiting, waiting, waiting. It never occurred to me that I don’t like making shirts, what an epiphany!! I can strike those projects off my list! I’d rather spend weeks fitting pants than pull out a fabric to make a shirt!
    You did a spectacular job with a light weight silk! I discovered spray starch really helps sewing up light weight fabrics, especially the small pieces like collars. Conrats on finishing it! It is worthy of a chocolate cake celebration. I think I’ll celebrate your accomplishment for you 🙂

    1. I actually find making shirts rewarding since it’s so hard to find something with buttons in stores that fits, but yeah, they take a long time compared to other projects.

      Thank you. 🙂 The spray starch would have helped I’m sure. I’ll know better for the next project.

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