View A was my target (the one the model is wearing). Just unbutton the shirt and add a sweater dress, and viola! you would have my inspiration outfit. I will admit, I was intimidated. Collar? Placket? Cuffs? Bias-cut woven? These were all things I'd read about, but nothing I'd actually done before. There is a reason why I usually stick with knits. But with sewing, I've come to realize that there are so many things to learn and to try, that if I don't push myself with new techniques, I'll end up with a closet full of knit dresses! Probably all striped ones, too. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way, know what I mean?
This was also my first time working with a plaid. I had seen a pretty cotton flannel at Jo-Ann's and thought about using it for this shirt, and possibly having enough left over to make AB a shirt as well. My local store was out of the fabric when I went to purchase it during Black Friday, but happily for me JA was offering free shipping (or something...I can't remember!) on Cyber Monday. So I ordered up three yards, which came out to $12. Bonus surprise, when it arrived, it came with a note that I had ordered the end of the bolt, and they'd given me the extra for free! It was entire extra yard! It turned out to be very lucky that I had extra fabric. Pattern envelopes aren't kidding when they say to allow extra for plaids. After cutting out, I realized that the two bias panels on the front were the same, instead of mirrored. I wish I could tell you how it happened...but I have no clue. I don't think I'll be in a hurry to work with plaid again. (I DID end up using that bonus yard for AB, and her shirt is way cuter. Review coming at some point!)
It took a really long time to make this shirt. There are like 12 pattern pieces, interfacing, etc. I hate cutting out, so that step alone took probably a week. I'm very grateful to have a spare bedroom for a sewing room, so I can lay out 4 yards of fabric (okay 2 yards at a time), and then just walk out and close the door when I'm tired of it!
My fabric was thick, so I chose a medium-weight interfacing. Now that the shirt is finished, I wish I wouldn't have used any at all. My inspiration photo was all about an easy, lazy comfort, not a crisply tailored shirt. If I had thought about that ahead of time, I would have realized that interfacing was working against that idea. But as a beginner, I know that these little lessons about thinking outside the box will come with time and more
The instructions for this pattern made no sense to me when I read them alone, but when it came time to DO each step, somehow it worked out magically. The only "mistake" or poor direction was with the collar. I have only made one item with a collar (a coat for AB) but it did not have a collar stand, so I was flying a bit blind and relying heavily on the directions. Somehow I ended up with an off-centered collar.
In the photo above, you can see that the collar is too far to the left. All that empty space on the right looks pretty silly. By the time I noticed my mistake...I kind of stopped caring. Like I said, this shirt took me forever. I don't plan on wearing it buttoned-up, so for now I just flop the collar over and pretend everything is cool.
Speaking of buttons, I couldn't button it up even if I wanted to, because I didn't add buttonholes. I added BUTTONS, but no holes. Remember my too-thick interfacing? My machine wasn't a fan, either. I attempted buttonholes on the cuffs first, since they were only two layers of fabric and one of interfacing, and even that much gagged my Brother. I ended up sewing those by hand. There was no way I was going to sew buttonholes by hand all the way down the front placket for buttons that I wasn't even going to use.
A lovely buttonhole-less placket
I'm really glad I made this pattern, because it gave me experience with button-down shirts. I have plans to sew a few for hubby and already have the Negroni pattern. I would have felt terrible if I had screwed up a collar on a shirt for him. I don't think I'll be sewing this up again for a while, but I'm happy to have it in my pattern library.
Love those yellow buttons!