Just for kicks, I thought I’d open with a picture of my current house guest – Mr. Lizard. Honestly, I wish the lizards would stay outside, because they don’t last long in the house. But – they will come in.
It’s a bit like having a puppy – I leave a shallow saucer of water for him under his favorite bookcase. He hangs out there and in the house plant in the pic, which is very close to me in the living room.
Every once in a while he trots across the room in front of me. So funny! Apparently he’s pretty comfortable with me for company.
I’m setting records for slow sewing and posting this spring. But I did spend the last week working on a birthday gift for Ashley. The fabric is a cotton print that she purchased in JoAnns a couple years ago, with a dress in mind. But as her seamstress, I decided that a swingy boyfriend shirt would be fun for summer jeans and capris. She has one, white cotton with little skulls all over it, that she loves to wear. So I measured it every way I could during our Christmas visit. And went looking for a pattern.
In March, I found McCalls 6613. It’s a unisex shirt, so it has very general sizing, but it also has traditional shirt features that I wanted to include: a pointed collar with a collar stand, pocket options, a back yoke, and an attached button placket. It also has a sleeve tab for rolling the cuff, a feature I know she likes in her other shirt.
Bonus: it has a two-part sleeve. That extra seam makes the cuff application so simple and also provides support for the button/button tab combo.
This one pattern really has so many combinations of collar, sleeve, pocket, and hem styles! Pretty nice.
I went with a plain collar, one breast pocket (plain), a straight hem, and the sleeve tab. I know this print doesn’t show things very well, so I hope you’ll trust me, please 🙂
The collar turned out to be the prettiest collar I’ve ever sewn. Not my sewing of the collar, but the shape – it is almost elegant and lays back so nicely. Collars are not all alike!
A note on collar construction: My least favorite part of making a shirt is attaching the collar. It’s so easy to mess it up! Beginning sometime in 2013, I’ve been using a great construction approach from a tutorial by Andrea at Four Square Walls. It’s terrific, you might take a look if this is a bug-a-boo for you as well.
And the cuff is pretty, too – it’s a very balanced width, with one pleat, a simple placket formed from the seam allowance, and one button.
Just a few sewing notes – Ashley is 5’9″, so I started with size Large:
- Added ‘swing’ by redrafting the side seam with a bit of flare, drawing it from an L at the armscye to XXL at the hem.
- Removed 2″ from the yoke, collar, and collar stand at center back – it was really wide in the back, and the collar was super long.
- Narrowed the shoulder by 1/2″ at the armscye edge.
- Kept the original width in the lower back, but I used light gathers instead of a center pleat, when I attached it to the yoke.
- Added an inch to the width of the sleeve in the upper arm, using the slash method. This pic is from a nice tutorial on The Curvy Sewing Collective. I like this approach because it doesn’t really impact the armscye, other than a tweak at the outside corners.
- And I added 1″ to the hem, to bring it to a finished back length of 33.5″, same length as her original. Adding the flare at the sides, plus a little trim on the front, also gave the finished hem a bit of a hi-lo look, which I think is really cute.
I’ve been thinking about this pattern while sewing her shirt. This post really isn’t a pattern review, because I used M6613 with the intention of modifying it a lot. However – while it’s described as unisex, it doesn’t strike me as a pattern I’d use for a man’s shirt. Those two-part sleeves, the casual/non-placket cuff with only one pleat – not typical for un homme…
So, parting shot:
Having spring-cleaned my closet recently, I also took a look at my pajamas. I was tired of them, and they were tired of me. And I’ve been longing for crisp white cotton bottoms to wear with the slew of striped Wiksten tops I made in March (I have 5 now). I discovered 10 yards of white Michael Miller Cotton Couture in my stash. Amazing. I bought it to muslin Ashley’s bridal dress back in January 2015. In the end, David’s Bridal made that dress, not I! and I forgot about this fabric, which is perfect for PJs. Fresh off the sewing table, using my TNT Vogue 8584 – they feel wonderful…