Archive for the ‘White Shirt Sewalong’ Category

White Shirt No. 3

December 22, 2010

Finished last weekend: White Shirt No. 3. Or rather No. 2 1/2, because I am not quite happy with this shirt, see below for details.

I used this simplicity pattern from the 1940ies:

I like this pattern a lot, it is versatile and I love the little bow which is also included as a pattern piece. A historically interesting detail: the pattern contains a tutorial how to cut it out of a men’s shirt, a wonderful example of the “Make Do And Mend” philosophy of the WWII years. a side notion from the author: Of course I had to try this with a discarded shirt from my personal Prince Charming and it is not feasible in size 20.  The sleeves of the blouse are wider than the sleeves of the men’s shirt. Conclusion: if you’re fat, you need an even fatter guy in order to make use of his old shirts 😉 .

Here should be the picture of the cutting tutorial, but I can’t find it anymore, I probably deleted it by mistake. I’ll post it as soon as I am back home over Christmas. .

I made view 2 (the yellow shirt). Only alteration: I to made the sleeves wider according to the method described by Nancy Zieman in “Pattern Alterations with confidence.

And here are the reasons why I don’t like the shirt so much:

1. I liked the fabric very much when it first arrived. The woven pattern is nice and it appeared perfect for a shirt. In the end it didn’t show in the finished product: The fabric from a German mailorder dealer is very thin but at the same time feels stiff and hard on the body. Not very comfortable to wear.

2. The button facing is cut separately and it turned out very stiff due to the many layers and seam allowances. Probably I also used too heavy interfacing for the flimsy fabric.

3. I have thousands of buttons but not a single one in pure white, can you believe it? They are all cream or have a yellowish tinge, so I opted on the extreme opposite and chose black buttons, but this is also not working for me. If I were happy with the rest of the shirt I would replace them.

4. My own stupidity: I made the sleeve plackets upside down. Technically they turned out perfectly as you can see below, but they are sitting in the wrong place (on top of the sleeve) and opening the wrong way (the overlap is on the back side).  Gaaah, silly me!

5. The collar has no collar stand, it is just stitched on right sides together and the seam allowance inside of the shirt is covered with bias band. Originally I did not like this solution, but in the meantime I don’t think it’s so bad, only downside is that you cannot leave the uppermost button open, it looks strange as you can see the bias band.

The fit of the shirt is good, the bodice part is even a little bit too wide, which was a surprise as the pattern is designed for a 38″ bust and I have a 42″. I took in the width at the waist with a few tucks. The shoulder width is perfect.  The alteration à la Zieman worked out very well, the modified sleeve fit perfectly into the armscye.

Conclusion: Not a complete failure, the shirt is wearable but it is certainly not one of my best works. I am not going to make the originally planned detachable jabot for this one, but I will make another shirt from this pattern, with better fabric, better buttons and the plackets in the correct position. And this one will get the jabot.

I also want to make a version from a men’s shirt, but I’ll have to work out a two-tone strategy to make this work.


New inspiration for White Shirts

December 1, 2010

I love to look at vintage sewing patterns and I love to figure out if I can made something similar from my existing patterns. Of course it would also be cool to own all those patterns, but I am not a pattern collector so I leave them in the pool for the serious collectors 😉 .

Now look what I found:

Do you see the extra piece the lady in green is holding in her hand? This looks like it has the same buttonholes in the center front as the blouse, so it can be buttoned on optionally. How cool is that, I ask you?

I definitely will make something like that for my next white shirt.

McCall’s M6035 – White Shirt No. 2

November 23, 2010

Pattern Description

Shirt with princess seams, collar stand and differen sleeves.

Pattern Sizing

2 Multisize sets:

AA:  6 to 12

E5:  14 to 22

Each with cup sizes A, B, C and D

I made size 20, Cup C; the blue view with the gathtered sleeves

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope after sewing it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

I only read the instructions for the drawstring tunnel on the sleeves and this was not easy to follow for me. I still don’t know how they want you to make the tunnel; is it by stitching down the seam allowances? No idea. I came up with my own solution, stitching a bias band over the seam allowances of the front sleeve seam.

How is the fit of the finished garment?

Very good. After many trials with the BMV patterns I finally learned my lesson: I need one size smaller than the measurement tables say and I also need one cup size smaller than indicated. This is the first time I trusted my gut feeling and acutally dared to startout  with the smaller size and the result is perfect: the shirt is fitting well without any alterations.



  • Very good basic pattern for a shirt with many variation possibiltieis.
  • perfect fit


  • confusing description of the gathered sleeve, but it’s not a big issue

Fabric used

very lightweight wool-cotton mix

Pattern alterations or design changes

Instead of 2 drawstrings on the sleeve I only inserted one string in the tunnel while sewing on the bias band.  I gathered the sleeve and fixed it with a few stitches on the hem. Perhaps not my best idea, the sleeve will probably be no fun to iron after the first wash 😀 . 

Would I sew it again? Would I recommend it to others?

Sew again: yes. This will be one of my basic patterns

Recommend: Yes. But not for unexperienced people. The collar with the stand requires some sewing skills and experience.


  • Time for sewing: approx. 4 h
  • Cost:
    Fabric: 5 Euro
    Buttons, bias band, interfacing: approx. 2 Euro (everything from my stash)

White Shirt No. 1 FINISHED

November 8, 2010

My White Shirt No. 1 is the “Smooth Sailing” Blouse from Wearing History

1. Why did you choose this pattern?

I love the fashions of the 1930ies and 1940ies and I want to have a shirt/blouse to go with my vintage outfits. The “Smooth Sailing” Bluse from Wearing Histroy is a reproduction of an original 1930ies pattern and it will compliment a modern and vintage look equally well. I am still in the process of fitting this pattern to my body as perfectly as possible with the goal to have a standard pattern to use in the future. Once I have the fit down pat, I can make blouses very fast: just cut, sew, wear.

2. Where will you wear this?

Mostly I will wear it at work, it looks good with pants and skirts.

3. Why did you choose this fabric for this pattern?

It came from my stash and it is a leftover scrap from a nightshirt I made about a year ago. I had to make a seam in the collar center, because there isn’t enough fabric, but I  matched the fabric pattern so it will be inconspicuous.

4. What aspects of construction were you looking forward to as you sewed this?

Mostly I wanted to perfect my collar-attaching skills and I wanted to figure out what to do with the shoulder part of the facing – attach it by hand, stitch in the ditch on the shoulder seam ? I ended up serging the shoulder part and attaching it to the shoulder seam by hand, since I alread slipstitched the center part of the collar a few more handstitches didn’t make any difference.  I still do not have a patented solutions for this, however; there must be some trick of the trade how to finish this edge. With this particular pattern I am going to make a double yoke the next time, so the problem of what to do with the front facing on the shoulder will not be an issue here.

5. What aspects of construction worried you? What did you think you might mess up?

I was confident that I have all the necessary sewing skills and I had. Whats worried me more is the fit. I already made the shirt once before and the fit was not perfect. I had a few ideas where to change what and it worked out pretty good. The shoulders are still slightly too wide and the hips could use 1/4″ more width the next time, but these are not big issues anymore, so I am well on my way to my basic pattern.

6. Are there any instructions in this pattern that you have decided to disregard? Are you substituting another method and if so what will it be?


7. How long did it take you to complete this shirt or blouse?

Sewing: about 3 hours, Fitting: about 0.5 hours

Total cost of project: less than 3 Euro, everything from my stash.