Blue Plaid Flannel Button Up

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

It finally feels like Spring here in the Pacific Northwest.  The sun is shining, the forsythia is blooming, and my last handmade Christmas present from this past Christmas is finally finished.  Ha!

Christmas morning my husband unwrapped the cut pieces for this blue plaid flannel shirt. I’d ordered this blue plaid flannel fabric from Mood Fabrics the second I saw it online since I knew it was just perfect for my husband.  He’s a blue button-up shirt kind of guy, and this particular pattern screamed Pacific Northwest. And, well, that’s exactly where we live.

With the cutting behind me, I thought for sure he’d have a finished shirt in no time.  But, a lot of crazy life events have kept me away from my sewing machine the past few months.  Not to mention that after diligently cutting out each pattern piece, I got frustrated that one side seam didn’t match up.  Silly, right?  Especially since it doesn’t bother me at all now that the whole shirt is together.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Okay, so how exactly did I mess up just one side seam?  Well, I started my plaid matching at the center front.  I decided to center the black vertical stripe (though I later noticed that many similar ready-to-wear plaid shirts have the lighter vertical stripe centered), then I used the right side seam to determine how to cut the back.  What I failed to notice was that my horizontal stripes were not perfectly horizontal – the pattern skews ever so slightly up from left to right (or from right to left as you’re looking at it). What that means is that by the time the pattern wraps all the way across the front and around the back, there’s a noticeable shift in the horizontal line at the left side seam.  Since I only had dust left after cutting out the pieces the first time around (I even had to piece the under collar because I cut the yardage so close), I wasn’t able to go back and try recutting, but I think maybe I should have trued the fabric grain before I started cutting?  Instead, I just prewashed the flannel (three times!), pressed the wrinkles out, and then trusted that the fabric on grain.  Now, at least with this particular fabric, future Amy is imagining past Amy pulling at diagonal corners of the fabric until the horizontal stripes are perfectly perpendicular to the vertical stripes after pressing but before cutting.  How does that sound to those of you with more experience? Any advice out there?

The problem continued on into the sleeves. When I was cutting the sleeves, I tried to match the horizontal pattern as well, using the front left side as my template.  And, the left sleeve (above) matches really well.  But, the right sleeve (below) is slightly off despite being an exact match to the left sleeve.  Since matching the sleeves was mostly just a fun challenge I gave myself (I can’t imagine anyone would ever notice, especially not my husband!), I am actually really happy to have gotten one sleeve right.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

And, as I mentioned above, now that the shirt is finished, the slight mismatches don’t bother me at all.  My husband’s been wearing the shirt all day, and I haven’t noticed.  I think a mismatch at the center front would have been harder to overlook, but thankfully that’s spot on!

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

The pattern I used was vintage Butterick 4712, which I’ve made up roughly once a year for my husband since I began blogging back in 2011 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now here’s 2015).  Thanks to the fitting I did during Peter of Male Pattern Boldness’s Men’s Shirt Sew-Along, all I have to do now when I find a fabric that will make a great shirt for him is cut and sew.  (Although, looking back at that post, it seems I took some width out of the shoulders back then, which I don’t remember doing this time around – I’ll have to look into that before I make another!)

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

As I mentioned earlier on my blog, just about every seam of this shirt was sewn three times.  First, it felt like I sewed most every seam wrong the first time around. Even the plackets were stitched inside out, which I unfortunately noticed after slicing into my sleeves.  But, look at them now – a good save and a near perfect match!

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Then I would carefully rip out those stitches and restitch.  Finally, every seam was either top stitched or flat felled.  I have to say that flat felling the seams was a lot easier than I’d imagined and make for a wonderfully neat finish inside of the shirt.  There are no exposed raw (or even serged!) edges anywhere in this shirt.  Even though sewing this shirt seemed to take forever, it was worth getting such a good finish on it.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Also, aren’t they so cute?!  When we tried to take photos for this post outdoors, we realized the ground was way too wet and soggy for our diaper-clad little girl.  So, she became a prop instead.  Best prop ever, in my opinion!

I hope everyone is enjoying the shift in seasons as much as we are!

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Comments


  • Amanda S.
    March 18, 2015

    Adorable prop! Great shirt too! Sometimes I get really frustrated with a finished garment for not being perfect – some little thing will totally put me off wearing it. Then I put it in the back of my closet and a few months later I can’t even remember what I was so irritated about. We are our own worst critics for sure.

    • Sew Well
      March 18, 2015

      Thanks! That’s basically what I did with this shirt during the sewing process. I put it aside until I was happy to finish it. I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken the time to finish it neatly if I’d tried to sew it when I was first frustrated with it. I now don’t mind its imperfections at all! Thankfully, neither does my husband!

  • Lori
    March 18, 2015

    Great looking shirt for you husband and I think the plaid matching is superb. We are our own worst critics at times. Your daughter is the perfect accessory for the photos. Do you have any flannel left? She needs a shirt to match daddy, maybe with cute little ruffles out of black?

    • Sew Well
      March 18, 2015

      There’s only dust left at this point. Well, except for the pockets that I didn’t end up sewing on. Maybe I could make some sort of cute jumper with crazy bias blue-and-black plaid pockets?! :)

  • chrs
    March 19, 2015

    Love the adorable prop, the perfect shirt, and the awesome forsythia bush. Yep, the PNW is pretty wonderful.

    • Amy
      March 19, 2015

      Thanks! We are very happy here!!!

  • Ginger
    March 19, 2015

    Wow, I’m so jealous of your early spring! :) We had snow flurries yesterday in New York… yuck! This really turned out great, and the colors are so nice on your husband!

    You know, I often have that problem with plaid flannel- after I prewash the fabric, I feel like the grain gets sort of wobbly and I really struggle to keep it straight throughout the sewing process. It’s always an issue for me! I had the same thing happen to me with an as-yet-unsewn Archer buttondown… I took so much care when cutting to make sure the side seams would match, but the center fronts are off by about half an inch! I can’t bear to face the project, so it’s been sitting in pieces for months!

    • Amy
      March 19, 2015

      Oooooh! The front not matching would be the worst. Can you recut? Make it somehow seem intentional? Color block in some way to remove the offending pieces? Hmmm….

      • Ginger
        March 20, 2015

        I think I will end up just stretching it back on grain and then cutting the pieces down until they’re the right size for my little nephew. :)

        • Amy
          March 23, 2015

          Awww. Gotta love little kid clothes! Especially how little fabric they take!

  • Fiona
    March 19, 2015

    You’ve managed a lovely fit and beautiful clean finish here Amy! I love that plaid, I used it to make myself an Alder a few months back and it sews up so well with a bit of topstitching!

    • Amy
      March 19, 2015

      I remember your beautiful Alder out of this fabric. It’s actually one of the reasons I felt okay waiting a couple of months to finish this project since I thought maybe it wouldn’t feel so redundant with a few months in between. I hope you’ve gotten a lot of wear out of yours!

  • Al
    March 20, 2015

    My mother taught me to pull the fabric diagonally (on cottons) before doing any cutting if the grain doesn’t quite line up after pre-washing. It works. Your shirt looks great.

    • Amy
      March 23, 2015

      Thanks for the tip. I do plan to try that next time I notice something like this. I’m glad to know it does work!

  • DebB
    March 20, 2015

    Adorable family! I cannot show this shirt to my husband or he would want one right now! Great job – it looks perfect on your DH!

    • Amy
      March 23, 2015

      Thanks Deb! And, I am creating quite a precedent here making a shirt for him every year. I don’t think he’s counting though, so if I skip a year or three, I can’t imagine he’ll notice!

  • Cennetta
    March 23, 2015

    Despite the matching issue, this is a lovely shirt. It looks like your husband is pleased. That’s what counts.

    I’m now thinking plaid too. ;-)

    • Amy
      March 23, 2015

      I’m so happy I tried my hand at a bold plaid like this. All of my former plaids were so small that any little variation at the side seam was almost unnoticeable. To get so many seams to match up here was actually a huge accomplishment for me! I can’t wait to see what you make from a plaid!

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    March 24, 2015

    I can imagine the thought of plaid matching must have been daunting as you took the scissors to this fabric!

    • Amy
      March 24, 2015

      It was a fun challenge. And, I thought I’d been supremely successful… until I came to that side seam! Hahaha! Next time!