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.
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.
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!
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!)
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!
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.
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!