It’s hard to start writing about my new favorite shirt while I’m still reeling about the unnecessary violence at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. The attack hits so close to home for me. Running is a huge part of my life. I ran the Boston Marathon last year (and in 2005), I had friends running this year, and I spent most of my Monday morning watching the live streaming of the race. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted.
[Huge, deep breath.]
Okay, so about my awesome new shirt. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that since stitching on the final button (by hand!) on Saturday, I’ve been wearing it non-stop. I figured it was okay since it was unlikely I was going to see the same people on Sunday as on Monday, so no one would know! Well, no one except my husband, but he’s really understanding. Plus, it’s become one of his favorite shirts on me, too!
I think it’s secret to becoming my favorite so quickly is the fabric. When I stumbled upon this sheer gold plaid cotton shirting from Marc Jacobs (also in lemongrass and the always popular maroon) on the Mood Fabrics site, I knew it would make the perfect boyfriend shirt. It’s sheer, gauzy texture gives just the right amount of femininity to the masculine lines of the button down. As I was working with it, it confirmed over and over that it was a great choice. It handled really well, particularly as I was topstitching and grading, trimming, and clipping seams – keys to a nicely sewn button down.
The sun just glows through the sheer fabric! But, the fabric is not so sheer it’s indecent. In fact, even though I’ve been wearing this shirt over a camisole, I don’t think it would even be remotely scandalous to wear it all by itself, especially with the added pockets.
The pattern I used was Grainline Studio’s Archer Button Up Shirt. One of the first steps when making the pattern is to add the pockets to the two fronts, and I was so thankful to get that done earlier rather than later as these bias-cut pockets really wanted to stretch! I had to use a lot of care – and a lot of steam! – to keep these pockets the right size before they were fixed to the shirt. It was worth it though, as I really like the look of the diagonal plaid mixed in with the horizontal.
I also cut the yoke on the bias and had to be careful about stretching there as well. I kept the two cut yokes pinned to the pattern piece until I needed them. Next time I might cut the inner of the two yokes on the straight grain so that I can have even more stability without compromising the look of the yoke from the outside.
I cut the placket on the bias as well, but its interfacing kept it nicely behaved. I’ve now made several button down shirts, so details like the collar and cuffs came together quickly. I did wonder if the collar was a tad bit narrow, but I figure it’s delicate stature also adds to the femininity of the shirt.
One of my favorite details about the pattern are the angled cuffs. I like how they really set the shirt apart from something you might find in a store. They show the care and attention to design that come with being able to make your own clothes. I did make one small change to the pattern: I gathered the sleeve into the cuff instead of pleating it. Just a personal preference.
I took my time when cutting and sewing to try to maximize my chances for pattern matching along seams. For the side seams I focused on aligning the horizontal repeats. I’m very pleased at the result of my efforts, particularly as I was using French seams, which meant I had to think about aligning the major stripes twice! The French seams keep the insides nice and neat, a must for a sheer fabric like this one!
It’s always nice to make a new favorite garment. I hope all of you are having luck sewing new favorites as well!