Double denim shirt success: tracing my own pattern

I’ve cracked it!

At least, I think I have. I’ll let you decide. Here’s what I’m talking about:

alex double denim

I’ve finally managed to make a shirt for my husband that fits.

You might remember my first attempt was not a success. After another failed muslin of Burda 7045 I decided to give it up as a bad job and trace one of his existing shirts.

This was a solution suggested by the shirt guru David Coffin who actually commented on my original post, but I have to admit I was dubious I could make it work. I just didn’t trust my own tracing skills. I also suspected it would be deeply tedious and fiddly, so I put it off for a couple of months before giving it a go.

I used the method David explains in this video tutorial.but with cardboard instead of foamboard because it’s all I had lying around.

photo (2)
Yes I do have to trace and cut out all my patterns on the floor, which is not doing wonders for my posture.

Do you know what’s weird though? I really enjoyed the tracing process. It was like taking an omelette and turning it back into a fresh egg. I’ve always seen the process the other way round and couldn’t quite believe it worked in reverse.

The fabric I used is a lovely denim that Rosie from DIY Couture kindly sent me when she was having a fabric clear-out. The buttons were 10p each from Ultimate Craft. And the pattern was, obviously, free. So this was a thrifty project.

shirt front
I now see I’ve sewed that left button on too high. Hmph.

This was intended to be a muslin but the fabric was so nice I couldn’t resist doing it properly, although some bits are slightly wonky.

I saved time by using this method to do the plackets, although really this fabric is far too bulky for it. It worked out okay, but for the next shirt I’m going to tackle a proper placket.

shirt placket

I did do a lovely clean finish on the yoke, using the ‘burrito’ method. It’s hard to describe but very easy to do, and it looks so neat.

shirt yoke

denim shirt back

I probably should have ironed the shirt before forcing Alex into a photoshoot. Anyway, I think the fit is okay, but I’m not sure if I should bring the shoulders in a bit? There’s some alarming wrinkling round the armscye area but I don’t know if this is normal for men’s shirts. What do you reckon?

The sleeves are the only bit I’m not sure I traced correctly. I should have marked the shoulder point, as the yoke is coming too far back. The top button on the stand is also straining a bit, so I think it might need more room added to the armhole. 

shirt pocket

This uneven two-button pocket was my only artistic flourish. Predictably, Alex doesn’t like it, but that’s tough. If you’re getting a shirt for free, the shirtmaker decides on the design, that’s my thinking.

Overall, I think this counts as a DOUBLE THUMBS UP SUCCESS! I also enjoyed being on the other side of the camera for a change and bossing Alex about.

alex double denim 2

The only issue is that Alex really doesn’t need any more denim or chambray shirts. I just counted and he’s already got 5. At least he’s a man who knows his own taste. The next one is going to be a plaid, so I’m limbering up my check matching skills.

I need a short break from shirtland first though. This one was made in an epic weekend sewing session, and I don’t want to see another buttonhole again for a while.

Two Moss skirts (and bonus Hemlock)

I tried really hard to come up with a moss related pun for the title of this post, but sadly the brain cells are running dry. It is Sunday night after all.

I made my first denim Moss skirt in Nov 2012. It’s done valiant service but it’s nearly ready for the great charity shop in the sky. Here are a couple of replacements I sewed just before Christmas.

The first one is made from blue wool left over from this pencil skirt:

blue moss 2

The wool is a tiny bit too lightweight for this pattern, but it’s nice and warm. The top is another Grainline special, the free Hemlock tee. This is an amazingly fast pattern to sew, even for a slowcoach like me.

I added a small useless pocket as per usual. If you can add a tiny useless pocket, you should add a tiny useless pocket, that’s my motto in life.

blue moss 1

Here’s the second Moss, which is also made from leftover fabric, this time from my spotty trousers. I only just barely managed to squeeze the pattern pieces out of the remnant I had left.

spotty moss 2

I love this dotty skirt. I’ve been wearing it all the time. Winter is the only time I wear mini skirts, but luckily there’s no shortage of winter weather around here at the moment. As long as it’s cold enough to wear fleece lined tights, I’ll be wearing short skirts (second life motto there for you).

I’ve found it quite hard to adjust the Moss pattern to suit my shape, and I’ve hacked it around so much I’m going to have to print out another version, which is one advantage to pdf patterns. I think the secret for me is stretch fabric – probably why this dotty one is my fave.

I had the perfect big white button in my stash for the waistband:

spotty moss 1

Get your own Moss skirt pattern here. I can’t wait to see what Jen from Grainline comes up with next (and I still need to make an Archer shirt…)

Minerva blogging network: Leopard print Plantain

What is it about elbow patches that’s so appealing? You can’t see them when you’re wearing them. They bring up memories of geography teachers. And they’re not very useful, unless you salute people for a living, or have another job where you frequently bend your arms at a sharp angle.

But somehow they still make a garment totally irresistible. They’re the main reason I sewed up the new Deer & Doe Plantain top for my latest Minerva project.

top 2
You can see my post on the Minerva Network here, and buy the kit for this project here.

The fabric is a really nice thick double-knit, with thin stripes on the reverse. I turned up the cuffs to show the two sides:

top cuff

Here’s the enhanced elbow patch close-up. You can see the major error I made with this top, which was to make it way too tight.

I should have sized up as this fabric isn’t very stretchy. It’s still wearable, but if I make it again with a thick knit I’ll reduce the seam allowance.

back of top

I finished the neckline with stretch lycra binding from Minerva Crafts which is my new favourite thing. This pattern has a very low neckline, it must be the French influence. I hoicked it up an inch when cutting out.

Here’s the front where you can see my standard ‘take the photo already’ face.

top 1

And that’s everything. Apart from one last thing – I miss blogging!

I’ve been so busy in January with a new job and various other New Year type things that I haven’t had a chance to write any posts.

I have tons of sewing projects to post about and lots of half-finished screeds in my head, but no time to get them out into the world. This sucks. Hopefully I’ll be back to a regular blogging schedule soon.

p.s. did you see the Great British Sewing Bee starts again in two weeks?? I am seriously, sadly excited about this.