Monday, April 16, 2018

Dot...Dot...Dot in Reverse

The next shirt is a journey in details. This shirt is loaded with special things I did to it. I didn't start out to sew a shirt where the details could possibly overtake the actual shirt design. My original intent was just to use the front and back sides of the fabric.


Here is how the shirt became a project...

First the Supplies ~
1. This fabric is from Fabric Mart and was purchased during one of their 60% off shirting sales. So this one is $5.20 per yard and I used 3 yards or $15.60 for the fabric. 

2. The buttons I chose for this shirt are from SIL and I think I paid $3-4 a pack and I bought 3 packages. 

3.  Interfacing is from Fashion Sewing Supply and is the Light Crisp fusible interfacing.

Design Changes & Construction ~
I went all in on this shirt. I added some interest to it by using the reverse side of the fabric for the button band, collar and cuffs. I used my "Coralee" method for the shirt front band and I added white topstitching to the collar, cuffs and button band.


I also added a box pleat to the back of the shirt instead of the gathering that I typically use. This one was inspired by the Talbot shirts in the "Shirt Inspiration" post.


I wanted to stitch the seams down since I don't flat fell the seams. But when I went to topstitch the seams with black thread they just got lost in the fabric's design. After pondering it for a minute, I realized that handstitching the seams would make them noticeable especially if I mimicked the dashes in the fabric.

So I hand stitched the shoulder seams, the back yoke, the side seams and each of the princess seams, as well as the hem. I doubled the thread in the needle so that I had four strands for each pass through and I tried to keep my stitches small. I know I wasn't always successful but to me it adds to the charm of the handstitches.

The sleeves were cut fuller and gathered into the button on cuffs. After much deliberation and a couple of choices I went with a white shank button down the front of the shirt to emphasis the lighter side of the shirt that was used for the button band.

A few pics of the shirt ~



Almost didn't include this shot cause seriously I look like a wide
load trailer in this shot! But honesty rules the day!


Sewing Tip ~
I always add an extra button to the shirt by sewing it into the side seam of the garment. That way I never have to worry about a button if one falls off. I know this isn't a fitting or construction tip but it's something that no one thinks about because we're sewists and we always have buttons, right? But sometimes we don't always have the button we need and this insures that you don't have to worry about it.

Wearability Factor ~
While I'm not sure about the pleat in the lower back of this shirt, it didn't bother me when wearing the shirt. It was comfortable to wear, fits my lifestyle and feels age appropriate but not stodgy. Though between this shirt and an upcoming one that also has a pleat detail, I'm thinking that the pleat is not working with the pattern piece. Or that maybe a pleat is not the way to go for me. I won't be adding a pleat to future makes because the gathered back is what really works for me.

Conclusion ~
Since I'm now approaching double digits with shirt makes, I want to use design details to make them different from each other and also so the unsuspecting non-sewing public won't realize that I'm basically wearing the same shirt. LOL! The buttons are a mother of pearl shank button also from the collection. So again another shirt made totally from items from the collection.

As I was photographing this group of shirts and writing up the blog posts, I've started to wonder if anyone even cares about seeing shirt after shirt. Some of these blog posts are for me ~ I like having a record of the garments I've made and the notes of what I've done. My blog has become an archive of garments I've sewn over the last 12 years but this is my benefit. I'm wondering if any of this benefits you the reader? 

Or if your eyes have glazed over and you've tuned out...cause honestly I have more shirts to share. I'm halfway through a sewing tear and I have more to document. So do you have any questions? Is there anything I'm not sharing that you need more info on? Ask and I will answer the best I can or throw it out to others, some who have way more experience than I do, so a discussion can occur. While I'm not writing a question of the day for this month - let this post be that about shirts, sewing them, choosing fabric, buttons or trims.

Of course up on the blog next is another shirt! LOL! This one is an inspired by...

...as always more later!

51 comments:

  1. I am really enjoying your parade of shirts! Isn't it amazing how many interesting details can be added to make a shirt a bit more "interesting"?

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    1. Irene - that's what I'm enjoying the most about sewing them - how adaptable they are to new ideas and change. Thanks for following along!

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  2. I'm enjoying your shirt posts! I too love all.the.little.details... so keep em comin'! On a personal note, my topstitching is not up to my expectations. LOL!

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  3. I LOVE seeing your shirt posts! The way you can ring the changes on your TNT pattern is so inspiring. My own dream is to someday have a pattern that fits me for a woven shirt, so seeing your many shirts looking so good lets me believe it is possible

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  4. Oh that's lovely, all those little extras make it very designer. Enjoy wearing it.

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  5. I am always interested to see what you are sewing and I love the little details too.
    From South Wales, United Kingdom

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  6. I'm enjoying the shirt posts and am looking forward to the rest of April. I plan on making a few button up shirts and like reading how you are making your TNT pattern unique for each shirt.

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  7. You could move the pleats to the armhole end of the gathered section, a detail often seen on men's shirts and better for your figutre.

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  8. I enjoy your posts and seeing all the little details you add to your projects. I think it's good too for those who haven't realized all the different ways you can make a single TNT pattern unique.

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  9. I love your shirts, as I have loved your other makes, and am looking forward to seeing (and reading about) the changes you choose to make each shirt look unique. I am a visual learner and seeing how you create variety using your TNT patterns continues to be tremendously helpful.

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  10. Another cute shirt. I am always keen to see the creative process.

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  11. Don't stop your shirt posts, even though I don't (currently) sew shirts, they are always interesting, and beautiful.

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  12. I think this shirt is great looking but you are right about the pleat in the back yoke. It seems to emphasize your behind more than you want. You always think of creative details to add, like the hand stitching on this shirt. I am enjoying the shirt posts so carry on.

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    1. Connie - I was surprised at how wide it made my backside look in the picture when it's taken straight on. Even though it's a comfortable wear, that's just not a great look. But I would have never known if I hadn't taken the chance, so I'm glad I did. No more pleats! LOL!

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  13. I love your shirts. I think maybe 2 pleats, one down each shoulder would change the silhouette to a straighter look while giving the same ease.

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    1. Grace - what a fantastic idea and I'm going to use it to see how it works! It may not come with this batch of shirts - cause my last three for the season are planned out but don't be surprised if you see this in the fall batch.

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  14. Keep doing what you are doing! You are in inspiration.

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  15. I like seeing how you change each version, it's pretty cool. Plus I like reading whatever you are writing about sewing, and you actually write about the construction, techniques, etc which I find helpful. Also, it's your blog, write whatever you want :)

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  16. I love seeing your shirts! Every detail is always so well thought out to make each one unique. I look forward to seeing others...

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  17. I love seeing your shirts, and this one is no exception! I really love what you did to it, and the fabric is very nice. Personally, I really like seeing the way you tweak the shirt to your liking!

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  18. Your shirt posts are great! Please keep them coming! I make more shirts than anything and it's wonderful to follow someone else's thought process and gain inspiration from it. Your idea for hand stitching on this one was a real "lightbulb" for me. It is another great way to add visual variety to my TNT shirt patterns. Thank you for that!

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  19. I too love to see each new shirt. The details of construction, fabrics, buttons are always inspiring. Please don’t second guess the sharing of your sewing odyssey. We readers are the lucky ones, Carolyn.

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  20. Let the people who don't want to read them skip over! Keep 'em coming!!!

    I thought, "I LOVE THAT PLEAT" before reading your caption and saying it didn't work. Drats. But you know what you like so go with the gathering.

    I really like this one. Very, very versatile.

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  21. I always not all of your posts...so yes, keep those shirts coming! Pictures of the burrito method would be so helpful...I haven tried it in the past with varying degrees of success.....erhhhh ...and failures! P.S. I,like the box pleat!

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    1. Mz johansen - did you see the link to the videos on Instagram? It's in the "The Hurrying Spring along Shirt post" I used a video because I just wasn't getting it from the written word. Hopefully if you watch it again, you will understand how to do this technique too!

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    2. Love all your shirts. Mz johansen, Kwik Sew explain the burrito method very very well which is where I first learnt it. Even their underpants pattern demonstrate it if you have any of their patterns for shirts with yokes.

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  22. I love seeing everything you make! Every beautiful item gives me new ideas and I love how honest you are about what you don’t think works each time and why because I usually wouldn’t have thought of that! If you enjoy blogging them, I really enjoy reading!

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  23. Seeing all the shirt variations is a joy and inspiration!!! I feel "I can do that" every time I read your blog, Carolyn. People don't always read your blog for just the photos, some just love your zest for like and to see what cool accessories you choose. Your hair and shoes really shine in this post...thank you!

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    1. That was supposed to be zest for "life"..jeez.

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  24. I love all the shirt posts. All these design details are so inspiring. I'm sure you've mentioned it before but I've forgotten how or where. What's the Coralee Method?

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    1. Catherine - that's a tongue in cheek reference to a suggestion that SizzleSews made to me at Sew Camp. There is no real method - sorry for the confusion.

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  25. Second what mrsmole said. MOAR shirts! MOAR Carolyn!

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  26. I just read three of your shirt posts and keep'em coming. Anything or idea's that anyone can learn of gain is great content. But it looks like shirt and shoe month to me! LOL!!! SS SWAG!!!

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  27. I like reading about your shirts and like you want to document my makes. Happy sewing

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  28. I love your blog. Tell all, please. I'm regularly inspired.

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  29. I like seeing variations to a basic design. It's also interesting to see how some work better than others.

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  30. Yes please, continue your shirt postings. Every one is unique and always inspiring.

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  31. Keep'em coming! I love the details, it gives a fresh look to a button up (BAWWW I couldn't help it). I also like the top stitching and hand sewing details. You've given me some ideas to add to my own button ups (lol) that I didn't even think of (I'm sew doing the gingham contrast one day)! I also agree that it's your blog and you write what you want...

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  32. Keep posting, please. It shares your ideas over to other people (me). I particularly like the top stitching done with hand stitches for this shirt. And I agree with everyone else, it's your blog, post what you want. Thank you for blogging. I'm sure it is a chore sometimes, but I and I think many, many others really enjoy it and we get to steal your great ideas.

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  33. Please keep telling us about your shirts. Ok, maybe it is the same TNT shirt pattern, but the details you're adding are inspirational. I've got a TNT skirt pattern, but still haven't gotten the guts to start playing with it. I LOVE seeing what you've done. It gives me courage.

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  34. In addition to the two pleats someone suggested, I got to wondering about using my ruffler foot...which actually makes little pleats-or an outie pleat instead of an innie
    And I really loved your idea of adding an extra button to the seam...I recently ran across an old favorite I made 22 years ago, Vogue 1476 an Issey Miyake design that was around forever, and it was missing one button-fortunately, I found it in the bottom of the box it was stored in....
    When doing a series like this, do you sew production line style or complete each shirt beginning to end individually?

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    1. P - I've been sewing shirts since the end of January and originally planned on sharing them as they were made. Then I got sick and I had a backlog of sewn garments to be photographed, this led to Shirt Month. So this was totally unplanned and suggested by a good friend as a way to handle all of the shirts I had made and am continuing to sew.

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  35. I have learned so much from you over the past 10+ years. Some I have tried and others ideas I just pondered. They have expanded my sewing quality and quantity. Thanks for all you have given me.

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    1. Rita - thank you for such a wonderful comment. I'm so thrilled that I've been able to pour out to others things that were poured into me.

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  36. Carolyn, I haven't sewn in years; I wandered over to your blog from Thornberry one day. I take 2 main things from your blog. 1. style inspiration. I'm very conservative in dress; you have given me ideas to experiment and explore. 2. I am much more critical of RTW clothing now, from linings to extra buttons. Your comments on construction, fit and design are dead on. RTW clothes don't always fit me well. Armed with insight from you, I can figure out why things don't fit and sometimes how to fix it. So keep it coming. Thanks for what you do and blog. Believe in yourself; what you do has value. BTW, I like the pleat, but I agree on the outcome. Maybe an outside box pleat rather than an inside box pleat? Or one at each shoulder. That is brilliant!

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  37. I love seeing your shirt posts as shirts are next on my to sew list. I especially like the information about how you change things up--like the box pleat in place of gathers. It gives me ideas for when I get started on my shirts. I also like how you incorporated hand-stitching and will definitely be using that on one or two of my shirts. Thank you for including the picture of your back--my first thought was, "look at that lovely pleat!" I'm glad you chose to include it.

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  38. I love all your posts. :) If I'm not sewing much, I can be happy for someone who is! Plus I love all your little details. Very inspiring.

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  39. Like others I love seeing this parade of shirts. I am definitely not tired of seeing them - keep 'em coming! Karen

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  40. I love the hand stitching. But does your machine have a triple stitch? Its a straight stitch 3 times in 1 spot, making it thicker. I often use that to make my topstitching more visible. I hope to get some shirts cut out this weekend- now that its finally warm enough to wear them without a heavy sweater!

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    1. Hey Patricia - yes my machine does have the triple stitch and it's one of my favorite stitches to use when topstitching. But I made a sample before stitching my shirt and it didn't work that's when I resorted to hand sewing. Thanks for asking!

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