Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Angel Shirt - Construction Details

Continuing in my quest to own more shirts, I bought this fabric last November.  I saw it in an email ad from Fashions Fabrics Club and I loved the "Florentine Romantic" air of it.  Now before y'all start, I don't know if that's what it really is.  It's just what I'm calling it, okay?!

I used my full back version of my TNT shirt so I didn't have to cut the pattern up too much. As it is, it took some consideration to get the fronts cut in a way I liked. I did end up mirroring the print on the sides. When I laid it out, it looked like the angels formed a bib on the front and I really liked that!  

The construction went together like normal. I chose not to use the burrito method for this shirt and to topstitch the shoulder seams down to the back yoke instead. Boy am I glad I went this way! Because after sewing the shoulder and side seams together I got this...

Can you say pissed off! I posted it to Instagram and got a bunch of suggestions. There were two that really resonated with me.

1. Adding a solid color front placket
Although I couldn't decide how many pieces to recut in the solid color.  Front placket, collar, undercollar & cuffs?  Or just the front placket, collar and undercollar? And the thought of adding a red color (because that's what I had on hand that coordinated) messed with my finish version of the shirt.

2. Recut the front pieces so they'd match
Since this was cut tunic length I could lose some length at the bottom without affecting the length of the shirt too much. I went with option number two.  

To make it work I did the following ~

o Recut the piece that annoyed me after matching it to the opposite front to insure the motifs worked at the center front.

Making it match up

Yes, originally I added some extra to the 
side seams to give the shirt a looser fit

Using my ruler to make sure both pieces matched in the front

o  I recut the front neckline and shoulder and sewed the front placket piece and side bodice together.  Then I realized I'd shortened the armhole by making that adjustment.

o To fix the armhole, I recut the piece by placing both front pieces on top of each other. Then I cut the altered piece's armhole to match the unaltered piece. This insured that the armhole was fixed correctly.

I was going to use the pattern piece to fix the armhole at first

Instead I laid one front on top of the other 
and cut the armhole out that way

o  Then I cut the extra off the bottom of the shirt front.

I laid everything on the cutting/sewing table one more time and checked to insure the motifs matched on the front.  Then I sewed it together.

Here is how it looks now - front and back views...

I really like how the motifs form a bib look!

Full gathered back to take advantage of the pattern

I have to admit that this slowed down the construction of the shirt considerably. I was hoping to have it to the point where it only needed buttons & buttonholes like the other two shirts that preceded it. Alas it was not to be but I am glad it was an easy fix. I'm also thrilled that I only needed to rip out the shoulder & side seams and one front piece to make it work.

Since this was a unique fix to an interesting challenge, I decided to document the process separately from the actual shirt reveal which will probably be later this month. always more later!


  1. So glad you got it to work out for you.

  2. Oh dear, that sort of thing happens to all of us. Great save, worth it for that seriously gorgeous fabric. I would have bought that in a heartbeat too. Can't wait to see the end result. Happy sewing!

  3. I am glad you showed the concerns and solution to the project. It an encouragement to every sewer that faces challenges to regroup and not give in.

  4. Oh no! Glad you were able to fix it! I love bib yoke blouses, this is really really gorgeous!

  5. That is not an easy print to "get right". Whatever works is the right way to do it. Can't wait to see the final product and the fabric is really special.

    1. Bunny - the piece that was advertised made it seem like an easy panel. When it arrived and I unfolded the fabric, it took a minute to wrap my head around how to handle it. I'm just glad I got the mistake to work out in the end.

  6. I'm sew happy you were able to fix it! Beautiful fabric!

  7. Oh the frustration! I just flashed back on the times I've obsessed over print placement only to have something weird happen: twinning, upside down, butt flowers, you name it. Well you triumphed over this one - it looks amazing! I look forward to the final reveal.

  8. Nice save! I'm so glad your blog now shows the process involved in fixing those boo boos that happen to all of us. Karen

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your process. Immensely helpful to this beginner.

  10. That's a lovely design, and I'm glad you got it to work for you. I really appreciate you sharing your process in recovering that project. You are the best!
    I have a similar motif fabric that I just don't think is going to work unless I center that big image (t's a Virgin of Guadalupe, and I just can't slice her up). I will pay far more attention to ruler scales on online fabric photos, or Just Not Buy Things Without Rulers.

  11. You done good! (Texan talk) It's lovely!

  12. That print is seriously tricky to work with. I would never have thought of placing the pattern like a bib. High 5 to your original idea and your fix.

  13. Carolyn, This is lovely! Wonderful that you persevered to find a solution. Thanks for sharing the details. It's helpful sometimes to see solutions when things don't go quite as planned. I look forward to seeing the finished shirt.

  14. So pleased to see that you got this fixed - well saved. I must admit to a few rude words on your behalf when I saw your original pic on instagram!

  15. Pattern matching is always a challenge but so rewarding when it works out. This going to be fabulous!


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