After two fitting muslins (aka mock-up, toile) to perfect the pattern, I made this dress shirt for my husband out of yellow and reddish batiked cotton. He said it didn’t breathe, I said it is cotton, but he was wearing it on a day that was almost 80 degrees.
Here are the steps I used to sew and dress shirt.
First, I washed and dried the fabric. I didn’t preshrink the interfacing in a bowl of hot water (I didn’t think about it and this particular one doesn’t come with instructions). It’s French Fuse and around 60″ wide, if anyone wants to know. Many interfacings are only around 22″ wide. Then I pressed the fabric, folded it, and laid it out flat on my cutting mats.
Now, read this: You can do a test yourself of how a particular pattern piece turns out after you cut it out if you lay down the pattern piece and put weights on it or if you lay it down and pin it. I never pin a pattern piece to the fabric. I lay it down and put weights on it. Then I trace around the pattern and remove it. When I cut, I cut the line off. I don’t cut around the outside of the line (it will add to the size of the pattern piece) nor do I cut in the middle of the line (same). I cut the line off. And I’m not the only one who does.
So, after I laid down, marked, and cut out all the shirt pieces, I fused the interfacing to all the pieces that needed it. Then I started sewing. 🙂
These next several photos show the steps for the sleeve placket, that little finished slit above the cuffs. You might not find this method used on many women’s blouses. Often the slit is finished with one piece of bias tape that is then stitched flatter at the top of the slit or a slightly more complicated method. The 3rd method, which I’m using, is the most complicated, and used on most men’s dress shirts. If you have one handy, you can take a look at it. It isn’t super complicated, but does require several steps.
OK, on to the rest of the shirt.
With a French seam, you have to plan a bit and it can be tricky to press open such small seam allowances. To make a French seam, you stitch your pieces together with the wrong sides together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.. Press open the seam allowances then put the pieces right sides together, folding at the seam. You might have to trim a bit of the seam allowance at this point. Press along the seam so it’s flat. Then stitch again (right sides still together) with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press then press the seam toward the back. See in the photo above, this is the inside of the seam. It has a stitched edge (the 2nd stitching) and a finished edge (the 1st stitching).
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
One of my next posts will be about different types of seams. Maybe I will also blog about the new costume I’ve cut out for Portland’s first Steampunk Ball and Fashion Show next month. I’m definitely going to blog about the suit jacket I’m working on for a friend, but that is a long-term sort of project and will probably end up in 3 parts.