the shirt


My primary goal in the Patternmaking III class I took at Portland Sewing was to come up with the perfect button-down shirt pattern. I learned during the patternmaking classes that I have freakish shoulders. They are wide and stick out, so it’s often hard for me to find tops that fit me in the shoulders. So, armed with my sloper, I jumped in to draft a button-down shirt block, one that I would be able to use over and over, or at least that was my goal.
Man alive, did I have a lot to learn. I think I drafted about 4 sleeves, and I am still not completely happy with it (a bit too puckery in the cap for my taste). There were various other challenges, one being that I have very poor, or Peter would say nonexistent, spatial skills. It’s a wonder I’ve been able to sew at all over these decades.
Check out all these muslins! Muslin mayhem! When I got down to the final pattern, I still wasn’t sure it was going to work (and as I mentioned before, I still need to tweak the sleeve or maybe improve my sewing skills).
So some interesting lessons in this. My instructor helped me decide on some style issues. She suggested incorporating armhole darts, as those can be flattering for the chestally challenged. We kept the top shortish, because I have a long torso and short legs, and visually you want to break up the body into thirds: one-third on top and two-thirds on the bottom. The shorter top is supposed to make my legs look longer. I used the waist darts in the back for additional shaping. I apparently wear clothes with too much ease and was encouraged by others to wear more form-fitting items, but you know, I am not sure how comfortable I am with this. I guess at heart I am just an ease-y gal, ha ha. And the experiment continues …

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19 Responses to the shirt

  1. That shirt looks amazing! Gorgeous fabric too, and very flattering! I am a fan of less ease, as I am hourglass shaped and too much ease makes me look heavy and frumpy.

  2. sil says:

    Your shirt is adorable, you are adorable and your legs do not appear unnaturally short in any way 🙂
    Isn’t patternmaking on yourself humbling? Your blouse looks great from here so keep going!

  3. lisa c says:

    It looks awesome!! Much nicer than the potato sacks I’ve been making…

  4. carolyn says:

    i love the fabric.
    the shirt is super cute and flattering and I WANT IT
    but damn it does show off your insane skinniness. that shirt wouldn’t even fit just one of my buttcheeks, girl.
    MISS YOU!!!

  5. Lisa says:


  6. Arawa says:

    I think you’re wrong. You look really good in fitted shirts.

  7. Melissa says:

    That turned out great. All your practice has paid off!

  8. Seanna Lea says:

    Your shirt looks great.
    I completely understand what you mean by ease. When I’m knitting something I’m OK with a bit of negative ease, but for things like button down shirts I always want a bit of extra room. I think for me it has more to do with a dislike of button gapiness. I also hate feeling like a sausage in a casing, which I find happens more often with a woven fabric than with a knit one.

  9. rita mroczek says:

    Yes your teacher teacher is right. You look sharp and sophisticated in the blouse/shirt. A proper fit will not be uncomfortable by definition. Just try it for a week or 2 and I bet you will get used to it. I too have been making patterns and sharping my skills as a sewist. As the experts say after you sew a an acre or 2 of fabric you really get good. Ask a good cabinet maker how many board feet of lumber it took him/her to get really good at their craft. Dang. It is worth it.

  10. bolles says:

    Nice work there Miss Mariko! I love the new look for such an easy gal. Can you help me fashion a button down pattern??

  11. Gah! Congrats on a wonderful shirt. All those muslins is what scares me most about sewing my own clothes. I know that it must be done but I so dread the repetition. Not sure how to get past that but I will someday. 🙂

  12. Lori says:

    Good job. I love the stuff from alabama chanin but wouldn t pay those prices even if I could. Might be able to figure out how to make them though…

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  14. Nicole says:

    Nice! Looks good.

  15. splatgirls says:

    That is gorgeous. You are totally rocking the patternmaking, girl. And I agree that you look fantastic in more fitted stuff.

  16. Siow Chin says:

    It is so deja vu to me as I read the description of your body: wide shoulders that stick out, chestally challenged, they all apply to me to, hehe! Plus I have such generous calves that emphasize my bony torso all the better!

  17. london says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and you have a blog with long history archives. Just wanted to say it’s cool you’ve kept at it.

  18. Mandy says:

    That is amazing.

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