Sunday, June 18, 2017

I'm back blogging - In Praise of Imperfect Shirtmaking - Burda 2561.

Hello Everyone,

I'm back blogging after a tedious patch in life that my husband and I had to navigate.  Not interpersonal issues, but a staff problem.  My husband works solo, and his secretary was ill.  100% staff absence is not really a very good way of operating.  Plus he is overloaded at the moment.  I stepped into the breach where I could.

Anyway, for now, the problem is resolved, and I have thought of a number of ways we can function should this situation arise again. As I suspect it will, in one shape or another.

So, by the time I got back sewing I was quite stressed and frustrated.  And decided to make a plaid shirt is a loose weave flannelette.  Nothing quite like adding to the frustration levels!

So thank you all for your lovely comments. This week I hope to get back to normal and actually reply again to your comments.

So, on with the shirt:

I decided to use a simple style with minimal seamlines and a bit of shaping, so rummaged through my patterns and settled on Burda 2561:

I usually always make a muslin to check fit, but I know that Burda size 38 usually works quite well.  So on this occasion I settled for a wearable muslin, basically because I wanted to get on and ease my sewing frustration.

The first problem happened cutting out the shirt.  I could not get the side seams to easily match, no matter how I tried.  I later figured out that it was because the dart was on the diagonal, not straight.  That was after I had cut the shirt fronts out - I had decided that I would be a little RTW and not worry about the plaid matching.  I just wanted to sew.

I also noted that the shirt was designed to have a small shoulder pad, but the depth was not specified. I did not want a shoulder pad, but I also did not know how much to take out, so I decided that as this shirt was just a really casual wearable muslin, that I would proceed and work out how much to remove if I make this again.

I did notice the the shoulder seam was way over the shoulder on the picture - so I removed 1/8 inch from that.

I also made a narrow, erect back adjustment of 1/2 inch.

Now, when I came to sew the front dart, I think that was really the point that I worked out why I was having problems with the side seam matching back and front : the diagonal slant of the dart out towards the side was quite marked, although they look quite straight on the trade sketch:

So I sort of straightened the dart up as much as I could.  I used the loose weave of the fabric to help, and eased the slightly longer side to the slightly shorter side.  I was prepared to have slightly mismatched side seams, but the front darts really had to look seamless as they would be so noticeable - side seams are more hidden. After a few attempts, I succeeded:

Other than that, the shirt was an easy sew,  but the fabric did want to stretch and move a lot. The shirt has taken on a life of it's own, though, with an interesting droopy effect.  Partly because of the way I manipulated the front dart, and partly because of the excess fabric in the shoulder and sleeve head that I did not remove because I did not know how deep the shoulder pads were.  If I make this shirt again, I think 3/8 inch needs removing.

But the other reason the shirt droops is because I am very straight through sides and have a very high chest.  So I need to split the chest, alter any dart point, and perhaps even lift through the sides.  So the straight lines of fabric have made this an ideal fitting muslin - it shows just what I need to do in the future for all patterns.  

Strangely, for all the hassles and imperfections in this shirt, I love it!  Maybe because of those imperfections.  And I am going to wear this a lot around the house.  I'll even wear it out in the right situation - I doubt anyone will notice the droops, which are not so obvious if I choose to wear this as a jacket shirt:

(and, I can see that worn open, the shirt is not catching on the high point of my sternum, so does not look so droopy).

Before I show all views, I will just show you the button detail:

Before I go, I'll just show you the front, back and side views:

As you can see, the back lines are fairly straight, with a slight droop to the side. So I think altering the high chest area will pretty much fix any fit issues with my high chest/erect and narrow back.

So, I shall wear this imperfect shirt with pride.  It has taught me a lot.

The fabric used was a cotton flannelette.  I had 2.5 metres of 150 wide.  I was left with a 1 metre piece and a strip about 25 by 60 cm.  

So, next week, I am going to show you what I did with the remainder...

Until then, bye for now,

Sarah Liz


  1. What a pretty check, and it makes a very attractive shirt/jacket, Sarah Liz. As always, I enjoyed reading about your fitting adjustments, which work so well. The pattern matching is way better than many RTW!

  2. Imperfections ! Your shirt looks perfect from here !
    Your husband is lucky you can step into the role of practice manager .

  3. It's so interesting how the check shows you what you need to do for better fitting. It looks pretty good however, just how a flannelette shirt should.. comfortable.

  4. I think it looks great ! I'm glad you were able to get back to sewing -the #1 stress reliever

  5. Welcome back! and cute shirt.

  6. Great shirt/jacket. The fit is lovely across the back and leaving it unbuttoned fixes the droops splendidly.

  7. Welcome back, Sarah! I really love this shirt. These plaid patterns match perfectly. You did a beautiful job:)

  8. I'm glad the problem has been resolved. Ah, life!!
    Your shirt looks great. You can never go wrong with a plaid even if the lines don't completely match. Plaids just make a garment look so beautiful. It looks really great on you.

  9. I think it looks good. I'm glad it helped relieve your stress and can work as a guide for future alterations.