So I made the Named Tyler shirt – this is the second pattern that I received as a prize for winning the Monthly Stitch Dakota sewalong competition. I always forget how much work is involved in sewing a shirt – with plackets, cuffs and collar stand. This one has the added complication of two piece raglan sleeves.
My main experience of sewing shirts has been Grainline Archer – version A here and version B here. I deliberately went for over-sized when I made the Archers but the Tyler shirt is a lot more fitted and after my Bruyere shirt I knew I might have fitting issues so I was careful to make a muslin first.
I went for a size 42 – this was slightly larger than I thought I needed at the bust but I was expecting shoulder issues so I didn’t want to size down. As I suspected, the shirt was very tight across the back of the shoulders and I couldn’t raise my arms properly.
I found that Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch had made the Tyler shirt previously and she has a couple of posts on broad shoulder adjustments which were very helpful. She describes slashing the muslin at the shoulders to work out how much extra width to add – though when I did this it seemed as if I needed to add huge amounts. This image (from Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing) was posted by The Slapdash Sewist and it is very clear in showing how to adjust the pattern to add in this extra width. I did find this made the side seam slightly longer so it no longer matched the front seam and I simply folded out the extra length (maybe I should have lengthened the other seam?) anyway – I didn’t have a problem. I am happy with how this adjustment worked in the final version – I can move my arms now.
I was still really confused about how to deal with the forward shoulder adjustment. This is fairly straightforward in a standard bodice, but was much less obvious on the two piece raglan sleeve. In the end I simply cut a slice off one side of the pattern and pretty much stuck it onto the other side. This hasn’t completely solved the problem – you can kind of see in the picture above and I probably haven’t made the adjustment in the right spot – the adjustment is slightly too close to the neck, but I think it has helped partially. I can also see a tiny bit of pulling on the front raglan seam but it doesn’t feel tight when I wear it.
Working through these adjustments took a couple of days and once again I realise just how much I still have to learn. I have a Craftsy class on fit waiting to be watched and I now have two different fitting books so I am slowly arming myself to deal with these issues.
So after all the work above and several attractive muslins made out of sheets I finally got started on the actual shirt and realised that I had made life much harder for myself by using a cotton (possibly a cotton mix) which was incredibly soft and shifty – it frayed like crazy and was very easy to pull out of shape when cutting or sewing. I intended to flat fell the seams in order to contain them to prevent fraying but then I forgot to add extra seam allowance when I was cutting out (the pattern only includes 1cm) I did manage to add the extra to the centre back and side seams but not to the shoulder seams so where I didn’t have the extra allowance I used a false flat fell seam and the insides look a little scrappy as a result. I don’t know how hard wearing this fabric will be. Very late in the process I got an overlocker for Christmas and so the two side/under sleeve seams are neatened using this which was infinitely better.
I used the sleeve placket piece from Colette Hawthorn again rather than the piece included as I thought it would contain the raw edges more completely. The plackets are definitely not my finest work – although I unpicked in places to try to get them accurate I didn’t want to start from scratch as I was worried this would cause even more fraying.
The final result is better than I thought it would be half-way through when all the seams looked like an enormous mess. I do love the drape of this shirt in the very soft fabric but I would really like to revisit it in a slightly more stable fabric next time. I definitely think it is worth a next time!
I opened 2014 with a shirt and I have closed it with another shirt which seems kind of neat. It would be lovely to say that the latest shirt shows how much better my sewing is now – I hope I am getting better (slowly!) but I think at least I am becoming more aware of all the challenges I still have to get to grips with in my sewing.
My very next challenge is getting to grips with an overlocker that I received for Christmas – I have a long way to go to learn how it works and how to make the best use of it. I am in the mood for lots of knit fabrics – I have a pinterest board with some ideas to get me started.
So – what is everyone else planning for the new year, anyone else feeling like a change of direction?