A British Outfit: Making the Shirt

Now I have my shirt buttons all ready to go, it's time to move onto the shirt. I could have easily chosen to make a wrap shirt and called it job done. However, I really wanted a white classic shirt in my wardrobe. This meant making my own buttons (see previous blog post), but I knew that it would get worn infinitely more. Plus it would be good to have a decent shirt pattern in my arsenal. 


I used the classic shirt block from Winnie Aldrich's basic patterncutting book and made no alterations on paper. I cut it out in the main fabric which was silk habotai. It was somewhat of a novelty at this point to be able to use the fabric straight away without any long dye processes beforehand. The closest I could get to British silk thread was thread outsourced from Turkey but with the finishing done in Macclesfield, UK. I tacked it all together for the first fitting, and in the fitting I raised the back neckline, raised the sleeve so it sat more at my shoulder and pinned out some of the excess width in the sleeve. You can see the original sleeve on the left side of the shirt and the altered sleeve on the right. 

shirt first fitting.jpg

For the second fitting I drafted, cut out and attached the collar and cuffs with the updated collar measurement. In the fitting I pinned out some more excess at the underarm and in the sleeve so it would hang evenly. Excess was also pinned out of the cuff and the sleeve width. 3cm was taken out of the side seam. I found it surprisingly tricky to get my shirt the right amount of 'oversized'. 

shirt second fitting.jpg

I had a quick 3rd fitting after these changes were made and the only change I made was to add 1cm to the sleeve and cuff width. 

shirt 3rd fitting.jpg

Then it was time to get cracking on the construction for real. I started with burrito-ing the yoke and quickly learned that top-stitching and silk habotai do not play well together. 


I chose to do tower plackets on the sleeves, but I think in hindsight they are a tad too heavy for this fabric. They are neat though, and I am proud of them. Silk organza was used as interfacing.


I french seamed all of the insides as delicately as possible, including the sleeve heads. 


The collar I did using the method I learnt from this blog post years ago. It never fails to give me a neat collar.


I cut strips of organza bias binding and used that to finish the hem.


After referring to my shirt making book I marked 7 buttonholes down the centre front of the shirt. The first is 5.5cm from the top of the buttonstand and the rest 8.5cm apart. Then there is on horizontal button in the middle of each cuff. I don't like the fact that the buttons are unevenly spaced at the top. I think it looks messy and that I can't measure accurately. I'd space them evenly next time. 


And that's my shirt finished! Now it's just the trousers, jumper and shoes to go. 

Thanks for reading!

Lauren xx