I made a shirt. A SHIRT. With a collar and cuffs and buttonholes. And it actually fits!!
Let’s back up for a moment: I have a flannel shirt problem. I love flannel shirts so much that I live in them every weekend in the cooler months and wear them like cardigans in the summertime. Thing is, none of them fit quite right regardless of size: either the sleeves are a bit too short and the bust is a bit too tight, or the shoulders are a bit wide and the fit is more relaxed than I’d prefer, and as an individual with a long torso they’re all a bit short in the body. I’ve wanted to make – and perfect – my own flannel shirt pattern for a couple of years and finally got down to it this winter.
When I say “finally got down to it this winter” I mean “I’ve had Sewaholic’s Granville shirt pattern for at least two, maybe three, years so I should just tackle the darn thing.”
Was I intimidated? Yes. Have I ever made a garment with buttonholes, sleeves, a collar, or cuffs? Nope, none of those, but you have to start somewhere right?
The fabric is some squishy, robust Robert Kaufman mammoth flannel from Fabrications that was pretty easy to pattern match, although I kept getting mixed up about which side of the fabric was the right side since they look identical except the plaid pattern is obviously reversed. That made for a few interesting moments during assembly when I had to triple-check that all the major pieces had the pattern facing the same way – I kept muttering “turquoise top right” under my breath. In the end, it turned out well except my buttons are on the “wrong” side for a woman’s shirt. Minor issue, although I will admit to being confused during cutting about whether the “left side” of the front piece meant when a person is wearing it or when a person is looking at someone wearing it. #overthinker
One particularly interesting moment was when I was uncharacteristically forward-thinking and laid the front pieces down and lined them up, only to discover that the pattern matching was off. It was mercifully easily solved by snipping about 1/2″ off the top of one piece and the bottom of the other.
- cut a size 12 based on measurements and it was pretty bang-on
- didn’t lengthen it as there was a healthy hem allowance although I didn’t need to minimize it in the end
- pinched out about 4″ in the centre back and ended up taking it out of the side pieces in the back, ultimately grading from a 12 to an 8 at the hip on the outside edge. I left the centre back piece as-is for this version but will take out about 1.5″ (0.75″ on each side) in future iterations. These two adjustments were directly informed by this blog post by Hilary Rose
- like Hilary Rose, I noticed that the flare at the bottom was too much so I took each front piece in an inch on the outside edge, grading to nothing about 3.5″ from the bottom
- the next time I make this pattern, I’ll bring the shoulders in 3/4″ on each side, shorten the sleeves 1″, and raise the front pockets about an inch
The construction came together easily, even the collar and cuffs. The instructions were very clear and I consulted sewalongs when I had any doubts. I got discernibly better at edgestitching since I flat felled all the inside seams, although finishing the inside armhole seams was super tricky so thank goodness it was one of the final steps!
I will admit that the scariest part was at the very end when I made the buttonholes. I don’t know why they terrified me so much but I was sweating bullets despite sewing a handful of practice ones on scrap fabric. Eep.
This is, without a doubt, the make I’m most proud of. It’s the first time I’ve approached such a challenging project with so many elements I’ve never tried before, but I made a point of going slow and steady and it turned out wonderfully. I have a tendency to give myself arbitrary deadlines – I’ll make this in a weekend! It’ll be done by May! – but I didn’t do that this time and very much enjoyed the process. Lesson learned, especially as it made me excited to get back to sewing more frequently again.