Saturday, August 3, 2013

TNT Birthday Shirt

Although I haven't been posting the last two months, I have been sewing.

A while back I won some fabric from Poldapop in addition to a pattern pyramid giveaway. I promised I would make something out of this great fabric and then share it on my blog. I got to the first part fairly somewhat sort-of quickly eventually and am finally getting around to the sharing. I finished this shirt on the morning of my birthday near the end of June and despite being in wardrobe rotation since, I wasn't able to take any pics until recently.

Here she is:

I made a cowboy-esque shirt. I had some moss-green velvet piping left over from a pillow project that perfectly matched the green in the fabric, and I had only in inch of waste left after I used it. My OCDness was very happy.

The pattern is a combo of the shirt in SewU (which I had tried once and found it to be unbelievably terrible), and the vintage Simplicity 7078 which was in my stash from one of my trips to the second hand store.


I've been wanting to conquer my fit challenges on the classic button-down for a long time so I decided to compare these two patterns to figure out what went so horribly wrong in the SewU pattern

When compared to the SewU pattern, there were some obvious differences:

The back: 
The Simplicity pattern back included a neck dart and extra width where I need it. Flat pattern measuring has become my best friend. After several broad back adjustments, I now just measure the width of the back to see if it will end up to be at least 19" across.
Interestingly, I'm finding that more of my vintage 70's patterns don't need an adjustment as was the case with S7078. I kept the neck darts because the back fit so well with them in my muslin that I didn't want to fiddle around with moving them and possibly wrecking what was good in the first place. I'll save that little experiment for another version.

Arm scythe: The underarm on both the front and back of SewU was much higher which I think was the major culprit for the bad fit. I used the underarm of 7078.

Neck/collar: The last 70's era shirt I made had a clownish collar that came up quite high and an incredibly large collar flaps. I lowered the 7078 neckline to match the more modern SewU pattern and drafted my own collar using this tutorial from Threads. After checking the fit with a muslin, I took about 1/4"-1/2" out of the length of the collar so I would need to ease it into the opening a little more (like other patterns I've worked with).

Sleeve: 7078 had a little extra fabric in the sleeve cap, and the SewU sleeve was so terribly ill-fitting the first time around that I didn't use either, instead opting to use the sleeve I drafted for the Sewaholic Alma a little while ago (yet to be blogged about). I can't remember which tutorial I used to draft it, but I referenced Ikat bag when drawing the shape of the sleeve head.

Torso: Since there are no waist darts on 7078, I added them in front and back using the Sew U pattern as well as referencing the Sewaholic Alma for placement and size. When taking in the side seams of most tops to give myself a little more waste definition a very pronounced curve forms – I am curvier than I thought!

The finished shirt on me (with glamorous air conditioner)

The back could still use some sort of sway-back adjustment, but I'm very pleased with the fit over all. I can reach forward without excessive strain at my upper arms which is really the main thing that bugs me when things don't fit.

A few details:
1. I used a pale yellow plaid bed sheet for my muslin and liked it so much with the flowered fabric that I used it to line the inside of my collar stand, button placket and under collar.

2. I wish that I had used snaps for closures on this, but I wasn't going to wreck it with that experiment when it was 90% done. That kind of shit takes practice.

3. I love the curved hem from 7078. I continued the hem on the inside of the side seams folding the seam allowance over twice and stitching it down for a neat finish inside. I reenforced with a bar-tacked at the bottom.

4. Button holes were forged with green thread. The buttons were also sewn on with the same contrasting thread.

5. And once again I cut my shirt when it was almost done with the serger blade *sigh*, but it gave me the opportunity to create another custom label of sorts along the bottom hem near the side seam. I love it.

6. Topstitching and velvet piping:

I regret not adding pockets. I thought it would be too much with the trim on the front, but I think it could have handled the addition.

What I'm working on now: 


A little something I envisioned via another very basic vintage top pattern that has been heavily modified. Unfortunately the second hand scarf I wanted to use as fabric (pink) is like sewing with kleenex and I abandoned it after I took these photos.

No worries. I stared a new one using a beautiful silk-cotton I picked up about a year ago at 70% off.

The idea is that I finish it before my 20 year high school reunion next Friday. It's about 75% done so it's totally doable.


  1. The finished shirt looks great! I love the textural contrast of the velvet piping with the shirting, very cool. :-) Also, if you ever want to try your hand at snaps, get the kit from Their system beats the hell out of the pliers you can buy at the big chain stores. Minimal practice required. ;-) NAYY. And as cute as your little bird piece ended up, maybe you should have a serger accident every time! :-)

    Anyway, can't wait to see the next one when it's finished, it looks like it's going to be gorgeous too--I love the design and the fabric is so pretty. :-)

    1. Thanks for the tip about snaps. I'll definitely be looking into that!

  2. Nice! Great idea with the serger hole patch - that's the sort of thing that when it happens to me I throw the project in the trash and don't sew for a month... next time I will try to channel your creativity :)

    1. thanks! I also have those moments, ie: don't sew for a month after tragic sewing incidents. It helps that the fabric I got from PoldaPop was so great to work with.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your post! LOVE LOVE LOVE the contrasting bands and the custom label at the bottom--which raises the level of the shirt IMHO *and* covers up your serger accident.
    I agree about not using snaps and ruining the shirt--practice that sh*t first. :)

  4. Gorgeous shirt! The piping is the perfect rich contrast and your topstitching with the piping is impeccable! I love the "design detail" little embroidered patch on the hem. Lovely all around. (And I have sewn with kleenex fabric before; it sucked.)

  5. Wow - that's fantastic! I never would have imagined that the fabric would become this and I love it! I like the contrast of the tomboy-ish cowboy style with the pretty floral. And that silk-cotton fabric is gorgeous! What a great score!

    1. Thanks! I just finished the new shirt tonight. I'll be sure to post it this weekend.

  6. What a fun save with the little birdy! Great shirt!

  7. Gosh that's a shirt of fabulously epic proportions! I LOVE the velvent trim, and the shapes you've sewn it into against the blouse. And I'm filing away that hem treatment too - I recently tried this curved seam finish on a shirt and it was a hot mess on the inside. Yours looks much more likely to have a good outcome! The fabric is pretty delish here too :) Great shirt!

    1. Thanks! I expected the hem to be much worse than it was. The fabric had a lot to do with it, plus I like to run a machine basting stitch where I want to fold it over the first time so when I'm ironing it over I have a guide. When it curved into the side seam, the fabric just wanted to roll that way so I went with it!

  8. I remember making that simplicity 7078 when it first came out. It was such a great fitting shirt then. Alas, sz 10 wouldn't come near to fitting now.
    I love the contrast piping and linings. Great detail.