I’ve gone on and on about sewing with wovens (see my Wovens 101 post HERE)….but I hadn’t made the most obvious woven garment: a collared shirt! Right up there with swimwear (conquered!), real jeans (yikes- not yet!) and a formal dress (I’d love the challenge but I’d never wear it), sewing a fully featured button up shirt seemed like a colossal challenge, and one I have easily put off since I don’t tend to wear them myself.
But Kelly of Sew a Little Seam really threw down the gauntlet when she posted the tester call for the Birch Button Up: not only was it a VERY comprehensive pattern with all the little details, bit it was ADORABLE because it was for little people! Ignoring the flashbacks of my last button-up attempt (four years ago, when Iw as a sewing newbie), I screwed my eyes shut and pressed the “apply” button.
And I’m so glad I did! Sure, it was a challenge, and wasn’t something I could knock out in an hour, but sometimes you need those projects, you know? The ones that make you bite your nails, pull out your hair a little, and then soar with confidence when you’re through, a few new techniques under your tool belt?
It’s not perfect by a long shot, but I love all that I’ve learned, and I feel much more comfortable now tackling my own collared shirt (or maybe one for my husband, who dogs through several photo shoots a week and never complains!).
I couldn’t even begin to explain all the options in the Birch– you’ll just have to check out the listing. Basically, its got everything you could possibly need in a button up, and is so versatile because its for boys AND girls (not many patterns can claim this accurately, but due to the boxy fit it works well on boys and girls of all sizes)!
I made two different views during testing. The first was the partial placket with the full collar and short sleeves.
All the seams in this one are flat felled, so its gorgeous inside and out.
The fabric is Nani Iro double gauze I purchased a while ago from Hawthorne Threads, and the apricot contrast is a Leisel Gibson cotton lawn from Joanns fabrics.
The double gauze was a bit shifty and frayed like crazy, but it is so light and pretty that it was worth it! In fact, the first time I put this on her to check the fit, I had to bribe her out of it!
It’s so hard to say “no” to that face:
Or that smile:
She’s a natural born explorer, and insisted on walking around collecting rocks and other items during our photoshoot:
Halfway through testing Kelly added the tie front version, and I couldn’t resist sewing up another shirt and showing off a little baby belly peek!
This one went together much faster, partly because I was familiar with the techniques and partly because I cheated and used my serger to finish some of the seams of the “London Calling” cotton lawn fabric.
I also chose to use a contrasting collar and stand for this shirt- I think it adds a sweet touch.
The only thing I would note about this version is that the ties were shorter than I would prefer- so you might want to consider lengthening them if you like more to work with.
What I learned:
- A couple of my favorite tools when constructing this shirt were the “Purple Thang” for turning out corners, and my “Buttonhole cutter” for cutting through the button holes precisely.
- Spray starch also came in handy for the double gauze, and a microtex needle was a must to avoid damaging the fabric.
- I used Grainline’s technique for creating sharp corners here, and washaway wonder tape to hold the collar stand piece down while I topstitched.
The Birch would also mash well with the Juniper for an ADORABLE dress, don’t you think? I can tell she wants one! Don’t forget the code in the facebook group for the Birch- it’s only $4.50 when you use the code!
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