This is my second project from Heather Ross's "Weekend Sewing". After reading many reviews, I was prepared to alter the pattern to make it work (enter Tim Gunn). I was actually excited to try, since I rarely wander far from printed lines when sewing.
First, I started with the size Small pattern. In most ready to wear, I usually buy medium and when sewing Big 3 patterns, I'm usually a 14. I have no bust to speak of (cry) but have a long torso and "football player" shoulders (as dubbed by the doctor as I emerged from my mother's womb). Hah.
I made my very first REAL muslin.. with actual muslin! I didn't sew the entire pattern in muslin, just the front (without the placket), back, and one arm. In doing so, I was able to make the pattern adjustments before cutting into my fabric.
Speaking of fabric, I used cotton lawn for this top. I think the key to success for this shirt is fabric selection. This lawn is very lightweight, almost sheer. Anything stiffer would have resulted in an utterly shapeless top, which is so NOT a good look for me.
Here is breakdown of the alterations I made:
- I lowered the front neckline by nearly 2 inches. I probably will never wear this buttoned, but I didn't want the chokey feeling of the fabric near my neck. Looking at these pictures, the neckline is exactly where I'd want it. I cannot imagine it 2 inches higher!
- Since I shortened the neckline, I cut the placket down by 1.5" as well. I have read other reviewers cut the placket even more, but I don't mind it long. I think it's a nice design element.
- I added 3.5 inches in bodice length.
- I cut 4 (yes F.O.U.R) inches off the sleeve. The size SMALL sleeve. I don't think I have particularly short arms. Maybe I am wrong about this. Even with cutting 4" off, I left the sleeve long (mid thumb with my arm outstretched).
- I added about 1/2" of width to the sleeves throughout and graded out to probably 3/4" at the hem (I wanted it to flare just a bit). Disclaimer: I do have rather meaty arms (sad sigh). You may not need to make this adjustment.
- When the top was completely finished, I took in each side by at least 1.5". To figure out the correct amount to take it in, I sewed basting stitches from below the bust dart to the hem and then tried on the shirt. If it needed a little more taken out (it did), I sewed another basting line and tried on again. I fiddled with it until I liked the cut and then sewed the final seams and cut away the excess.
The placket construction and bias neckline were fun. I've read this step is confusing to some, but I'm a lover of all things bias tape, so after reading through a few times I understood the directions.
I changed the button 3 times before I liked it. (Note to self: Pin on buttons and step back for a long look before committing with needle and thread). I settled on a vintage green button. Again, I read several reviewers who decided the button and accompanying loop is unnecessary, but I think it's a nice detail, especially on a home sewn garment.