I’ve had my hair radically re-done and lost nearly 3 stone. Hence, you may find that I’m cutting very different sizes in patterns now. (It’s also why I haven’t posted in so long as the last few things I’ve made haven’t fitted by the time I finished them.)
- Pattern used: By Hand London Sarah Shirt. UK sizes 6-20.
- Fabric & Notions: The fabric is a soft and drapey type, i’m not sure what it would be called. It’s probably some kind of viscose, as it was cheap as chips. Bought from The Textile Centre in Luton which is a bit of a drive for me but worth it as I always find a few things to buy!
- Did you make any pattern alterations or design changes? I cut a straight size 10, not grading out and no FBA(!!!!) required for a refreshing change. I added 2″ to the length, dipped the back hem, and swapped the curved peter pan style collar for a mandarin collar. More on that later.
Since IPM 2015, I’ve gotten quite fond of using Indie patterns. I also have a special fondness for By Hand London as the first dress I ever made was an Anna. So I was quite excited when I saw they were bringing out a new pattern.
I didn’t initially like the Sarah shirt when I first saw it. Sorry guys! But I saw that they were doing a Sewalong for it and I’ve always wanted to follow along with one. It kind of seemed like a big virtual sewing party to me. It coincided handily with The Monthly Stitch‘s theme for March: Sew Hot Right Now.
I chose Variation 1, after deliberating a long time! I don’t really wear long sleeves, I even push the sleeves up on my hoodies, but I just couldn’t visualise the short sleeves working with the dipped hem I had planned out in my head.
The pattern instructions mention that lots of folks who normally have to do an FBA may not need one on this pattern. I was sure that my huge bust would definitely need one, but dutifully measured myself anyway and the results showed that I didn’t need one. Not doing one felt a bit like deliberately putting your clothes on in the wrong order, but I forced myself to trust the pattern.
I’m tall, so I still needed to lengthen it a little, but the pattern itself is quite long, so if you’re thinking of making it, it’s worth checking out the finished length as you may not need to do this either!
The dipped hem adjustment was easy, especially as I was able to follow instructions that were posted on the Sewalong!
Garment construction wasn’t too tricky, especially if you’ve sewn a few things already, although there were a few techniques that were new to me; such as the interesting ‘burrito technique‘ for attaching the shirt front pieces and yoke pieces; and of course, buttonholes, which up until now has been something I’ve avoided as much as possible. I’ve literally only ever sewn one buttonhole before and that was a bit of a mess to be honest. These buttonholes aren’t too bad. I practised a little on an offcut of the fabric and then started sewing the buttonholes from the bottom of the shirt as I figured if the first few were a little messy it’d be less noticable down low than at bust height!
I finished the shirt with french seams, partly because I wanted a neat and professional looking finish, and partly because the fabric was fraying like a good ‘un. I honestly don’t know why I don’t do this more often, it’s a lovely finish and doesn’t actually take any longer than other seam finishes.
When my shirt was part constructed, I tried it on and really didn’t think the collar would look good on me or go with the print of the fabric. So I came up with the idea of doing a little mandarin collar, and looked up a tutorial for how to draft a collar pattern. I found this tutorial; which I followed pretty successfully (apart from the part where I miscalculated the seam allowances and made the collar too big). I topstitched the collar to match the yoke pieces.
The sleeve binding was fiddly to put on and I found it difficult to follow the instructions here, as a result, my sleeve bindings are not all that neat, but I that’s me being a perfectionist. I didn’t lengthen the sleeves and if I wanted to wear this top as a long sleeve I would need to but I didn’t bother as I knew it was likely I would wear it with the sleeves turned up.
So, after sewing the Sarah shirt, and making a few adjustments to suit my taste, I am converted! I now think it’s a lovely shirt, even after wearing it for a full day. It’s the sort of thing that fits well in my wardrobe, and is way more likely to get worn than the dresses I usually make. I will definitely be making more of these in the future!