Sew Brave: Sewing a shirt!

I think my fear of sewing a shirt started with the StyleArc Autumn dress.
I cut out my StyleArc Autumn dress just a couple of months after sewing my first garment, and then I proceeded to search the depths of the internet for reviews and styling inspiration for the dress (I try to do the research before the pattern purchasing now, and if that fails I’ll at least do it before I cut out the fabric)!

StyleArc Autumn Dresses L-R: 1 & 6. Meggipeg 2. Thornberry 3 & 5. Bloom’s End 4. Someday Sewing

Instead of inspiration for the Autumn Dress I found dire warnings from basically every front. Easing in the collar was difficult and even master sewists were struggling with the pleat at the back of the dress. If they were struggling, I knew this wasn’t a pattern I could handle.

Up until this point it hadn’t really occurred to me that there would be things that would be too difficult for me, or that there were techniques I should be avoiding. Now I knew that collars were difficult and I’d need to wait on beginning to sew my Autumn Dress, until I was ‘better’ at sewing.

Cashmerette Harrison Shirt L-R: 1. Cookin’ and Craftin’ 2. With a Rare Device 3. Plum Kitchen

But, then I fell in love with the Cashmerette Harrison Shirt — there were so many great versions being made on the internet (including by my almost-body double who I found using #SewMySize). When I knew that Sew Brave was an upcoming theme for May, I knew that I’d finally have to face my collar fears.

So I’ve now sewn probably the world’s ugliest collar, with an equally ugly button placket and even two semi-successful button holes (and quite a few not very successful ones)!

That might not sound like much of a victory, but that’s what I’m labeling it! I realised shortly after sewing together the front portion of the shirt that I definitely needed to grade out at the hips, so I knew then that what I was making would be a muslin and not a ‘wearable garment’ as such and this gave me some more confidence to just ‘go for it’. So even though this is all very untidy work, I’ve stopped work on the garment and feel like ‘yeah, I could do that again but better’ and so I will!

L-R: 1. StyleArc Loungewear PJ Shirt 2. Schnittchen Michelle Blouse 3. Cashmerette Harrison Dress 4. StyleArc Blaire Dress (love Cookin’ and Craftin’s version) 5. Peppermint Magazine Button Up Dress (free) 6. Peppermint Magazine’s Pleated Summer Dress (also free)

For Me-Made-May I’ve pledged to finish all my UFO sewing projects, including my white whale, the StyleArc Autumn Dress. But now that I’m not afraid of collars, buttons, or plackets, I can make all of the patterns above, which I’ve been putting off!

Jess is a southern hemisphere dwelling sewist with a penchant for natural fibres. She’s on instagram as fat.bobbin.girl and when she’s not ‘gramming she’s in the kitchen baking, preserving and pickling or in the garden trying to avoid bees. Go check out her brand new blog at !

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