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 http://www.broadintheseams.com !
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Beautiful good job!
You are braver than me, have mostly done curtains,cushions etc I am just getting into sewing for me, and feel just like you did, collars, buttonholes etc. You felt the fear and did it anyways, well done you. I’m having to be brave about health stuff at the moment, but spending time at my machine is one of my priorities.
I definitely still feel more comfortable NOT sewing those things, but it’s great to know that I can do it if inspiration strikes!
Congratulations on trying something scary! The first time is officially OVER! You are someone who has sewn a shirt! 🙂 Also a great round-up of patterns…I’m feeling very tempted, despite my self-imposed pattern buying break.
There are so many great patterns out there (and so many very inspiring examples of those patterns that different folks have sewed up), which makes it tough! I’ve already got a couple in my pattern stash that I should really get to as soon as possible!
I’ve been scared of shirtmaking, too! I totally relate to the moment when you realize certain things are beyond your current skill set… but also love the idea that to get ‘better’ you just have to try them!
I’ve got my worst shirt out of the way and it’s all up hill from here!
I’ve just recently started sewing garments again after about a 10yr hiatus. In the past I typically drafted my own patterns and avoided doing things I percieved as taking to much time and\or difficult I wanted to do something different. My approach now is very similar to yours. I’m using patterns and making things that challenge me. I too started with collared shirts! After making a muslin and 5 shirts I feel good about my skills! While I was doing this I discovered your Instagram feed and just love seeing what you come up with!
5 shirts! I’m very much in awe of your shirt prowess, and am glad to hear it only gets better!
You did amazing! So good. I love that fabric so much. I still have to watch the Grainline video on collar stands if it makes you feel better – it’s the only way for me to get a clean result that I’ve found so far… I tend to find these things that throw me off my game, and do them until I can do them in my sleep, but collar stands remain a PITA. I’m not sure I care enough to perfect them without relying on a tutorial to remind me…they’re not my favorite aesthetic for me personally, so I’m ok with letting it go. 😀
Oooh, thanks for the tip- I’ll seek out that video for next time! I think it’s important to have some things you’re just going to let go of. Personally, I love a collar and would buy mostly collared shirts, if I could buy a good fit in the stores!
I think I lucked out when I started sewing clothing because the Archer shirt was the first pattern I used when I became serious, and because I was a beginner I didn’t realize how intimidating collars and button plackets can be. I can definitely say, from all the other times I’ve been intimidated in sewing, that you’ve got an awesome attitude about conquering something once conquers the fear overall! Woot for bravery!!!
I think that if I hadn’t done so much research that I wouldn’t have known to be afraid!
I think youve done a brilliant job so soon in your sewing journey. The collar would look fine with a good press. I find pressing at each stage of sewing makes everything look so much better
That’s a very good point! By the time I got to the collar I knew this was only a practice run that I would never wear around and I neglected the iron. Next time, I’ll have my ironing board set up next to me so that I’ve got no excuses!