Light cotton shirt

As it is probably quite clear now, I did not continue with the French jacket 😊 I’ve made a shirt instead. Evidently, my decision making process is strange, I’ve been saying this all along, but here we go. I’ve been torn among trench coat, utility jacket, pants and few other project ideas, then, exhausted, just took this cotton voile and went ahead to make a shirt. And there is a good reason why this post is also tagged as Salvage. But let’s start from the beginning.

This fabric is from my very first fabric haul. It’s now three years that I’ve been sewing, and exactly 3 years ago I started purchasing fabric for my projects. My very first attempt to shop for fabrics happened on The Fabric Store online, and this fabric came from that batch. In other words, this fabric has been sitting in my stash for 3 years (!), and that’s why we should not be hoarding fabric, kids! 😅

This fabric was not my friend unfortunately. It is really beautiful and very nice to touch pure cotton voile. But I am unable to comprehend why I had such a tough time ironing it! I had prewashed it and it was ironed back then, however it looked as though it wasn’t, when I took it and prepared to cut. And so I ironed and ironed, and still there were creases. I don’t know what’s up with it!

This fabric is semi-sheer, so it was important to choose semi-sheer interfacing to avoid too stark a contrast between uninterfaced and interfaced fabric. And it is very light, too, so I decided to sew all seams as French seams to make for a neat finish. With all this preparation I was ready to cut all pattern pieces.

I have been on a look out for the best ever shirt pattern for a long while. And when I saw one of the recent Vikisews shirt patterns called Kaia, the decision was made to try it out. And try I did! Well, let’s say that it is unlikely to be used again.

The start of the project was very promissing! Making the body of the shirt was easy and pretty straightforward. The first small challenge was to figure out how to finish that curvy hem as it was complicated by my decision to make side seams as French seams. So I did it in an unusual way. First I hemmed front and back pieces using rolled-hem foot and only then joined front and back together in a French seam way. Probably not ideal, but I couldn’t think of any better way.

Collars always create a bit of tension for me, but this time around installing the collar was a breeze. All energized and confident I went on to tackle sleeve cuffs. For that I needed to install plackets, and I had never done it before! Luckily, the instructions were really good, and pretty quickly I was looking at those beautiful plackets all installed and fancy! Cuffs went in, and I was like – “great, now only two seams to install sleeves are left, and the shirt will be complete!” Little did I know…

So first I stitched gathering stitches on sleeves heads, as usual, and then tried to tack sleeves in. Well, to start off with, there was too little of sleeve head circumference for sleeve opening! I have never had this problem before – usually there is an opposite problem, in that sleeve head is too large for the opening. Somehow I did tack those sleeves in, and… they looked just terrible!

Shoulders fell badly too low and the worst of all, sleeves were badly too long. I sh*t you not, the cuff ended at my finger tips! So yeah, not good! I had seen those sleeves being longish in the pattern pictures, but not THAT long. So what to do, then. I could not cut sleeves again as there was not enough fabric left, and also I would have hated to redo all those plackets and cuffs again. What I could do was cutting shoulders off, thus raising shoulder line and also shortening sleeves a bit. This approach was meant to create a set of new problems: original sleeve head would be too shallow, chest circumference would be reduced. Far from ideal. But there was nothing else for me to do. I kept on tacking those sleeves in all sorts of ways, it took some 5 attempts until I was reasonably ok with how shoulders looked. Sleeves were still too long, though. I also had to prepare for French seam there, too. It was an ordeal really. Eventually, I was like “come what may”, and cut substantial part of shoulders width off. Sleeve heads also had to be trimmed on the sides to accommodate for deeper openings. I had removed gathering stitches from sleeve heads as there was not enough of sleeve head circumference anyway. That’s how much of shoulder width I removed (that’s like 3-4 cm off the shoulder seam).

I somehow managed to stretch sleeve heads to make enough fabric for sleeve opening, finished those French seams and finally was able to try the shirt on. It is an interesting case. I absolutelly love its collar and fit overall. But those poor sleeves are really troublesome. They are still too long, sleeve heads are just on the edge of being too tight for my narrow shoulders, and chest circumference is also on the edge of being too small. All in all I think I have managed to squeeze out the best I could, that’s why I’ve classified it as a salvage project. Without any of the adjustments that I’ve done, sleeves should have been shortened by some 8 cm!

The last bit was to make button holes and attach buttons. Here I had a funny puzzle to solve in that there were two sets of buttons to choose from. These metal and smaller dark ones and then a bit larger yellow plastic ones. I ran a poll on Instagram on which buttons to choose, as I usually do. And guess what – out of 130 votes, the score was a tie 50% / 50%! How about that 🙂 After all I decided on the smaller metal ones and am very happy with my choice. The thing though was that I needed 13 buttons, but had only a dozen. They were bought from Textile Garden store in UK couple of years back, so not like I could have fetched one more button. So I spaced the buttons out at the front and it was fine. And with that my first ever proper shirt was complete!

This shirt is not ideal, but it is also very lovely and nicely made. I don’t think I will ever use this pattern ever again, but I am certain this shirt will be worn and loved!

For this shirt I used 1.5 meters of this light and semi-sheer cotton voile, it was bought three years ago from The Fabric Store online, the fabric is called Summer petals. Pattern used here is Vikisews Kaia blouse, however there are major challenges with shoulders and sleeves of this design, I can not quite recommend it. Other notions were: a bit of lightweight interfacing, coordinating thread, and 12 metal buttons of 1 cm diameter, they were bought from Textile Garden online store. This shirt cost me 29 Eur. It was made in April, 2023.

This is a really nice, very proper shirt, there are many great things about it. And when I tried it on as part of various outfits, it fit with pretty much everything. Granted, I may want to wear it with sleeves rolled up as that’s how them being too long will not be as visible. One way or another, this is going to be a great addition to my spring and summer wardrobe, I am sure!

Thanks for visiting my blog and I’ll see you next time!

~Giedre~

Published by giedrestyle

This is a sewing blog. I am weekend sewist who enjoys creating a unique and one of a kind wardrobe.

4 thoughts on “Light cotton shirt

  1. It looks fabulous. Well done for salvaging it! So annoying about the sleeves and sleeve head though. I expect a lot better from professionally drafted patterns.

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    1. I usually trust professional patterns, too. At times the fit may need to get adjusted if my measurements differ from the ones of the pattern. But sleeve length has never been a problem, especially in patterns of this pattern maker as they draft patterns for differentiated height ranges. I purchased the pattern for my height specifically, and yet here we go – terribly long sleeves regardless.

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