A monthly box of sewing goodies, delivered to your door

Esther’s Ultimate Shirt

There’s just something about this month’s poplin that has my heart, it may have to do with the light pink colour or the lovely black shapes, it may also just be the weight of the fabric. But if I’m to guess, I’ll say it’s all three of them. 

I initially wanted to make a dress with this fabric. I was considering adding an A-line skirt to the By Hand London Anna bodice. Unfortunately, the fabric is 45″ width so there was a little problem of not having enough fabric. I played around with laying my fabric on the cross grain, but I feared that there won’t be enough fabric for the width and length of my desired skirt. 

I started to think about making a blouse or shirt instead, and the moment the idea popped into my head, I knew that that was it. I initially thought of an old fave, the Anthea blouse by Anna Allen. I knew the fabric would be awesome with those puff sleeves. 

I was torn because I wanted a shirt with a closer fit, something that would go well with wide leg trousers. I had also seen the I Am Irma shirt by I Am patterns and I really wanted the drama of the bishop sleeves. Although, I wanted the statement sleeves, I still wanted a more classic shirt. Looking on the streets of Instagram, I decided on the Sew Over It Ultimate shirt. 

The pattern doesn’t have any darts so I don’t need to do all the dart manipulation that is sometimes required to get a good fit. The back had a yoke with a pleat. I decided for speed and efficiency, to take out the pleat and join the back yoke to the back piece at the seam allowance which meant I had one back piece. It was a good idea, however, I didn’t consider how the volume I had removed in the back would affect the fit of the shirt. Thankfully, I had a decent fit but I could use a few cm in the bust. I also slashed and spread the sleeves to create bishop sleeves. 

Anyway, making the shirt was quite easy especially since my back pattern was one piece so there was no need for the burrito method to finish the back yoke. I was initially overthinking all the effort required to make this shirt – two piece collar, buttonholes and buttons. Interestingly, I was able to make the whole shirt including the buttonholes in one day. As a rule, I try to do buttonholes in the morning with a clear head but I broke that rule this time and it all worked out. I, however, left attaching the buttons for the next day. 

This poplin fabric was amazing to cut out. I had some issues with sewing and kept changing my needle with no luck, I had given up, thinking it was my machine but I had the wonderful idea to try a ballpoint needle and that worked like a charm. 

I absolutely love this shirt and I think it would go nicely as part of a workwear wardrobe. In the future, I’ll add more volume to the sleeves for more drama. I can’t decide whether I’ll leave it like this or add some darts at the waist for more shaping but we’ll see.