Over the last couple of months, we’ve posted a few tutorials explaining different sewing techniques used in traditional shirtmaking and they all have been leading up to this post. We showed you how to draft and sew a mandarin collar, a sleeve placket and classic button bands. So today we offer you the opportunity to practice your newly acquired skills and make a tailored women’s shirt.
This pattern is classified as “intermediate” because there are several advanced techniques used and quite a lot of steps involved in its construction. But even beginner sewers can give it a go since we’ll provide you with easy to follow step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process.
2 yards of Medium Weight IL042 908 FS Premier Finish Linen
Matching sewing thread, 10 buttons, fusible interfacing (for the collar, button bands and cuffs)
Pattern paper, scissors, ruler, pins, chalk, fabric marker, pen, buttonhole foot, needle, seam ripper,’ sewing machine
You can access the shirt pattern by following this link HERE. Remember to add seam allowances as indicated in the pattern. The diagram shows the pattern for US size 6-8 (UK size 10-12). If you need help grading your pattern, please follow this tutorial.
Please note that the mandarin collar pattern is not included in the diagram as we strongly recommend to draft your own collar to get it right. Follow the detailed instructions in this tutorial that will take you through the drafting process. Note that you will also need to leave some fabric to cut 2 mandarin collar pieces, 2 sleeve plackets and 4 cuff pieces so make sure you have enough fabric left after you cut out your pattern pieces.
If you need help adjusting the pattern for a fuller bust, we have a great Full Bust Adjustment tutorial HERE.
Note: Prewash your fabric and tumble dry it until it is still slightly moist, dry in room temperature. Iron the fabric so it is easier to work with.
1. We’ll start with the front button bands. Follow our detailed tutorial that explains how to sew the button bands the classic way.
2. Now that your button bands are finished, you can assemble the front and the back of the shirt by pinning them right sides together at the shoulder seams.
3. Sew the shoulder seams right sides together at 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance, remember to backstitch.
4. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/4″ (6 mm) and serge or zigzag the raw edges together to prevent the fabric from fraying. Press the seams flat folding the serged/zigzagged edges towards the back of your shirt.
5. Draft, sew and attach the mandarin collar following our step-by-step tutorial.
6. Now you need to sew the sleeve plackets (just the plackets, the cuffs will be added after you attach the sleeves). This great tutorial will guide you through the process.
Just a little reminder: make sure your sleeve plackets are attached to the back of your sleeves and are mirror images to each other.
7. Once you’ve sewn your plackets, you can attach the sleeves to the bodice by pinning them to the armholes right sides together.
8. Sew at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance. Serge or zigzag the raw edges together to prevent the fabric from fraying. Press the serged/zigzagged seam allowances up towards the sleeves.
9. Pin the sleeves and the side seams right sides together all in one seam.
10. Sew the pinned edges at a 3/8” (1 cm) seam allowance, trim to 1/4″ (6 mm) and finish the raw edges with a serger or a zigzag stitch. Press the seams flat folding the serged/zigzagged edges towards the back of your shirt.
11. Now you can assemble and attach the cuffs as shown in the second section of this tutorial. However, since the cuffs are 2″ (5 cm) smaller than the assembled sleeve, you’ll need to create two small pleats on each side of sleeve placket to bring the sleeve opening to the size of the cuff.
To keep the pleats in place, baste them down and press and place.
12. Finish the bottom hem by folding the fabric twice to the wrong side (3/8″ (1 cm) to 1/2″ (1,3 cm)), press and pin.
Make sure that the button bands are even.
13. Stitch as close to the folded edge as possible to finish the bottom hem and press.
14. Lastly, sew the buttonholes and attach the buttons. Remember, that the buttonholes are sewn on the right button band and the tower side of the cuff, whereas the buttons – on the left side of the button band and the left side of the cuff.
For the buttonholes, you can follow our detailed tutorial HERE.
Overlap the shirt and place a pin into the center of each buttonhole. This is where you’ll need to attach the button. Check our tutorial HERE for instructions on how to attach the buttons.
The number and the spacing are really up to you. If you want your buttons closer, just leave smaller gaps between them. We decided to space our buttons 2,5″ (6 cm) apart.
Give your shirt a good final press and you are all done! With its beautiful mandarin collar, classic button bands and perfectly finished sleeves, your shirt will look as professional as the sewing skills you’ve learnt!