The Relaxed Linen Shirt Tutorial

The Relaxed Linen Shirt Tutorial

In a closet full of different styles, the white linen shirt is the very definition of a wardrobe staple. Paired easily with anything from jeans to trousers or a simple skirt, it instantly adds a touch of sophistication and cool masculinity. And even though your standard button-down will always do the trick, today we’d like to show you our modern update on the classic white linen shirt.

The shirt we imagined combines traditional tailored features like button bands, sleeve cuffs and a yoke with a minimalist styling, relaxed fit and a stand up collar. It falls perfectly, looks sharp and feels luxuriously soft due to our high quality linen.

Follow this step-by-step tutorial and make this beautiful shirt that every woman should own.


2 yards of medium weight 100% linen in IL019 OPTIC WHITE Softened

Matching sewing thread, 10-12 buttons



Pattern paper, scissors, pins, ruler, seam ripper, fabric marker, chalk, buttonhole foot, measure tape, 18 mm bias tape maker, needle, sewing machine




5-6 hours


You can access the pattern by following this link HERE. Remember to add seam allowances as indicated in the pattern.

Please note that this shirt has a relaxed fit and would suit sizes XS – M. If you need a larger size, then we’d recommend adding a couple of inches to the sides of the front and back panels and some extra volume to the sleeves. If you need help grading your pattern, please follow this tutorial.

For the mandarin collar, draw your own pattern following the instructions in THIS tutorial.


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.

As always, we start with the button bands.

1. Follow our detailed tutorial and complete the button bands. Remember that in women’s shirts the buttonholes are placed on the right and the buttons – on the left. So make sure that the left side of your front pattern (the longer one) is folded twice towards the wrong side, whereas the right side (the shorter one) is finished with a separate 1″ wide piece of fabric.

As for the interfacing – this step is optional. You don’t need to interface the button bands unless you want to give it more support and a crispier look.

Do not sew the buttonholes and attach the buttons yet, we’ll do it at the very end of our tutorial.

2. Sew the patch pocket to the right side of your left front piece following the first method explained in this tutorial.

Place your pocket 5.5” down from the neckline and 2.5” from the folded button band.

Usually, the bottom hem is the last thing you sew. But since this shirt’s hem is rather curvy, we’ll sew the hem now and assemble the shoulder/side seams after. As you can see, there’s a pretty sharp inverted corner at the side seams where the curves meet, so it would be impossible to just fold and stitch along the entire hem at once.

3. Finish the bottom hem using the great technique for curvy edges explained in this tutorial.

Now that the preparation is over, we can finally assemble the back and the fronts of the shirt with a yoke.

4. You’ll find the detailed instructions on how to attach the yoke in this step-by-step tutorial.

First create a 1″-wide box pleat:

Then attach the yokes:

5. Time to draw and attach the collar. You’ll find the detailed explanation in this tutorial.

Next up – the sleeves!

6. Before attaching the sleeves, sew the continuous bound plackets on each sleeve following this tutorial (steps 1-11).

7. Pin the sleeves to the armholes right sides together. Make sure that the bound slits are positioned towards the back of your shirt.

8. Stitch at a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance then grade and serge/zigzag the raw edges together. Press the seam allowances towards the sleeve.

9. Pin the side seams and the underarms.

10. Stitch the side seams and the underarms all in one seam at a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance then grade and serge/zigzag the raw edges together. Press the seam allowances towards the sleeve.

11. Following the same tutorial, sew and attach the cuffs to each sleeve.

12. 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. As for the buttons, check our tutorial HERE for instructions. Overlap the shirt and place a pin into the center of each buttonhole. This is where you’ll need to attach the button.

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.

13. Give your shirt a good last press and you are all done!

A classic piece on its own, this simple white linen shirt also works well as a canvas for any number of cute embellishments. Add a contrasting pocket, colored buttons or even customize it with some hand embroidery.

This shirt works as well with light colors as with dark. Check out our whole selection here!


  1. Ceri

    Love this pattern and tutorial, can’t wait to make this shirt for myself. I’d also like to try making some mens shirts and I think this pattern could work too. Do you have any suggestions on how I could alter the pattern/sizing to make a mens shirt from this?

    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Dear Ceri, I have a great suggestion for you! Try copying one of the store-bought shirts that fits well the person you are making it for. Lay it flat on the table and get all the necessary measurements with a measure tape (note that the back of the shirt should be measured on fold) and draw your own diagram. Then follow all the steps in this tutorial to make your mens shirt. Hope this helps!

  2. Orilee

    One suggestion I make for those making or modifying a pattern is to do it first in a cheap fabric – an old sheet, cheap muslin, etc. That allows you to test the changes and fit before you make it in the expensive fabric. And your cheap fabric test can then become your pattern for future!

  3. Diana Ilieva

    Why every plus sized person thinks that if you`re size 6 or 8, or 10 is easy to buy clothes ? I am skiny, but that doesn`t mean that I don`t adjust patterns or everything looks perfect on me. I sew mostly because I am very disapointed of what I find in the stores – cheap fabrics, absence of idea – in every store or boutique you find the same ruffle blouses and dresses.And I need some new pants – that` s my shopping drama. And I need to say – there` s nothing unusual in my body shape.
    It ` s not always easy to alter or change a pattern, but it` s not impossible. And the result – my idea, my choice of fabrics, my plesure to learn new skills in sewing and not only….
    And sometimes may be you can`t use the concrete pattern, but It gives you so much inspiration, which makes it even more valuable.
    So I will say Thank you for the another inspiring pattern.

    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Dear Diana, thank you very much for your comment! This is exactly what we are trying to do here – give some ideas and hope that they will inspire people to create something of their own!

  4. Lynda Moseley

    I wish you all would consider that many of us who sew our own clothes have to so do so because we are not the standard size 6, or 10, or even 12, and can’t find nice reafy-made clothes. I am a plus size 22. I love this blouse and would love to make it, but I would not attempt to try and add 10 or more inches to that pattern and ruin expensive linen. I guess I will just stop receiving these emails from The Thread. I am tried of being disappointed in seeing only skinny people patterns.

    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Dear Lynda, we totally understand how frustrating that might be. But luckily, there’s always a solution to any problem! This shirt pattern is very similar to out high-low hem shirt demonstrated here that is available as a free downloadable multi-size PDF pattern in sizes 0-30. You could totally take this pattern as your base, you’ll just need to even the hem, add a mandarin collar (you’ll find all the steps in this tutorial – and a back yoke (also explained in a detailed tutorial here – Not only you’ll practice some new sewing skills, but also make a custom made shirt! I sincerely hope that this helps!

    2. Trysta Schwenker

      you can add width to patterns like this fairly easily. starting with the largest size, in many commercial patterns it is 18 or 1x. If you don’t have a dress dummy, then you should consider making a pattern sloper; which is a sort of blank template for you, a kind of short sleeveless blouse that you take apart and use to compare pattern pieces. Many books have tailoring advice, again, internet is a wonderful resource. It would be a great Thread article too.

      1. Author
        Rima Khusainova

        Dear Trysta, thank you so much for your precious advice! As for writing a series of articles about drafting your own basic slopers – I’ve had that idea for a while now so hopefully it’ll be available on the blog soon.

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