Sunday, August 22, 2010

The perfect shirt, template

I pulled out sleeve pattern pieces, and front and back pieces from different patterns, and layered them to see how different they were from each other, and maybe try to figure out why some shirts wouldn't allow me to stretch my arms out in front of me.
I didn't find anything! The sleeves were practically identical in the shirts that didn't work, compared to the shirts that did work. Same with the fronts and backs. I went to the closet and tried on the shirts that don't work (why do I still have them hanging there, you ask? I ask that too.) The only thing I can think of is that all the shirts that work have a little Lycra in the fabric. And I think it is the width of the back that makes the difference, not the type of sleeve. In other words, my problem is that the back isn't wide enough, which means I am too big for the pattern. I can stand to lose 10 to 15 pounds and there it is - a whole pattern size. sigh.

I also looked at the sleeveless shirts I had made (and never worn) from the Vogue pattern 2634 and then I looked at the pattern and slapped myself up-side the head. It was a size 10, even smaller than the 12 with which I was having issues.
I decided to go with the McCall's 5630 "perfect fit" pattern and start to modify it. I pulled out the pattern pieces and discovered that I had already made this pattern!
Again, I used cotton with a little Lycra in it. I wasn't all that happy with how big the collar was but the shirt was a pretty good fit otherwise.
So what I did was cut the collar back at the points, so it would be a bit smaller. I've done this before with good results.
I had it in mind that I would use some plain cream coloured fabric I had, but in the process of looking for it (I have boxes and boxes of fabric), I found some nice striped cotton (no Lycra!). It is a little thicker than the silk but I think it will be okay for a template. My plan is to make the body straight, so it is more like a tunic than a shaped shirt. It won't be as long or as baggy as a tunic, but I want the stripes to be straight, all the way up and down.
When I cut out the front and back pieces, I cut as straight down the stripes in the fabric as I could, eliminating the curve in at the waist. I will still put in the bust darts but I won't put in the vertical front and back shaping darts. It will be interesting to see how boxy and bulky the shirt looks with no vertical shaping.


Rose said...

I suppose that the fit issues never end. I keep hoping but my body insists on changing! Thanks for sharing.

Miriam in KS said...

I think you are right about the lycra, the width of the back piece and here is one more nugget to consider. Check how far in or out and how deep is the armsyce cut on the body of the blouse? For me, it is often because the back is not wide enough for my broad back and the back of the armsyce does not match the depth I need for my arms.

Hope I haven't muddied the water too much for you.

Marty said...

Boy our minds run along the same lines. Jo-Ann's had a huge pattern sale this weekend and I picked out a new shirt pattern, thinking of you when I did.

elizabeth said...

The Perfect Shirt is a great idea! I have that 9210 pattern and,like you, I have used it successfully many times. Thanks for sharing your 'search' for the perfect fit. I find that each pattern fits a bit differently because of the different style and cut and the variation in my sewing. I frequently change the 5/8 in seam to 3/8 in seam if I think it will fit too snuggly. I enjoyed reading your blog.

JuliaR said...

Thanks all, and you're welcome! I often default to the roomier styles because then I don't worry about fit so much. On this shirt, I am not putting in darts because I am going for the straight, tunic look, without the tunic length, because I want to be able to tuck it in sometimes. I might end up using the body from the Vogue pattern, as it is lighter-looking, with the faux front bands, and the silk is lighter weight than the cotton I'm working with now.

woven tags lady said...

Wow! Can I just say wow! My mother did amazing patterns like this. Thanks for the tutorial.

Anonymous said...

I've had the same problems with ready-to-wear shirts and with those I've made. I finally found at least one of the fit issues for me was that my shoulders are about 1/2" narrower than the patterns are made for. Narrowing the shoulder also eliminated all of the bust-fitting issues I thought I was having. I also have a wide back. I used a method in Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina to make the shoulder seam narrower and it was very easy. This also adds some fabric under the armhole, making it higher. Overall, the fit on the shoulder is better.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lesson. I am new to sewing clothes and love your blog. Thanks.

One Second Needle said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I think this could make a great gift for the holidays.

chloe said...

I am obsessed with trying to make a long sleeve shirt.
The patterns are confusing and then I realized they are all about the same but perhaps one could tailor the shirt to fit them properly. I keep watching videos from custom shirt makers and from the tailors on Savile Row, London. There are a few good documentaries about Savile Row on you tube. I guess this is why a tailored shirt is such a big deal because it fits. I have often sewed something I loved and then it did not fit and now that is my new obsession. I am getting ready to take a class about tailoring--I have no reason--I just want to. I guess this is why you see the tailors taking so many precise measurements and then the customers going on endlessly about how the thing is so comfortable!!

La Mesa