Thursday 28 September 2017

Buttoned Up Button Down Shirt

Ever since I've been officially contributing to the Oliver + S blog, Liesl has suspected I may have some hidden cameras installed in her studio. Too often to count it has happened that I've been working on something only to email Liesl to ask if she wants me to write it up as tutorial for the blog. And the answer has come back along the lines of  "um, no, 'cause that's exactly the kind of pattern I'm currently developing. Are you spying on me again?".  I could rattle off many examples and it's become quite funny - especially 'cause I'm never on trend or ahead of any idea in the sewing world. Maybe I really do have cameras planted ;)

So when she politely declined my offer to share how I'd split the Sketchbook shirt collar to make it into a two part collar and collar stand, I was excited... Was there a new kid's shirt pattern in the works? Yep!!

The Buttoned-Up Button Down Shirt is the ultimate shirt pattern for kids with all those little quibbles we'd had about the Sketchbook Shirt resolved. That one has the simple to sew but less perfect single piece collar while this one has a very crisp two piece collar. That one had a super simple style of sleeve placket, this one has a perfect tower placket. And where the Sketchbook is a boxy, short and more casual cut, this one has the longer silhouette of a shirt designed for being tucked in to trousers.

I still think the Sketchbook pattern is a great pattern to cut your teeth on when sewing a shirt for a kid, and the shorts are just fabulous. Where this pattern comes in to play is where you want a more formal, classic shirt and when you're feeling like a bit more of an involved sewing experience.


This shirt was sewn for the pattern test. P is 9 years old and measured a size 8 in all circumference measurements but a little over the next size up in height. I've sewn the size 8, adding 1" in length to the shirt and 1" in length to the sleeves.

Of course it needs to be said that my son has extraordinarily long arms for his age/height/species and on most normal children you wouldn't need extra sleeve length. I think I could have easily added a second inch to these sleeves. They look a bit short in these pictures and three months later they're probably unwearably short unless rolled up. As a reference I would add as much as 3 to 4 inches in length to the sleeves of the School Bus or Field Trip t-shirt patterns, so this shirt sleeve length seems to be well proprtioned, bordering on generous, for the pattern size.


This great shirting cotton was bought on the same rummage through Phillips Shirts fabric store back in mid 2016 when I bought my Hermes-esque fabric.

When we were out at my parent's place and P started playing chess with my dad I insisted he put his "chess shirt" on and I snapped a few pictures of the shirt in action! To keep the shirt from looking too dressy I'd edgestitched and topstitched everywhere using a denim-blue thread that matched the rooks on the shirt. The buttonholes are all blue as well except for the very bottom one on the front which is white. I always feel so clever when I remember to do one contrasting buttonhole :)

The instructions for the two piece collar, the cuffs and the sleeve plackets are top notch. No handsewing required and such a neat, crisp collar result. The more formal View A has no topstitching and a single open chest pocket, whereas this View B version has two breast pockets with tidy, hidden buttons on the undersides of the flaps.

To attest to the power of wearing a proper chess shirt while playing chess, as I was snapping away he managed to put his grandpa into check....

So that's my week of shirts on the blog. There's been quite a bit more sewn since these, so I need to do more catching up around here. I have a pretty hilarious garment to share with you next week so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed seeing all the shirts you've made this week. Very impressive and also inspiring. They all make me want to practice more so I can make a button-down shirt half as nice as all of your versions. Love the fabric for this one, by the way. I don't think I've ever seen chess pieces on fabric before!


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