Shirt making tips!

Sewing shirts is fun for me and I have several on the go for the men on my Christmas gift list. In this post I wanted to share some sewing tips that might have you sewing with more confidence. Below is a man’s checkered flannel shirt. Notice the bias cut pockets and front placket. This makes sewing easy as you do not have to match plaids or checks and also adds a designer touch.

Making buttonholes is something most sewers dread. If you have an automatic one step buttonhole foot on your machine, just place the button in the back of the foot and let the machine do the work for you. If using a four step system then practice with a sample to get the perfect size opening. In both cases use a tear away stabilizer between the facing and outer fabric or between the back side of fabric and throat plate. Dark or light tear away is available and adds the stability you need to obtain a flat even buttonhole that does not pucker. Notice my 3 buttonhole samples.

Fearless Buttonholes
Fearless Buttonholes

buttonhole tips The first is a preprogrammed design and the second is after changing the stitch length. The third is shortening the stitch length one more time and I felt with thickness of the front placket. it would work best. Never be afraid of manually over riding the length, width and even density if available on your machine, to get the desired quality of stitch for complete coverage.  The above photo has two of my favorite notions to clean finish the buttonhole area. First Fray Check is dabbed on the opening to be cut and then after drying I used the Clover buttonhole cutter to cut the opening. Then dab on another bit of Fray Check to seal the theads and prevent fraying during washing and wearing.

plaidJust for fun I used up some Buffalo Check Flannel and color blocked a shirt for me. Pattern # McCall’s 6702. I have sewn this shirt pattern for summer in the sleeveless and cut out back version in a light poly print. Only takes a little more than a metre and soft gathers on front and back yoke make it a comfortable fit.


Of course my favourite Shirt pattern is by Cecelia Podolak. The Fearless Shirt # 106. Nice detailed instructions as Ce always does and every size is included with alteration adjustments. I feel the stand collar and placket cuffs are ‘shirt’ essentials and the dart fitting front and back offer a great fit and tailored look.

Enjoy sewing shirts and never be afraid to use your “Creative License’ by changing machine stitches to better suit your needs or pattern grainlines to add bias interest.

Jo-Anne /Creative Styling



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