I made both versions A/B and C out of wearable muslin fabric. (Versions A & B only differ in hemline therefore I am counting them as one version.) I forewent the practice muslin as the shoulder is dropped and the armscye large, which made me think I wouldn’t have the same troubles I do with more fitted sleeves. As both shirts are large and took more fabric than usual, I had to find some complimentary quilting fabric in my stash to fill out the undersides of the collars, facing, cuffs, etc. Not having done contrasting facings before I had fun playing with that.
No construction surprises. If you are familiar with shirtmaking, by that I mean buttoned-down, cuffed, yoked, collars with stand shirts – you can sew this shirt without consulting any instructions.
If you are new to making standard oxford-style shirts this pattern is friendly to beginners because it is oversized. Longer seams and flatter curves are kinder when you are just learning these techniques.
The pattern instructions use flat assembly, the most sensible approach to this style of shirt.
It is versatile to women of other cultures who for some reason want to wear a Western style of clothing but also want to maintain the modesty standard of their culture. If buttoned to the top it covers from neck to above the knee. It has a plain surface with little seaming to get in the way of complex prints, or it can be successfully made in dressy silks or heavier weight wovens.
A con for me but not for some, the instruction sheet has you topstitch the yoke in place. I use the roll it all up in between the yoke and facing approach. Maybe I will photo this process in a future post for new sewers. It looks harder. But it’s not harder and the results are better. IMHO that is.
Version A/B has less ease at the hips and the fabric gets hung up on my jeans fly and pocket flaps. The lower edge circumference was given as 54 inches for my size, which is a good 10 inches of ease. It is still not quite enough for a tunic. The 64 inches on version C falls straight without any catches. Version A/B needs more ease.
Some Assembly Required:
I made two shirts at once. What I do is assemble the same pieces for each garment and then construct the garment shell. For example, I sew both collars with stands then put aside. I pull the sleeves and insert plackets and attach cuffs, then put aside. I work the front facing and fold all four into a pile awaiting assembly. If there is a back yoke, I sew the back bodice into the bottom edge of the yoke. That way I have each unit completed flat and ready to assemble.
After that I feel like I am zooming. Here is my assembly order for these shirts.
- Attach front to back at shoulder.
- Attach collar.
Stop assembly and sew buttonholes. (I don’t feel like I am zooming here, but I have learned to make my peace with the necessary detail work of sewing. Not natural to my temperament, the Good Lord has used buttonholes to instruct me in one of the Fruits of the Spirit; long-suffering. )
Then back to assembly.
- Attach Sleeve.
- Sew Side Seam.
I used the cheap quilting broadcloth I complained of in an earlier post on Simplicity 3786. Strangely the burgundy handled better than the bright pink, possibly a different dying process.
I didn’t do anything to the fit of the pattern. I should have raised the waistline on version A/B and added some extra ease at the hips. Version C only needed a shortwaist adjustment.
Will I Sew it Again:
It isn’t a fancy shirt. It doesn’t make the heart pitter-patter. But it does have the potential to be a wardrobe workhorse when done in the right fabric.
Advice to Others:
If you have begun sewing in the last few years, your stash may not include fabric lengths that are large enough. I am sometimes surprised lately in how little fabric is needed for a blouse compared to when I was a young adult in the early nineties. Unless you are eensy-sized, you will need about three yards for these shirts.
Overall Style Grade: B for basic.
Results Grade: A, if you have some shirtmaking experience there will be no surprises, the ease is nice if you like slightly oversized or need a shirtjacket.
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