Happy New Month To You All!
Shame on me for not sharing this post since finishing this shirt for my husband a few weeks back but thankfully it is up now and I can’t wait to dish on my first experience of working with a sewing pattern. Weeellll…kind of my first. I attempted to use a button down shirt pattern for women a few months back but quickly became overwhelmed by all the steps and left it alone. *Sighs*
Button down shirts are something I have wanted to make ever since I saw a comment on an online sewing class on Craftsy called “The Classic Tailored Shirt” by Pam Howard. A student in the class said in one week she made her husband three button down shirts for work after watching the online course. Like how amazing is that?! It became a dream of mine to make my husband some crisp button down shirts he could rock at the office and some casual ones since he loves to wear them outside of work as well.
I could have tackled this project a while ago but I was a big scaredy cat when it came to anything involving buttons or interfacing but this year all of that had to change. One day I sent my husband on a Jo-Ann’s run for me and told him to find me a men’s button down pattern. I was going to follow Pam Howard’s sewing class on Craftsy and wanted to use a pattern similar to the one in her online course. However, my husband (bless his heart) came back with Simplicity 8180 pattern that, although nice, lacked a few of the pieces needed in the the class but I worked with it anyway.
Even with a pattern different than what the class recommended, I found this course to be helpful and a major key to my execution and completion of the shirt. I found the instructions of the pattern to be decent but skipped over some information during key parts like assembling the collar. The directions didn’t really help me hide the raw edges of the collar so I created some bias tape from my fabric and sealed the edges off.
Also major shout outs to my college friend Lassandra who made we aware of how I was positioning my pattern pieces on this directional fabric after I shared my pattern layout on my Instagram stories. She is the real MVP because it was about to be jacked up if she did not say anything.
Now speaking of “jacked up”, let’s talk about how jacked up my fear of button holes were because that was the easiest thing to do! I don’t know why I feared that so much. My Juki machine came with a button hole foot that created the button hole for me while I held down the presser foot. I couldn’t believe how automated that was and it only got me excited to experience the world of button holes and buttons on future garments.
I would definitely recommend this pattern to someone who is a beginner or new to making button downs. Sure, some of the directions were tricky, but there weren’t as many pieces to work with, it assembles together rather quickly, and it challenges you to create ways to finish up the inside of your garments nicely. Definitely use an online class like I did (especially if it’s your first time) to help guide you and teach you some handy tricks along the way.
The class showed me proper steps to assemble and maintain precision in the shirt. I learned how to use tailor tacks to do pattern marking, where button holes go on a men’s shirt vs. a women’s shirt, and also how important ironing is to the entire process. I never ironed that much before. I literally ironed at every single step but I would be lying if I said it didn’t make a difference.
Please keep in mind that this shirt runs big so if you like loose fitting shirts then this is the pattern for you but if you are into slim fit like my husband, then I suggest you work with a size down and be prepared to shorten the length of the shirt. I plan to try out another mens pattern for a classic button down and this time with a double yoke and collar band because I was not a fan of the non-collar band look nor how the top of the center front lapels looked buttoned or unbuttoned.
This project gave me a crash course on how tricky working with directional patterns can be. I used this beautiful grey, black, and yellow paisley 100% cotton material from Jo-Ann’s that I had in my stash for a while. It gave me a run for my money when creating and positioning the pockets. I was able to place and sew it down perfectly the first time but after taking in the shirt some, I realized it threw off the centering of the pocket on the left side of the shirt. My second placement of the pocket was decent but still felt my first time was pure perfection.
My husband loves his new shirt though and has already received compliments. Our family and friends could not believe I made it (and quite frankly me neither lol). The project made me more confident to attack the original pattern I was initially intimidated by. Let me know if you ever try this pattern out and what your thoughts on it are. Thanks for reading and I will catch you soon. Until next time, loves!