When my parents came out to visit last year, my mom was looking for a white silk shirt but was unable to find one she liked. She asked me to make her one and I have been slowly chugging away at it ever since. This is probably the most complex project I’ve taken on so far, but I think it turned out well in the end.
I didn’t have a pattern for a women’s button down shirt (I’ve made several for Lloyd), so I drafted one myself. I based the pattern on a basic long sleeve t-shirt pattern I had for myself and modified it to have a front seam and for size. I modified the sleeves to be looser and made up the rest of the pattern.
This is the muslin pattern that I made and pinned together modeled by my dress form. I didn’t bother making two sleeves since they are identical.
First, I found an off-white silk in a light weight that I liked. I had worked with a sheer silk before and it was awful so I was a bit nervous about cutting the fabric, but it was actually fine to work with. The only issue that I had was the silk frayed easily once it was cut, but that was pretty manageable.
I wanted all of the seams closed so I used a french seam for the seams in the body of the shirt. This meant that there were no raw edges exposed so fraying wouldn’t occur. I learned french seams for this shirt, so a few practice goes on some scrap fabric were required first.
Interior french seams.
I also used my fancy hemming presser foot that I’d never had an excuse to use before so I had to learn how to use that as well. I really liked the results and will definitely be finding uses for the presser foot in the future.
Such a tiny seam!
I reinforced the button area using fusible interfacing which, in a shocking turn of events, I’d never used before. I used the same interfacing on the collar and cuff bands. It made the shirt look a lot crisper and more finished.
It took a lot more ironing that I I thought it would.
I hand stitched the collar to the shirt because I haven’t found a way to do it on the machine that I really like. I’ve hand stitched the collars to most of Lloyd’s shirts as well.
The finished collar as attached.
For the cuffs, I had recently learned how to make corded loops and decided they had to feature in the closure mechanism. This required a new button purchase since corded loops require a button with a shank – which was not what I used for the front.
The cuff closure mechanism.
The cuff with the new buttons.
Basically, I got in over my head on this one, but I think I executed it well.
The finished shirt.
The back of the shirt as finished.