Finally! I've got round to making a proper man-make. An early xmas prezzy for my Brother. I found this pattern in a Burda book full of projects and pattern hack ideas. The Frank Button-Down Shirt didn't require any changes to the paper pattern supplied so seemed like a good place to start.
I've heard mixed things about Burda patterns so was expecting the worst. The only tedious part of using this pattern though was having to draw on all the seam allowances after tracing the pattern out. Very time consuming! The book says to add 1.3 cm to each seam allowance but I used a 1.5cm to make life much easier!
Once the paper pattern was drawn out and cut out, I knew that my next challenge would be tackling the pattern matching of the plaids. Despite the pattern not telling me so, I decided to cut what I could on the bias. This included the cuffs, button plackets, pocket flaps and yoke x2. Cutting these pieces diagonally meant that these seams didn't have to be pattern matched. For the pieces that did- the two front pieces, the back and the sleeves, I opted to cut on a single layer instead of on the fold then match up the mirrored piece by laying my first cut piece on top of the fabric and making sure plaids matched exactly. I lay my back paper piece on top of the front fabric piece and drew on the dominant plaid lines at the side seams so that I could line these up on the back fabric piece. This meant my horizontal stripes run straight across the front and back of the shirt, as well as on the sleeve seams and quite importantly the pocket placement.
Although cutting like this requires patience and accuracy (and also takes up twice as much space as cutting on the fold!), I found it made actual assemblage of the shirt loads easier! Instead of matching up notches, I made sure I was matching up checks. I used a red vertical column (? I'm sure there's a sewing name?), as the centre back and made sure this matched at the collar and the centre of the diagonal plaids on the yoke. Precise cutting out made stitching all fall into place.
There were only a few small problems I ran into- The first that the fabric was very heat sensitive! I managed to scorch my collar when applying my interfacing- Thankfully plenty of fabric left to cut another! Ooops.
-My cuffs seemed a little longer than the end of the sleeves when it came to attaching them. The only thing I could think was that they had stretched out a little as they were cut on the bias. Better too long than too short- I made the seam allowance a little bigger and it was fine. I was worried then that the cuffs would be too small, but after a try-on found there were no problems at all.
-The main problem I found was that sewing on button holes where fabric was bulky around seams was a nightmare. Does anyone have any tips for this? The buttons on the placket were a dream, but the cuff buttons were horrible! My machine really seemed to struggle when it met a bit of bulk, particularly where the sleeve pleat and sleeve slit facing and cuff all met.
I was glad I'd had a few practice runs when it came to attaching collar/collar band, though Burda suggest doing it a little different. In the past I have attached the band to the neckline then the collar and inner band, however this time I put together all 4 pieces (collar x2 collar band x2) THEN attached to the neck line. I was surprised to find I found this much better as it was much easier to get a neater curve on the collar band when it wasn't already attached to the rest of the shirt.
Burda rate this pattern a 3 out of four on the difficulty rating! I think I did pretty well!
I'm very excited about getting an overlocker for Christmas so I can maybe actually start enjoying hemming. Either that or completely destroy them..... Time will tell!
Currently listening to: Magic Hour, Franc Cinelli
Location: Wyming Brook, Sheffield