How are you all doing? Keeping well I hope? Lockdown restrictions have been easing here in the UK (for now…) and I’ve been back to work for a few months. As I’m sure you can imagine, hairdressing has been pretty busy and I’ve put in quite a few hours! It’s exhausting but moreover exhilarating. So as I counted down the last few days before the ‘big return’ you’d think I’d be cramming to make work clothes – maybe a new boiler suit or dungarees … well, you’d be wrong! I spent it making this (at the time) totally unseasonal linen shirt! I’ve been meaning to make a shirt from this fabric for some time, and although the temperatures hadn’t really warmed up by this point, the mood just struck me to do it… and who am I to deny inspiration when it strikes?!
At this point I should probably make some kind of ‘disclaimer’ – The machine (and sewing feet) I’m using here are on loan to me from Pfaff, as part of my ‘Ambassador’ position. I think it’s important to state that this post has in no way been prompted, arranged or solicited by any third party! It’s the same content you’d get whether I’m using a free machine or not – but if the affiliation puts you off reading… sorry (not sorry!) – I’m not trying to sell you anything, just sharing what I’m up to…
So if you’re still with me, on with the sewing!
I’m using my regular shirt pattern (which is now practically unrecognisable from the original Burda 6931) – I’ve previously adapted the shaping, switched the collar and added a back yoke. For this one I’ve made it a popover style by splitting the front (around the level of the third button) and cutting the lower half with the centre front lined up with the fabric fold. I didn’t bother cutting the paper pattern – I just folded it where I needed it. If you are planning on cutting, it’ll look something like the diagram below… (and don’t forget to add seam allowance!).
To sew it up, I make the two mini plackets, for the buttons and buttonholes – then overlap the plackets and stitch them to the lower front piece.
I made a box to strengthen the bottom of the placket. It took me a while but I eventually worked out how to do it without crossing over a stitch. I even kept the thread tails loose to tie off neatly afterwards.
I got a few sewing feet out while I made this… I’ve posted these on Instagram (as I went along) but thought I’d expand a bit here in case you missed it…
Stitch in the ditch foot
Along with ‘I’m using the burrito method’ and ‘Are you chaining off???’ – ‘Hey, I’m stitching in the ditch!!’ Is one of my favourite sewing phrases! If you don’t know it, this foot is a little bit of sewing magic. It has a blade in the centre, to guide along the seam line helping to hide your stitches into a joining seam. In the video I’m sewing the inner collar stand down, from the right side, in the seam-line, catching the folded seam allowance of the inner stand underneath… all that in one go… I said it was magic.
If you take your time to fold and position everything neatly you can get a great finish this way. Sometimes I use wash away tape or glue to keep the inner band in place. This linen is quite wriggly so I used a squirt of starch to tame it – starch is like the gaffa-tape of the sewing world…
This particular stitch in the ditch foot has a single hole for the needle to pass through. If yours allows you to move the needle position it’ll be great for edge stitching too – put the edge of your fabric up to the blade and shift the needle over for a consistent guide. Otherwise, you might want to try this next one…
Clear Open-Toe Foot
I’m pretty sure this one is meant for fancy stitches; there’s space underneath the foot to accommodate bulkier threads (this particular one is IDT compatible too, Pfaff-fans!) – and, of course, with the wide ‘toes’ you get a clear view of what’s going on. I like to use it for edge stitching and topstitching…
I butt the inner edge of the foot to the seam line and shift the needle over to the width I want. In this clip I’m going around the collar stand.
I started using this foot when I made my first pair of jeans; I was finding it difficult to keep my second row of topstitching parallel, but found that if I lined the inner edge of the foot up to the first row of topstitching I had much more control over the second row. I think it’s just easier when you can see it better. On my last machine, I used this foot for (almost) everything!
With the main construction done it’s time to get the big guns out..!
One-step, four-step or vintage, in some shape or form we’ve all got one of these, right? The one I’ve got is a ‘onestep’, the type where you put your button in the back and the foot does it all for you (… I know, I’m lucky…) I keep mine in the built-in accessory tray – I keep a few standard size buttons in there too, it keeps things running a bit more smoothly.
I’ve got seven buttonhole styles on this machine and only used one so far! I haven’t made anything weighty for a while, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results when I do.
I always dab a bit of fraycheck to the inside of my buttonholes; I do it before cutting them open, allowing them to fully dry first; it helps to stop them getting shabby with regular use.
When it comes to putting the buttons on, I don’t need any special feet at all; you take the foot off and use the bare ankle. There’s a button stitching stitch on this Creative 1.5 which is really handy. If you haven’t got that it’s simple enough to use your zigzag (with stitch length set to zero) – in either case, wind by hand until you’re sure you’ve set the width correctly.
When it came to the side seams, I left the bottom 3rd unsewn to create slits. I finished the edges separately (.. with #rainbowseams, of course) , double turned the hem (higher at the front than the back) and stitched all the way around.
I’ve sewn a ‘mock cuff’ on the sleeves. This is a nice simple way of getting a cool finish that’s neat from both sides. I extend (from the finished length) by the depth of my cuff + about 5mm. Double fold to the inside and stitch the edge, catching the raw edge inside the stitching before pressing the cuff down… the drawing probably explains it better…!
Now the weather has warmed up I’m really grateful for this shirt! Coincidentally I made shorts from this fabric as we came out of the first lockdown – I’m looking forward to wearing both pieces together this summer… but that’ll more of a beach outfit for me.
Here’s a couple of shots of me on my way to work in this shirt and my new linen trousers. I’m carrying a 50% size version of Liz Haywood’s zero waste backpack too (I did a sewalong for Pfaff on IG with this bag, in case you missed it you can catch it here )
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know there’s a new addition to the family… that’s what the next blog post will be about – and I promise you won’t have to wait so long for it!
Wishing you well,
Notes to self:
- Use a finer needle for finer fabrics, I used a #60 universal.
- Make more linen clothes for summer – they feel amazing to wear.
- Now I’m getting regular days off I should focus some time back on blogging, also my YouTube channel… remember that…?!