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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Shirting Combo Top

I bought these 3 lovely shirting fabrics on a trip to the Memphis area with some friends. I knew I wanted to 'mix & play' with them on a Big Shirt but just hadn't gotten around to it.

In the next photo, you can see the pattern cover of the pattern I basically used: Vogue 1784. The right front has an interesting tuck/pleat in it - but I changed that out to a seam for my fabric play. I also divided the sleeves up and changed the grain of the upper part to bias for wearing comfort. A few other changes along the way I made, PLUS I'll share here some faults with the pattern so that if you are inspired to give a big shirt like this a whirl, you'll not have all the challenges that I did!

More about my fabrics: They came from a shop in a gal's home: A Frayed Knot - close to Memphis, in a gal's home. She has LOVELY fabrics and heirloom creations abound there. Do look it up if you're in the Memphis area! If my memory serves me correctly, of these 60" shirting fabrics, I bought 1 yd of the blue stripe, 3/4 of the pink/white stripe, and 1/3 of the pink/white check.

Initially, I was going to use a basic shirt pattern from Margaret Islander.

But...then I had a blog post from Gayle Orwitz, and I decided to utilize the pattern she had used on her shirt: Vogue 1784. I DO still have some decent-sized scraps left over - so with some other men's shirts to Up-cycle, I may well come up with yet another shirt. You can also see the pink ric rac in the picture above - more about that later, but you can see that it did not 'make the cut' for the final garment.

Some basics on the pattern: Vogue 1784

  • Per Gayle's recommendation, I cut one size smaller than usual - and I'm glad I did.

  • If your fabric doesn't have some drape to it, you might consider cutting down the width of the back piece. If I do it again, I sure will, AND I'll lengthen the back at least an inch.

  • WIDEN each front facing by at least an inch on the interior edges!!!!! You'll see why as you read on.

  • Interface the OUTER, UPPER, 'Public' sides of the collar pieces rather than the under, closer to the body sides. The 'Big 4' continue to have you interface the innermost pieces - which I think is absolutely ridiculous! It is the OUTERMOST, 'public' side of portions of a garment requiring interfacing that need the added stability. Watch my YouTube Video all about that ..... In my shirt, I used a Woven FUSIBLE Interfacing on the pieces requiring interfacing. AND - per my video, I had PRESHRUNK my Fusible interfacing, just as I had PRESHRUNK my fabrics. All you do is to lay folded interfacing in a sink of HOT water, wait for it to cool - roll in a towel, and then LAY (don't hang) it out to dry. If you don't do this - EXPECT bubbling! I'm not kidding.....

  • UPDATE on my interfacing choice: A year later I will honestly report that I WISH I HAD USED A SEW-IN INTERFACING rather than a fusible! I'm SURE that my fusible interfacing used WAS pre-shrunk, but it is definitely bubbling. After laundering, I must press it diligently with a steam iron and lots of pressure to make it look good.

CHANGES I MADE to the pattern include:

  1. I folded out the tuck/pleat on the Right Lower Front. Just line up the seams on the tissue and draw a line on the 'seam'. Then create new pieces for both the top and the bottom right, adding seam allowance to the new lower edge for the Upper Right, and to the new top edge for the Lower Right.

  2. I divided the Sleeves into a 2/3 for the top, 1/3 for the bottom. Do the same - draw a line, then cut and add seam allowance to where you cut. I also changed the grain of the upper sleeve pieces to bias so that they 'give' more when wearing.

  3. Below, you can see how scant the width of the Right Front Facing is. It needs to be widened at least 1" in my opinion.

Here, you can see the problem clearly, even on the tissue. How this got past the Vogue staff - is disappointing.

4. Similarly, there are problems with the finish of the Left Front. See below - the facing doesn't begin to 'finish' the front curved neckline.

Here - you can see it revealed on the pattern tissue. What is circled in blue - there is absolutely no 'finish'.

To solve this problem, I added a folded piece of fabric. I realize now I should have cut it on the bias grain. Here is what I'll do next time: fold a 3" long piece of fabric that measures

2 1/4" wide. Folded = 1 1/8", less the 5/8" seam allowance, makes this piece finished 1/2" wide.

SKILL LEVEL: Be advised, the skill required to stitch this pattern - especially the collar and its finish, is definitely ADVANCED. This makes me sad. I just know from teachign for so long that when problems like this arise, that most home sewers end up giving up and it becomes a 'paper bag' or lost project.

Here are some more photos:

SIDE SEAM TUCKS: I just didn't like how loose it was at the end, so I tucked the sides as you can see below. I can always unstitch these.


I actually 'bit the dust' and executed flat fell seams over the majority of this garment. A lavor of love - for sure!

This close-up reminds me that I also changed the buttonholes from horizontal orientation to veritical because I just felt it 'went with' the stripes and 'shirt' nature of this garment. Sadly, I didn't have the perfect buttons in my stash. I had envisioned all different buttons, but that just didn't happen - even in shopping at the very limited selection at JoAnn Fabrics.

And that Ric Rac? Well - at this point, it was all finished off pretty much, and I truly did decide that there was 'enough going on' with all the fabric combining - so, as always, "if in doubt - leave it OUT."

And finally, a close-up of the collar. You can see that the outermost right front Collar is a single layer. When I do this shirt again, I think I'll make even this outermost layer doubled, but without interfacing at all so that it 'flops'.

Worn with white jeans (see another of my Blog Posts), I routinely get compliments on this shirt, and have several of my husband's shirts that have worn out collars in my 'stash' ready to Up-Cycle into a shirt like this!

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