Everything’s Coming Up Roses

I love it…I love it not…I love it…I love it not… The sewing process for this simple floral shirt definitely had its ups and downs, but the final verdict on this one? I LOVE it!

The story of this summer top started way back in the cold and snow of December. I decided to make myself a Christmas dress. Every year I say I’m going to, and this year I actually did it.  I wanted a close-fitting style with bishop sleeves and a red rose embroidery. When I found Simplicity 8733, it was EXACTLY the shape I wanted. It also featured an embroidered element, albeit what I think is an ugly embroidered element that I ignored.

So, I made the dress. While it was lovely, I never felt especially good wearing it…and isn’t that the point? I also never blogged about it. Maybe someday. But the pattern also included a simple shirt with statement sleeves. Now I know I haven’t been the biggest fan of statement sleeves in the past, but something about this shirt appealed to me. I think part of that was the fact that the sleeves only come to midway down my forearm – much better than full length for me. I hate when sleeves get in my way.

I was so excited to make this shirt, but things took a bit of a turn. I bought this cotton twill from Mood back in February. It was only $5 a yard and really lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I ordered four more yards to make a dress, in addition to this shirt. I pre-washed my fabric like a good little sewer, but when I pulled it out of the dryer it was no longer white. Nope. It was the palest pink color (and yes, I realize it basically looks white in these photos). I buy a lot of fabric from Mood, and the quality is always top notch. This, however, was disappointing. I realize it was only $5 a yard, but I expected better.

I supposed the saving grace was the fact that the red dye bled evenly, and the fabric was all the same shade of pink. With that small consolation, I moved forward.

As I mentioned in my recent shirt dress post, I’ve discovered the magical powers of moving the bust dart in Big Four patterns. I used the same method as with the shirt dress and lowered the dart 1.5.” Where has this adjustment been my whole life?!

After moving the dart, construction of this top was incredibly easy – so easy that I never looked at the instructions. Cue the ominous music.

I assumed (and yes, I know what assuming does) that this shirt would have an opening at the top of the back seam that would be secured by a button at the neckline, providing just enough room to slip it over my head. WRONG. When I didn’t see a notch on the pattern indicating where to end my center back seam, I got suspicious. I pulled out the instructions and lo and behold, there was no notch. There was no notch, because I was supposed to install an 18” zipper. What unnecessary, over-complicated madness was this?! I’ve made many a shirt in this sort of style, and never have any of them called for a zipper.

So, I folded up the instructions and put them back in the envelope where they belong. I was going to finish the back of this shirt my way. I added the sleeves before sewing the back seam, just to be sure I could get it comfortably over my head and back off. As suspected, I could.

I must say at this point, I was really starting to hate this shirt and just wanted to be rid of it. But, I kept going. I sewed the center back seam together, stopping six inches from the top. I then folded under the remaining seam allowance and topstitched it down. I added the facing as I normally would, folding the ends under and hand stitching them down on the inside. Finally, I added a button and thread loop at the neckline to secure it.

Aside from the back, the only other changes I made were adding 1” to the length and tapering the seam allowance from 5/8” to 3/8” at the hips. After I finished the top, I realized this hip adjustment wasn’t necessary. I have more than enough wiggle room.

After I had the back seam sewn, I gave the shirt another try-on, and instantly all the bad feelings I had toward it disappeared. It was cute…like really cute. The slightly stiffer fabric gave the gathered portion of the sleeves some nice body and helped them stand out slightly.

I couldn’t be happier that I stuck with it and not let the bleeding dye or bonkers back seam instructions throw me. I’ve been looking for a good pattern to make some simple woven t-shirts, and I finally found it! I’ve tried others but was never satisfied with the results. After the simple alterations I made, this pattern is exactly what I wanted. I will definitely be making this pattern again, although most likely with non-statement sleeves.

I’ve already worn this shirt to work, and when I did one of my coworkers told me it was very Dolce and Gabbana. Well thank you very much, my new favorite coworker.

I still have four yards of this fabric to make a dress, but I think I’ll take a break and come back to it later. Besides, I have some projects that have been bouncing around my brain for a couple of weeks, and I think it’s time to let them out.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

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