One of the sewing projects I have wanted to tackle for quite some time has been a classic button up shirt. As an attorney, my closet should be full of these, but I only have maybe one ready to wear button up shirt that I really like enough that it has survived when I purged my closet. If I need a professional look, I normally wear a sleeveless woven tank with a blazer and no one is the wiser. It also helped me survive Texas summers in a dress suit. The problem was that I am too tall for petite sizes but too short for a standard size. I hate it when sleeves are too long or too short. I knew the answer would be to make my own, and I finally have been patient enough to make myself one!! It took a pattern by Wardrobe by Me to convince me to tackle the project. I knew that Christina Albeck, the designer, always drafts top notch patterns. So, I cast my fears aside and got started.
The Wardrobe by Me Anna Shirt sewing pattern is for bust sizes 30 to 48. The pattern includes three sleeve options (long and two different short sleeved lengths). You can also select a pointed collar, round collar, or just a collar stand. I chose a pointe collar for both of my shirts. I went by my measurements and made a size 6. There is enough ease in the waist and hips that there is no reason to grade if you are a bit bigger there. Pick your size by your bust measurement. I made no adjustments to the shirt length. I took 3 inches off the sleeve. I measured where I wanted the sleeve to hit to find out how much to take off. I was so nervous they were going to be too short. I think my nervousness made me finish even faster because you really don't know that your sleeve length adjustments are going to be perfect until you are almost finished! (Don't feel sorry for me, though, I could have properly muslined and known ahead of time too!) I can't tell you how happy I am with the finished product!
The pattern includes an option for a pleat in the back under the yoke. I chose no pleat to hopefully reduce fullness in my back.
For my first shirt, I used a Tula Pink peached poplin in her Bumble collection called Cotton Candy Clouds. I used the Sorbet colorway, but this fabric also comes in blue and green. I have never sewn with peached poplin before. It is similar to a quilting cotton but incredibly soft with a little bit more drape and better suited for garments than quilting cotton. I think the peaching process means they weave the fibers in a way that makes them come out awesome. I am obviously not sure of what that process is, but I am going to need them to start printing more fabric on peached poplin! My google search only turned up a very old extinct Heather Ross line that I wished I had collected all of. It works so nice for a top because it is very easy to press and get nice finishes, and I can still use my scraps on a quilt. It was only 44 inches wide, though, so I felt like I was playing fabric chicken trying to fit an entire shirt on 2 yards. I seriously had only the tiniest of scraps leftover. There was zero room for mistakes!
A Breezy Short Sleeved Anna
After finishing with our first shirts, many of us testers asked for a short sleeved version of the pattern so we could have a button up shirt for the warmer months ahead. Christina was so gracious to listen to us and provided two different short sleeved cut lines. I made a second shirt in the shorter of the two short sleeve lengths.
For my second shirt, I used a lyocell/linen blend from Joann Fabrics. I could not find it on their website, but it is from Nicole Miller and is 74% lyocell and 26% linen. It only came in solid colors. At my Joanns, they had turquoise, purple, and black. I was hoping I could find some in pink or white! This is also buttery soft like that peached poplin, except the lyocell/linen has one factor that the peached poplin does not have - slipperiness. Not sure that is an exact term, but it is a bit more difficult to work with so I had to use wonder tape so that the collar pieces behaved and stayed where I needed them to. Since it is a natural fiber, it was very easy to press, though.
I love the summery feel of this shirt and think it looks super cute tied. I made a pair of Haute Skinny Pants in a stretch twill (97% cotton/ 3% spandex) to go with the shirt. Joann Fabrics had an entire section of florals and every color in stretch twill so I had to make a fun pair of pants to go with my shirt. I am knew to sewing pants and still have a few adjustments to make them perfect, but I am happy with them for now. My problem with pants is that my calves are not the same size as my waist. I sized up 2 sizes for my calves but know I still need to do more tweaking to eliminate some of those wrinkles around my knees. Knock need? Bow legged? I've done a lot of reading but haven't quite finished diagnosing what I need to do. That will be for another blogpost on another day.
Let me tell you a little secret. My buttons are not black!! Yikes. In my sewing room, they were totally black. Even under a flashlight to double check. NOPE. They are Navy. In the bright sunlight while taking photos of my shirt, I look down and see NAVY buttons. I shrieked. So, no close ups of my awesome buttons for now. Maybe I should go with silver or wood? Thank God buttons are easy to change. Tell me what color you think I should pick because black is obviously too hard for me!
You can purchase your copy of the Anna Shirt sewing pattern here.
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