I cut the shirt out in a cutting marathon along with my two pairs of pants. That was in June sometime. But I wasn't going to let myself start sewing it until I had redone the waistbands. The bad news is that it took me weeks to get around to doing that little retrofit. The good news is that it was much worse in the contemplation than in the execution. Too bad the delay meant that my shirt wasn't ready for the super hot week we had at the end of July.
So the review.
This shirt is not for a cool day. It feels like a halter top. There is a good reason. Basically it is a halter, with extremely cut in shoulders, a shirt collar that totally does not hug the neck, and really big openings at the arms.
Here's the back and side views. See what I mean?
You really need a racer back bra with this shirt, and if you don't want it to show in the arm opening (as mine does) you need a non-sports racer back bra.
I am very tempted to alter the pattern to raise the under arm by about 3cm and generally make the whole opening smaller. I'd leave the back yoke the same and reshape the arm opening at the front and side. Other alterations that seem advisable to me to make the shirt a bit easier to wear would include:
- Shortening it. The model on the pattern envelope is clearly an amazon. I'm not super short but would have to lop off about 7.5cm (3") to have the hem at the same level relative to her body.
- Reducing the flare. I could take in the side 5cm at the hem on each side and it would still be loose fitting.
- It could also stand to be taken in 2cm on each side at the armscye.
- Raise the top button even more. It is extremely low - as designed I think it would sit just a bit above my bra's bottom band. I raised it 1.5cm (5/8") but it could easily sit even 5cm higher. It's only not a problem because the fly front band is relatively firm and the collar keeps the edges close together.
- I'm unconvinced by the CB opening at the hem and might skip this in a future version.
Now for the construction information. In my opinion, the sewing instructions for making the back yoke are less than ideal. In effect, this shirt has the armscye facings on the outside, and they wrap around in a lovely continuous line with a V at centre back. But Vogue tells you to sew them in two completely distinct parts. The instructions for sewing the facings to the back yoke involve topstitching the facing on both edges. Try getting a precise and even facing with all seam allowances neatly enclosed doing that, I dare you. Then they want you to sew the shoulder seams through all layers last, and then to fake a French seam. This means you have a lumpy and possibly also uneven edge at the top of your shoulder.
If you are making this shirt, do the following instead:
- At step 13, stop sewing the facing about 2.5cm (1") away from the shoulder seam.
- At step 14, only topstitch the back part of the facing. Stop the topstitching at the side seam.
- Complete step 14 as instructed, but do not press the seam allowances towards yoke.
- Complete step 16 but not 17. Clip and press down upper seam allowances of the back facing as instructed. I reinforced the V with tiny stitches before clipping.
- Sew the lower edge of the back facing to the lower edge of the back yoke by machine, stopping about 2.5cm away from the shoulder seam on both sides. I did this in two passes to get the sharpest possible point at the V. I also trimmed the seam allowances in the V, a lot. Check that the finished assembly lies very flat, i.e. that you're not throwing the back off balance. I am pretty sure that a tiny imperfection in my yoke-back seam is making my shirt flare out at CB.
- Now do a French seam at the shoulders on the shirt body only, making sure you don't involve the loose ends of the front and back facing pieces.
- Sew the facings together at the shoulder with a regular seam. Trim and press it open.
- Make sure your facing edges will lie flat over your shirt body at the shoulder.
- Sew the final bit of the seam joining the facing to the armscye edge of the shirt at the shoulder.
- Topstitch the inner edge of the facing starting at one side seam and continuing through the back V to the other side seam.
This gave me the nice clean and fully machine done finish I like in a cotton shirt.
One more detail shot.
I have some nice white cotton that might look pretty sweet in this pattern, once modified.
But in the meantime I'm getting reacquainted with my Janome Coverstitch machine. We've been estranged for a bit. I'll show you the results soon, I promise.