Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

Yesterday I sewed Muslin #3 of the shirt I'm making for the Men's Shirt Sew-Along.  This has turned into somewhat of a Frankenstein project, as many alterations as I've made to the original pattern (and as many crazy floral fabrics I've cobbed together).  But I am happy to report that after a bit more tweaking on the third muslin, I'm finally ready to cut out the actual shirt!

It was hard to get a photo of myself wearing Muslin #3.  Norm was gone to a rally at the state capitol, so I was on my own.  The self-photos didn't work out, so instead I'll show you my first ever full bust adjustment (FBA).  <--That link, by the way, rocks as far as FBA tutorials go.

I was happy I had the cardboard dressmaker's mat I'd thrifted last summer.  There's probably an official name for the thing, but I don't know it.  Anyway, it was great because I could pin right down into it, and the grid lines helped in lining things up.

I wasn't sure how much to adjust the shirt front in the bust.  I guessed somewhere between a C and D and went with 5/8 inch.  I think the recommended adjustments may have applied to a standard women's pattern to start with, which is sized for a B cup.  I dunno.  Brain hurts.  Long story short, it worked fine.

In summary, these are the changes I have made to the original pattern:

- Added 3 inches to length of front and back.
- Added 2 inches to sleeve length.
- Decreased sleeve width by 5/8 inch from shoulder to wrist.
- Redrew point of collar.
- Decreased back yoke width by 3/4 inch.
- Decreased collar length by 3/4 inch.
- Removed gathering in shirt back below yoke
- Sway back adjustment.
- Decreased width of shirt back and re-cut rear armhole.
- Altered side seams of shirt back, removing 5/8 on each side from under arm, tapering out to hip, and adding curves at waist/hip.
- FBA/darts added to shirt front.
- Lowered front neckline 3/8 inch.
- Removed gathering of lower sleeve and added pleats.
- Raised side slits by 1-1/4 inches.

Many of the alterations were by trial and error, but I did find some helpful general tips in two books I'd picked up at a thrift store last summer:  The Busy Woman's Fitting Book and The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction.

And with that, I'm off to cut out the real shirt.  Fingers crossed!

P.S. - I cannot wait to get back to making quilts! 


  1. Oh my goodness, woman, that thing would have been tossed out long ago by me! You have the patience of a saint!

  2. I have the utmost confidence in you...and after all your adjustments and trials, you'll have worked out all the bugs and I bet it will look great.

  3. You're committed to this shirt! I would have given up the first time something didn't go exactly as planned.

    Good Luck with the real deal. Im sure all your hard work will be worth it. I cant wait to see it done because I love the fabric you chose!

  4. My favorite muslin fabric shirt combination is #2, the one with the daisy bodice and yellow floral sleeves. I wondered why you'd made so many alterations till I scolled back to see you were using a vintage men's shirt pattern! What a challenge! I'm looking forward to seeing your results. :D

  5. You are going to be so proud of this shirt once you get it finished! And you'll probably be able to create a pattern from scratch after this!!

  6. I so admire your persistence! Once you get this shirt fitted though, you can make as many as you want with abandon, KNOWING that they'll fit. Awesome!


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