Work in Progress Wednesday 6/21

I bet you hadn’t expected to read that title today!  To be honest, I really expected the next post to be the completed jacket, but other things have cropped up to delay the completion, and I’ve had to jump onto another project with a tight timeframe in the interim!

Daughter No1 has a favourite white shirt, bought a few years ago now from Zara.  It’s not only her favourite white shirt, I think I can say it’s her favourite shirt, hands down.  So she wanted another – here’s where I step in.  Can’t be that hard to copy a shirt pattern, right?  Except that she cannot part with it very long, I have a short attention span, and I cannot take it apart….  Anyway, she left it with me a few weeks (at least a month) ago and I promised that I’d make a pattern from it and return it to her, asap.

collage white shirt 1
The white shirt, collar, sleeve and concealed button fly

This weekend she asked, could she please have her favourite shirt back, she needs it!  Bother – I haven’t done anything with it!!  So on Monday afternoon I started figuring out how to do this.  I’ve not actually made a pattern from a whole garment before, I’ve aways been able to cut them up!  I started by pinning the front to some pattern paper, keeping the fabric smooth and trying not to stretch anything.  It worked up to a point, getting to the whole of the shoulder line and the armscye got tricky and I had to unpin some lower areas to release the tension.  I used a pin to pierce the fabric along the seam lines at sides, shoulder, neck and armhole, and just traced the outline of the front edge and the hem.  I did the same with the back, and found out that it was off grain when I tried identifying the centre line…  Also, the hem on the back is asymmetrical – this is not a design feature!

collage white shirt 2
The sleeve has pleat details, edgestitching on collar, cuffs and front edges

Laying the two pieces over each other made me doubt that I’d done this right, the shoulders and armholes didn’t look right.  A little Googling later I had decided on another course of action.  I have a roll of freezer paper sent over to me ages ago by an American friend.  I decided I’d iron this to the shirt, draw through the seam lines, peel it off and voila, I’d have a pattern piece.  Again, this worked – to a point.  Because it’s a large shirt I needed to move it around the ironing board a fair bit, so I couldn’t be sure that I’d not distrubed the grain, not stretched it out.

collage white shirt 3
Freezer paper makes copying garments easier

However, when I compared the shapes obtained this way to the pinning method, they weren’t all that far off!!  So, after checking the side seams were the same length, and the hem curve worked, I combined areas of the fronts and backs, traced both pieces and added front stand, seams, etc.  Now for the sleeve!  Sleeve is tricky, it has a box pleat at the sleeve head and a corresponding pleat at the cuff, but they are different sizes.  There are another two single pleats in the sleeve head, one on each side of the box pleat.  How to do this one??

I started with measurements.  Length of sleeve seam, length from shoulder point to cuff, width of cuff, width of sleeve (including pleats) at cuff.  Then I got happy with the freezer paper again, pressing it over the pleats and just marking where they go on the sleeve head.  I ended up with a fairly good approximation of what the sleeve would look like, just needed to add the pleats!  But – the sleeve head is not right, it’s too flat.  I’ll have to come up with a different way to copy this part.

I’ve checked all the edges, trued up the lines and walked the sleeve around the armscye on front and back, and it all fits.  The collar stand and collar were pinned to paper and I used the pin piercing method here again.  Walking the patterns along the seamlines shows they fit again, so I think I’m ready to make a toile.  I’ve allowed decent seam allowances so I can tweak areas if needed.

And the original shirt?  That’s in a first class package winging it’s way to London!  I just hope I’ve got all the info I need and that this toile works!!  Have you copied an intact garment before?  What methods did you use that were most successful?

Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

9 thoughts on “Work in Progress Wednesday 6/21”

  1. Anne, I do so admire your willingness to tackle this project! I’ve never done anything nearly so complicated. Just thinking about it gives me nightmares! However, I have every confidence that you have both the skills and the willingness to tackle this and succeed beautifully! Am cheering you onward! 💕

      1. You’ll get there! Give yourself a break & slip in a few seams of something else to relieve stress. Or, weather permitting, take a walk – even better for your spirits. You’ll crack it!
        😘

  2. It’s tricky when you can’t just take it apart isn’t it! I have done this a few times, with shorts and jackets. I used a similar approach by pinning to paper and piercing with pins. With tricky shapes that have darts or pleats – I’ve actually pinned cotton fabric to the garment. So for the pleated sleeve, I think I would have measured the pleats and folded them into the piece of fabric and then pinned the fabric onto and around the sleeve, drawing any seam lines onto the fabric.
    I have a blouse pattern that I’ve traced off, and is waiting to be sewn, but its in a long queue!

    1. Using fabric is a great idea! I wish I’d thought of that now! 🙄 I measured the pleats so I know how big they are and where to put them. I’ve been messing around with trying to draft a pattern, but it’s tricky with only having the traced-off front and backs to go by!

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