So I made another button down, but this time for me!
And I don’t know what my deal was but this project took quite a long time for me to complete. But it’s done now!
I’ve been wanting to make myself a button down shirt for quite awhile. I bought this pattern before (like waaaay before) making Ben’s Christmas shirt (maybe that’s why it took me so long; I was burnt out from having just made one!). In any case I wanted to make one for myself. And then I started to look for a pattern and yeesh! are there a lot of collared button down shirt patterns! I mean, it seems like almost every pattern company has their own version. And it’s difficult to see where those patterns are different. When I made two different jeans patterns (just for purposes of comparing…and needing new jeans), I was shocked at how patterns promising the same thing (skinny jeans) differed so much in construction and look. I’m sure if I tried some of the other button down patterns, I’d feel the same way: that the other patterns are very different from this pattern. I’d love to try it out…but I’m not sure I wear enough button downs to justify it so we’ll see.
Anyway, all that is to say that I ended up going with the Cheyenne Tunic because I like that it had two different views and mostly because I had sewn Hey June patterns before and been happy with how easy they come together.
I did make a muslin first:
Cry! I miss the sun! Someday I’ll be tan again 😉
Ta-da! Here’s my muslin. I used an Art Gallery cotton voile that I got from Fabric.com. I just kind of made up some short sleeves so that I could get away with just using 1 yard which definitely worked just fine, and I’d do again.
My biggest issue with the muslin was how big the collar seemed. Here’s the thing: On none of the other photos of this shirt do I think that the collar seems big. I trimmed the collar up for my plaid version, and while I think the collar on the finished plaid looks good, I don’t think it would look bad if the collar was bigger. Basically I’m saying that I don’t know what my deal is. Maybe the collar is big, maybe it’s not? Maybe it’s not a big deal? I only took a small amount, maybe 1/4 inch, from the corners for my final version. The back of the collar remained the same.
I was so excited about this fabric and thought I would love this shirt, but alas, I really didn’t. The print is fun and in the pictures I don’t hate it as much. But in real life it just felt so loud and obnoxious. And with the big collars I truly felt like I was in a bowling league or something (which is cool, just not the look I tend to go for).
I did work on styling it in a way that seemed more me and came up with the above but I’m just going to be honest with you: the shirt has already been sent to Goodwill so hopefully it can make someone else happy. It just wasn’t doing the job for me.
But muslins serve a purpose, by golly, and I did learn a thing or two from making my muslin.
Awhile later, I was able to go Harmony in Provo, Utah (a fabric and knitting store. Yes, I’ve mentioned it before!) and I found some of this gorgeous Mammoth flannel. There were like 4 different color combos to choose from and they were all beautiful. But I decided to go with this mustard/rose/gray version because I love the autumn vibes. It’s a really soft fabric but it is rather substantial/thick. I was a bit worried because a project like this has some seams that are several layers of fabric. It ended up being totally fine, though.
So I cut the pattern out after Thanksgiving, I believe. And then didn’t touch it until halfway through January. That’s what happens when Christmas sewing gets pushed to the top of the list. And then when I started sewing it, I just took my sweet time on it. Twenty minutes here, thirty minutes there. But I guess that works because it did eventually get done.
As I mentioned with Ben’s button down, a big part of sewing something like this is just how often you have to topstitch. I kept my thread the same whether I was topstitching or not (I chose rose for my topstitching thread, but it was a hard choice because all the colors in the fabric looked great as topstitching colors), but I did change out my presser foot each time I swapped between a regular seam and one that needed topstitched. That does take some time.
Another spot that took up a bunch of my time was my collar stand. I don’t know if I just wasn’t reading the directions carefully enough or what, but I had to unpick things twice before really laying things out and double and triple checking that it was going how I needed it to go. Yeesh. It was a process. I guess my only advice would be to take it slow!
I always think it’s cool when patterns are kind of built to not use a serger (of course, I love my serger and also think it’s cool when patterns are built to be used with a serger. They each have their place). In any case, this pattern is made to be serger free! It gives instructions for how to do French seams on the insides, which I’m sure looks really nice. But I was so pleased with how the flat fell seams turned out in Ben’s shirt that I opted to do flat fell seams on my top too. There is plenty of seam allowance for any way you choose to finish your seams (and you can definitely still serge! I did on my muslin). I don’t have a picture of the insides, but they turned out really nice.
Okay so I do have one complaint for the pattern and before I tell you what it is, I admit that it could very well just be me. I realize I may be trying to blame a pattern for issues which should squarely rest on my own shoulders…or tummy as the case may be. I feel like this pattern is not the most flattering silhouette! Not that I necessarily want to be pointing out my midsection in a way that makes everyone else look at my midsection, but I do feel like this top kind of bubbles out around the tummy. In the above photo, my stomach isn’t touching the fabric, but it almost looks like it is touching and sculpting the fabric. I felt the same way about the muslin as well, but at the time I just attributed it to the fabric choice. But since, I’ve looked at the tester photos and I feel like most of the tester versions have a similar issue, so perhaps it’s not just me? I do think I’ll still wear the shirt, especially because right now it’s pretty popular to wear this type of shirt unbuttoned, but it probably won’t be something I wear every other day. I know. There goes crazy Kim, always wanting to wear stuff that’s flattering! The nerve…
I’m not quite sure how to address this. Maybe redraw the waist curve? Adjust for my sway back? Or maybe that’s just par for the course when there’s only 6 sizes to choose from? I’ll have to think on it.
Aside from the stomach issue (which I’m sure is exacerbated 10 fold by my own eyes), the fit is actually pretty good. I took off 1 inch from the length of the bodice and the back. And surprisingly, I took off 3 inches from the arms! I don’t love long sleeves and I’ve noticed that Hey June drafts for long sleeves (obviously because she really likes them). The amount I took off is drastic, but I think that the sleeve hits perfectly. I forgot to cut out the sleeve tabs (so you can roll up your sleeves and button them) so I just left them off (lazy) but I think that the fabric is heavy-duty enough that they’ll stay up decently enough on their own.
Pattern: Cheyenne Tunic from Hey June Handmade
Adjustments: I trimmed a bit (about 1/4 inch or so) from the corners of the collar. I also shortened the length of the bodice and back by 1 inch and shortened the length of the sleeve by 3 inches.
Fabric: Mammoth Flannel Plaid from Harmony
Cost: Fabric was $21 for 2 yards; the pattern was $10; thread and buttons were in my stash
Would I make this pattern again?: Yes, I think I would but probably not without first trying to adjust the waist area to make it a bit more flattering. It is a good basic pattern and the instructions are easy to follow.