A Practice Shirt (Simplicity 5339)
Why sew up someone else's project, particularly in a color and size most unflattering to me? For practice! I wasn't happy with how the back necks lay on the Batik Aloha Shirts I made my brother, and I wanted to get more practice with the tricky aspects of putting a collar on. And I felt like giving the pieces to Goodwill unfinished was the same as throwing them away... at least if I sewed them someone might wear the finished shirt! And I was keen to challenge myself to put the pieces together with no directions.
One thing I realized when putting the collar on was that I didn't know if the back piece was designed to have a box pleat or not (since the paper pattern was missing for that piece). So I decided to pin it smooth on the front, working my way around to Center Back, and if there was extra, I would box-pleat it.
Look at the picture below, which shows the shirt laid on the table, variously marked with letters. A and D are the Center Front edges, where the collar starts. B and C are the shoulder seams. The red pin marks the Center Back. I pinned the neckline to the collar between A and B smoothly, and the same between C an D. Then, between B and C, the back panel, I pinned starting on the outside and working my way to the center. The excess I found there became the (small) box pleat. This worked very well for this shirt, but more importantly, from my perspective, it would work for any shirt with a box pleat in the back, whether that pleat goes into a yoke or directly into the collar. So that means I can skip the step of folding and sewing the box pleat down before putting the pieces together. And if the box pleat goes straight into the collar (as here), doing it in the last step means getting a perfect fit every time!
Here's the shirt almost completed: it only needs buttonholes and buttons, and a bottom hem:
It'll probably hang on the closet door for a while, until I have spare time to finish it and give it away. But it was good practice to make it! I learned a bit more about putting collars on.
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Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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