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Making more with your patterns - The Box Shirt
1st September 2015

Silk blouse pattern

Fabric choice is everything when it comes to dressmaking. How a fabric hangs or drapes determines how I’m going to interpret a pattern using that fabric.

Last week I found some slinky, sheened polyester with the most fabulous ‘handle’- it could easily pass for the most expensive silk. I thought it would make a great shirt; one that could button right up to the neck or still be worn ‘open’.

This is simple enough to do using The Box Shirt sewing pattern, but I decided to alter the collar depth, so that when it is buttoned up, it retains a feminine edge. I also omitted the interfacing in the collar and front facings, so that the fabric retained its fluidity.

The fluid nature of this fabric made it quite tricky to work with. When pinning my pattern pieces to the fabric I took extra care not to move the fabric in the process and used extra fine silk pins - pinning from the centre out towards edge of each pattern piece. I also choose to overlock my cut pattern pieces although I could have used felled seams when making up my garment.

Altering a collar depth

To make the collar smaller, simply take your collar pattern piece, fold it in half lengthways, then fold over the folded edge by a further 1cm or the depth of collar reduction you would like. Open out the pattern piece keeping the folded section in the middle and just turn in the overhanging collar points at the middle in as shown above. Now cut your collar and follow the making instructions as normal.

Collar alteration

I added an additional button and buttonhole at the neck. I found the buttonholes to be particularly difficult on this fabric – it would have been easier if there was interlining but then the garment wouldn’t be as floppy as I wanted it.    

Linen Jacket

The other variation I have made with The Box Shirt sewing pattern is a heavy linen jacket. I went up one size and added two patch pockets with flaps. The dimensions for the pockets are 15 x 12cm when finished and very simple to construct.

Just cut four rectangles 16 x 13cm.

Take two of the rectangles and fold in half lengthways with the right sides of the fabric innermost. Stitch up one side along the top, but leaving a 6-7 cm gap in the middle and down the other side (1a). Turn your pocket flap the right way out, through the gap you left (1b) and press.

Pocket pattern

Now take the other two rectangles turn and press over the edges by 0.5cm all around and stitch the top edge down (1c). Position the pocket bags onto your garment. Pin the three edges that need stitching, then stitch to your garment as close to the edge of the pocket as possible.

Take the pocket flaps and place with the open edge nearest the pocket and stitch along this line (1d).

Now fold the flap over the pocket bag and press (1e). If necessary, run another line of stitching along the top of the flap.

To finish my jacket off I used much larger buttons.