My Latest Makes August 2020

My Latest Makes August 2020

After lots of easy sewing projects during lockdown I decided it was time to stretch my sewing muscles and make a tailored shirt. I really fancied getting my teeth into those traditional shirt details including a stand up collar and cuff plackets and the process of making was an absolute joy.

Pattern and Fabric

I mooched around our website looking for a traditional tailored shirt pattern and found McCalls 8014 - all the details I was looking for plus a half covered button band which I thought was a fun feature.

McCalls 8014

I knew I wanted to make something with this spotty crepe fabric and was initially thinking of following the ruffle/peasant dress trends I had spotted in one of my favourite High Street stores, Zara. Then I thought, no let's do something completely different and make a tailored shirt instead!

The fabric washes and wears brilliantly and I love the mini spots, however, this fabric does not like steam. I used a hot, dry iron for pressing.

Size and Fit

Before I went to all the trouble of making the shirt I decided to check the fit by pinning the bodice pattern pieces together and trying them on.

I cut a 12 at the bust, grading to a 14 at the waist and hips. Straight away I could see I needed to make some adjustments!

I made a small bust adjustment (you can see how to do this here) of about 1/2", my usual high round back and forward shoulder adjustment (see how to do this here) and raised the bust darts (see how to do this here) on the pattern pieces referring to my fitting bible 'The Complete Guide to Fitting' by Palmer and Pletsch.

Next  I made a quick toile in calico to check how these adjustments had worked. All looked good, however, I decided to add a shoulder dart due to excess fabric at the back armhole and I also shortened the bust darts slightly.

Overall I was very happy with the fit and it was worth taking the time to run these tests and get it right first.

Sadly after wearing it a couple of times I've noticed the shoulder seams are falling back off my shoulders, despite my high round back adjustment and forward shoulder adjustment which ordinarily fix this problem straight away. I wonder if my shoulder dart addition caused this problem, although I've done this before too and never had a problem. There's always something isn't there?!


The construction was SO. MUCH. FUN!

After months of quick, easy projects I decided to really take the time to achieve a professional finish on the shirt.

I sewed the yokes using the burrito method, which you can see here. This allows you to machine stitch the internal and external yokes with no need for hand sewing.

The collar worked out well and was nice and easy to sew, I used my Prym point turner tool and trimmed the corners to get a nice sharp corner.

Trimming Collar Seams Prym Corner Shaper Tool Sewing a Stand Up Shirt Collar

The cuff plackets had me scratching my head initially so I went back to the pattern pieces to work out how they came together. This is a good tip if ever you're struggling to see how your fabric pieces should fit together.

Top stitching the plackets neatly was a real challenge, but our lovely team member Irena reminded me to try turning the handwheel manually to slow everything right down and increase the accuracy and this worked a treat.

Sewing Shirt Cuff Plackets

I sewed French seams, even on the armholes and am thrilled that the shirt is super neat, professional and the seams are strong inside and out. You can see how to sew these here.

French seams

Final thoughts

I absolutely love this shirt and had a ball making it. I would definitely make this pattern again, but would try leaving out the shoulder darts or would need to play around with the fit across the back a bit more next time.

Shopping List

Have fun sewing!


For more tips and tricks on how to make sewing easy you can follow our blog via Bloglovin and receive updates via email each time a new post is added.

Follow us on Facebook Twitter and Instagram for news, tutorials, special offers, sales and more.

© 2019 Sew Essential. All Rights Reserved.