New Pattern and a Plaid Shirt

Like me, my mom sews a lot. She makes tops and dresses, but what she is most interested in sewing right now are button-front shirts. She makes them for my dad, my brother, and even gorgeous ones for herself using beautiful repurposed scarves and elegant details. Unlike me, she is much more detail-oriented and her shirts are just perfect. Hand-stitched cuffs and collars, perfectly matched button plackets across the front, and beautiful technique throughout. They are a thing of envy. 

As someone who also loves sewing a good shirt, it is fun to pick her brain for tips on sewing. Did she attach that collar stand by hand? Were the plackets cut on the bias? We could talk about this for hours, leaving everyone else in the house scratching their heads (or rolling their eyes).

Pattern: Victoria Jones's Waimea Ranch Shirt
Fabric: 2 yds cotton flannel
Cost: free from fabric swap

But today's pattern provided me with a completely different source of knowledge and inspiration for shirt sewing. The Waimea Ranch Shirt from Victoria Jones patterns, which you may have seen featured on Pattern Review, is so full of amazing shirt-making techniques and knowledge that I even brought it home to show mom.  

Victoria herself sent it over to me to try out and I am just now getting back into regular sewing and had the chance to make it up. While I have sewn many shirt patterns, what made this one special was the beautifully written instructions. In many indie patterns this means that they hold your hands through all the "omg so hard" bits, but in this case you can really tell that Victoria has thought through each technique to give you the best finish possible. My absolute favorite detail were the instructions for partially machine stitching the last step when attaching the collar and stand. It took a little practice to get right, but the results are beautiful and much more professional looking. I have even used it on a few shirt since!

The fit of the shirt is designed as loose, easy to wear camp or gardening shirt. For those that love the Grainline Archer shirt, this is a similar fit. However, unlike the Archer, this shirt has some built-in shaping, such as a rotated dart disguised by the front of the yoke and some fish-eye darts in the back. The result is a relaxed shirt without drag lines or other fitting problems. For those who prefer a closer fit shirt, many of the techniques I learned here can be applied to other patterns. 

The not-so-fun part of the shirt was my fabric. It was horribly off grain, which is just a disaster when you are trying to match buffalo plaid. Luckily, the print hides the utter wonkiness, but the yoke is much higher on one side than the other in the front and I had to hem it a bit too short for my taste (the pattern as drafted is actually a bit longer). Luckily the shirt pattern was forgiving, or else all this learning may have been for naught. 

I also got to add in some contrasting blue double gauze bits, which make me happy when I wear it :)

They say it is spring now but we have had (much needed) rain for weeks and I have a cold, so I will continue to snuggle up in my plaid flannel until we get some sun!


  1. I like your shirt! It's casual but still has shape. Thanks for the pattern recommendation. I'm off to investigate.

  2. even though the fabric gave you trouble the end result is worth it. really nice.


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