Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sketchbook Shirt-A Tutorial part 1

I have completely lost track of how many Sketchbook shirts I have made.
I know it is quite a few.

Late last year Hugo's teacher had a baby boy and I wanted to make her something special as she is such a lovely girl.

Perfect excuse to make a teeny tiny big boys shirt and as little things are easier to photograph I thought I would share the oliver+s love.

NB There are a lot of steps to this garment and a lot of photos-my apologies.

Off we go possums
Stay stitch the necklines of the front and backs.
Don't miss this step,it is very useful later.
Following the pattern press the fold lines in on the shirt plackets.
If you are sewing a stripe use the lines as a fold guide.
Interface as directed.
I find this easier to do after pre-folding.
Re-press the folds.
Pin and sew the interfaced side of the placket to the shirt front wrong side.
Trim the seam.
Press the seam towards the placket.
Pin the folded edge of the placket just over the previous stitching line and sew in place.
Sew as near to the edge as you are able.
Repeat with the other side and then stitch closely to the placket edge.
Check that the two fronts are even and trim if needed.
Fold and press the pockets as directed in the instructions.
Sew the pocket edges and trim the corners.
I like to neaten the edges to prevent fraying.
Turn the pocket top,push the corners out gently,press and topstitch in place.
Fold the corners as directed.
Press well.
Position the pocket.
I find it easiest to lay the pattern over as a guide.
Pin and sew in place.
Starting and finishing with a right angled triangle will make for a sturdy pocket and give a professional result.
As directed baste the back pleat.
Open this pleat and press it flat. 
Baste in place.
Lay the back piece on the right side of one of the yoke pieces.
Lay the other yoke,right side down,on top.
The back should be sandwiched between the two yokes.
Pin and sew together.
Press the seam allowances towards the yoke.

Following directions pin the right side of the front to the right side of the back.
You will only be pinning and sewing ONE yoke piece at this time.
Fold the other out of the way.
Press the seams towards the yoke.
Take the loose yoke piece and pin it RIGHT side towards the previous sewn seam.
It will wrap around the the front and side pieces.
When pinned the bulk of the shirt will be out towards the neck opening.
Sew the seam and repeat with the other yoke to shoulder seam.
Again,place the bulk of the fabric through the neck opening to keep it out the way while stitching the seam.
Pull the shirt through.
Press well and top stitch the seam.
I like to top stitch the back yoke seam too.
Cut a collar shape from interfacing and then trim the seam allowances from it.
Save these pieces.
They are great for stabilising shoulder seams when sewing with knits.
Now we take a little turn on the path.
This is my method for applying the collar.
Mark the 'seam' where the collar and neck stand would meet and cut along this line.
Trim a scant strip from the collar piece.
Apply the interfacing leaving a narrow gap between the two pieces of interfacing.
This will emphasise the collar fold.
Clip up to but not through the basting stitching.
Pin the right side of the non interfaced collar piece to the WRONG side of the shirt neck line.
Pin from the middle outwards-opening up the clipped seam as needed.
I tend to sew from the topside as it is easier to avoid tucks this way.
Sew,gently straightening the seam as you do.
Feel free to hand baste this seam first.
Check for tucks and then trim the seam back.
Press the seam allowance towards the collar.

Baste a fold line 3/8ths (just less then the seam allowance)along the bottom edge of the interfaced collar.
Fold and press along this line.
Pin the collars together.
I find it helpful to draw my stitching line.
Please note that you may sew this greater or less than the recommended seam allowance.
The important thing is that it fits the neckline.
Sewing the yoke and shoulder seams just a tiny bit out can add up to a bit amount at this step.
Sew the collars together.
As you reach the collar point,reduce your stitch length(1.5) and sew 2 stitches ACROSS the point.
This will help create a nice point.
After sewing,compare the collar stitching.
Mine was a wee bit out(see the green chalk)so I restitched it.
Much better.
Trim the collar.
Cut the corners off almost to the stitching.
Using a collar point turn the collar and G E N T L Y poke the corners out.
Be careful or you will poke through!
And then you will cry(or swear)
Finger press and the press well.
Pin the centre back and front edges first.
If you find a little bit of seam wants to poke out here hand baste it before topstitching.
Press,ease and pin the collar in place covering the previous stitching.
Ready to sew.
I like to sew from the centre back.
This may not be correct but I find it the best way as it can require a little stretching and easing while sewing this section.
If the stitching begins at the collar front edge I find it stretches out of shape.
I find stitching over tissue paper makes the much easier and far less chance of your machine eating the collar points.
Remove the tissue and press well.
Really really well.
Fold along the gap in the interfacing and press the fold in place.
Pin the crease and then sew along it.

This stitch line will help create the look of a two piece collar.
The finished collar
Much less work than a two piece collar and it looks just as good in my humble opinion.

I think I need a cup of tea!
Possibly a pot!

Next up-The sleeves!

x N


  1. I started one a few weeks ago, but got confused when pinning the yokes aside and got distracted with other projects. This makes me think I need to pull it back out. Thanks for taking the time to do this!!

  2. Ahhh, you are a genius, Nicole! Your collar method is fab - every time I do a collar, I end up having to take it off, and shortening it up so it fits - this will be my chosen method from now on! Thank you :-)

  3. I always learn something from your posts. Positioning the front pocket was genius and so simple. Thanks for a lovely, helpful post!

  4. The finished shirt will make a lovely gift!

  5. I just made my first sketchbook shirt--love your ideas!

  6. Thank you all so much,I am so pleased it was helpful.

    I must get onto part 2,finishing the shirt.

    x N

  7. Going to try this thank you so much