Helen Shaw

Thursday 10 June 2021: Helen Shaw’s sewing journey encompasses making a classic white shirt.

Helen recently wrote a guest post for Sewover50 about her shirt making journey.

Helen has continued to make shirts and you’ll be surprised by the type of sewing learning she did before she attempted making her very first classic white shirt.

You can follow Helen’s sewing journey at her Instagram account Sosewshaw. Her joyful sewing journey continues.

“Last September @sewover50 posted about shirt making and although I said in the comments that I’d love to make a classic shirt, at the time it felt highly ambitious. Fast forward six months and here we are, my first very wearable shirt (pic 1).
I wanted to make a shirt because being a #fullbustsewist it’s hard to find RTW that fits well. The sensible me said it was beyond me. But if you don’t challenge yourself, how do you know what you are capable of?!

I looked for a pattern which had all the classic elements including collar stand and tower sleeve placket. To make it a bit easier, I wanted the option of different cup sizes. It was also important to me to have clear instructions. So I chose the @lieslandco classic shirt.
I started my shirt making adventure with a toile (pic 2) before cutting into some denim from @fabricsforall. I took it slowly, following the instructions carefully. I loved the experience of trying to be as accurate as I could with my cutting, stitching, and pressing. It’s tempting to say this about every new successful project, but this really is my proudest make so far even though I know it’s not perfect! I’ve already made a second shirt from a crisp cotton which I also love (pic 3). I have some check fabric for a third.

If you are tempted to give shirt making a go, this is what I found useful:
· Do your research and choose a style you want to wear. There are so many good looking patterns. Some have darts, some don’t, some have princess seams, some are over-sized, some are cropped… @sewover50 has a good list in their highlights.
· There are lots of pieces (so many!) some of which look similar so mark them or keep them pinned to the pattern until you need them. Mark one side of the fabric if it looks similar on both sides.
· Transfer all the markings and do the basting stitches where instructed. It will make it possible to match and sew the pieces accurately.
I know I still have a lot to learn, so let me know your tips for shirt making on my Instagram account.

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