Friday, September 27, 2013

Advanced Means Advanced: The Henry Shirt


This is my version of The Henry Shirt from the book Sewing For Boys.  This is my first project from the book and I think it was a big success even though I almost wasn't smart enough to figure out certain steps of the pattern.  I am not an advanced sewer.  When I saw the pattern was marked as advanced I thought, "How hard can a shirt possibly be?" Everything was smooth sailing until I got to the steps attaching the yoke and sleeves.  I sat and stared at this shirt FOREVER to try to figure out how to put it together.  I'm including pictures and details for attaching the yoke and sleeves at the end of this post to help out anybody else who might be struggling while reading this! I'm not a sewing teacher.  It's just what worked for me.
The main fabric is a 2010 Alexander Henry called "Crayon Commute."  I purchased it at Sarah's Fabrics and unfortunately I bought the last of it.  I also purchased the gingham fabric at Sarah's.  Both are quilting weight cottons but they are such a nice weight that the shirts turned out to look and feel really sharp. 

Somebody didn't want to smile for pictures but I'm not naming names.  The shirts are pretty boxy so I think they will look best over jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  It's not jeans weather today so we're in shorts.

I like the box pleat in back.

And the contrast fabric on the sides.

Checking out his cars!

Now for the construction details.  I used French seams to attach the back and front panels to the sides.  I like how you can barely see the seams when you look inside the shirt. The shirts are so boxy that instead of the 3/8 inch seam the pattern calls for I used a 1/2 inch seam which made each part of the French seam 1/4 inch.

This is when stuff got tricky.  This is what Step 15 looks like.  Honestly I was so confused that I couldn't figure out what the underarm seam was.  Should I admit that?

You start in the center back and sew out to each sleeve instead of sewing in one continuous loop so I am just showing one side. Start by matching up the center seam on the yoke with your pleat seam.  Put a couple of pins in for a few inches but stop when you get close to the shoulder and look at the next picture.
Turn your sleeve inside out to get the right side of this point on the yoke (marked with the pencil)
To match the right side of this point on the main body of your shirt (marked with pencil)
Pin those two points together (right sides together). Then I tucked the sleeve inside the side panel so that the right side of the sleeve seam matched up with the bottom of the V on the side panel.
Pin the right side of the sleeve seam to the bottom of the V.  Now that you have those two points pinned, you should be able to see clearly where to put the rest of your pins in between the pins you've already used and start sewing. These are the best pictures I could get of the finished product.

Figuring out how to attach the lining is much easier because you start again at the center back and just follow your original stitching line with shirt body between the outer yoke/sleeve and the yoke/sleeve lining.  I had a terrible time figuring out how to sew in one continuous line so this is my best advice: Stitch from the center back to the underarm seam.  Then twist your fabric into a jumbled mess by pulling the sleeves in opposite directions to get right sides together for the rest of the sleeve. And yes this is the best picture I could get!   
Keep at it if you are a beginner/advanced beginner/ intermediate sewer like me because the end results are cute.  I picked up some cheap buttons at WalMart that I thought were perfect for this shirt. And I don't think they look cheap.

Overall I'm happy with this shirt.  There are no exposed seams inside and the construction details are really nice once you get the hang of it.  Happy sewing!

1 comment:

  1. You should try a Scientific Seamstress pattern - -she has 2 shirt patterns that real real winners! Great directions and there is a "support group" on Facebook if you get stuck.