Friday, January 24, 2020

Plaid flannel shirt and a fabric flub

Organizing my fabric stash can be blamed for this fabric pairing which didn't turn out quite how I expected. Along with a lot of other people I decided to reorganize my fabric, see what I actually had accumulated and perhaps get rid of some stuff. To my surprise I found this plaid flannel which I think was purchased last year at the same time, at Joann's when they had one of their typical super discount days. I do like the colors and it's really soft and cozy, however I think my pattern choice took me in the wrong direction. But I have rescued it somewhat and I will wear it.

This is the final version but it started out with a bit more ruffle than you see.

plaid flanned shirt 2

Plaid flannel with neck ruffle1

This is how it looked on it's first "finish". I got the bright idea to use the fabric selvedge on the edge of the ruffle parts, so they didn't need hemming or finishing. Which was fine, but this fabric is quite thick so not really suitable for this pattern. The recommended fabrics are things like chiffon, silk, etc. lightweight fabrics that will gather softly.  While we are here let's not mention my wonky edge on the back where you can see the white stripe of the lower back peeking of the yoke bottom. I didn't notice the misalignment until it was all finished and I took the pictures. At that point I thought about opening the yoke and fixing that but at this point I am done. And maybe it's fine to have some imperfections (especially in the back where I don't have to see them :)

Here's the pattern photo, this is Burda December 2019 # 101.  Her hair is obscuring the neck ruffle detail (grrr, why with the poses that don't permit us to see details?). but it sure looks like a lightweight fabric, perhaps a voile.
Burda blouse Dec 2019

Anyway I tried it on and just was annoyed by the neck ruffle, it wasn't really itchy but kind of poking my neck if that makes sense. Also the front ruffle makes the front a bit stiff - not a deal breaker but noticeable.  So yesterday I just got out my snippy scissors and opened up the top seam of that neck band, removing the neck ruffle. I call those my snippy scissors - they probably have a real name but I cannot sew without them - I have about 5 pairs, all that type of squeeze snip. The new ones are super sharp, almost too sharp but I've learned to be more careful. I never use a seam ripper but just snip the threads with those if I have to remove stitching.

plaid flannel removing ruffle

And then once the ruffle was removed I pulled out all the stray threads with what I think is called a "self-locking forceps or hemostat"  Also indispensable  - can't sew without that either. (If I ever lose the 2 pairs that I have I will order more, there seem to be lots on Amazon.)  Then I hand stitched the top back closed, with a little artful adjustment at the center front. Which I'm not 100% pleased with but I've had enough with this shirt.

plain flannel close up front

plaid flannel shirt with blazer

Now that I've taken the neck ruffle off it's way more comfortable to wear, feels like a tunic top really. Plus it coordinates with my new blazer so there is that.

The other change I made was to add a strip of elastic at the waist in the back. It seemed really shapeless and due to the fabric didn't have the flowy look that might be better for a shirt like this. So I added the elastic to give a bit of shaping. I also took it in at the side seams about an inch at the waist tapering out to zero at the hip for a more fitted shirt.

plaid flannel shirt side view
plaid flanned back1

I gathered the sleeves into the cuffs which are a bit wider than the pattern specified. I never use pattern pieces for cuffs, I just make what feels right for the style and fabric. The sleeves are a bit long for my ultra short arms but I like cuffed sleeves to be on the long side, sometimes I wear with turned back cuffs.

plaid flannel shirt 4

plaid flanned button cuff

And buttons - they seem to be making me crazy lately. As I've mentioned they used to stock a nice selection at Joann's but now it's so may plastic-y crafty buttons. What do people do with those, glue them in scrapbooks or something? sheesh. Anyway, I needed 10 buttons and I had 9 matching. The one on the bottom is one of those 9 and then I just rummaged until I found a reasonably similar blue button, sewed it on and called it a day. I don't care that much about one small button and it's certainly not worth making a shopping trip for that. Plus use up what you have! that is definitely one of my sewing mottos.

So that's one fabric out of the stash - not the best result but hey - it's wearable and it's warm! Up next I'm finishing that lovely silk shirt shown at the end of my previous post and then I think I will make a coat. I haven't made a coat for myself in a few years and I have some gorgeous cherry red wool from Mood that needs to be a coat by February!

Red wool from Mood

Next weekend is my Jacket Tailoring Workshop Fri pm and Sat/Sun. Which is always fun for me and I look forward to seeing what people make. Although we didn't know when we scheduled it that the SF 49'ers would be playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday!!  Being on the west coast the game starts late so I likely see most of it.

plaid flannel shirt 3

Happy January Sewing,

spring is coming - the first daffodil appeared this week 😀

First daffodil 2020


  1. The shirt looks lovely on you! I loved the sewing tips of using elastic in the back. One of my new favorite sewing tips.

  2. Pity about the model's hair obscuring the neck ruffle but you made it work for you in the end. Flannel shirts are tricky with their bulk and checks or plaids meant to be matched. Adding that back elastic certainly makes it fit better and flattering under jackets! the red wool!!!!

  3. Yes with the buttons! What is the deal with all those bulk packages of plastic buttons? What do people do with them? Scrapbooking? Cardmaking? I miss having a nice selection of buttons to choose from.

  4. It turned out so well even though it was a very windy road. I LOVE THE COLOR!

    That red fabric is amazing. Can't wait to see it.

    My jacket is awaiting final bits of hand sewing. I'd better get back at it before jackets from this latest class start popping up :-p

  5. Elizabeth HutchingsFebruary 5, 2020 at 1:36 PM

    Beth, I love this shirt, so cosy and feminine. I think it really suits you and I think it would suit me too. In fact, I think I'll copy it!