Cotton Lawn Shirt – Burda Style 7136

It is months since I have sewn a garment. I can’t seem to run a knitting project along with sewing. The knitting takes over and time for sewing is shrunk.

I still have sewing plans going around my head and one thing I wanted to make was a shirt. I like making shirts and I hadn’t done one for a couple of years. I was after a cotton lawn fabric and after searching the net found a design I liked on sale at Ditto fabrics for £7.50 per metre. When I cut out the fabric I did notice that further into the piece the pattern started to slope downwards, in fact I had to cut out the back piece again, luckily I had enough fabric. Maybe this was why it was a bargain price?

I used a pattern that I have used a few times before, Burda Style 7136. I have tinkered with this pattern and slimmed it down a bit but it is a bog standard shirt pattern.

I don’t seem to have the cuff placket pattern piece anymore so I drafted a new one following this link, from Emm makes Patterns. It has turned out slightly wider than I imagined but at least I know how to draft one for next time. The instructions also have a link to the Colette website for clear info on sewing your cuff placket.

shirt cuff placket (1824 x 1368)

I did the usual shirt construction with a two layered yoke and flat felled side seams from cuff to body hem.

shirt inner yoke (1824 x 1368)

One thing I did change about my pattern was the collar shape. I’m always unsure of the collar shape, usually thinking it’s too ‘winged’. I took a look at the bird print shirt that I last made with this pattern and took off some of the collar point and I’m happy with the results.

When I came to the topstitching on this garment I used my new preferred  method of two threads in the needle. This way works so much better for me than the thicker topstitching thread or the extra strong thread that I had been using. I now find topstitching so much less stressful than before!

cotton lawn shirt


Cotton Bird Print Blouse, Burdastyle 7136

My autumn sewing plans got off to a slow start. The first item was going to be a denim skirt but the first draft of the pattern didn’t fit and I lost my enthusiasm to start again. It failed because I thought I could take a short cut……anyway, I moved on to the bird print cotton fabric to make up Burdastyle 7136. It’s a slightly slimmed down version of the pattern as the fit was great for a denim shirt I made but I also wanted a tighter fitting version.

birds not bats!

birds not bats!

The fabric was from Leon’s in Chorlton at £5.95 a metre, 100% cotton. I only bought 1.70mts and at 112cm wide it was a bit tight on the laying out. I had to use a plain white lawn for the inner yoke. Actually it was necessary as the print would have been visible through the outer yoke. One change I have made to the pattern is using a separate added on piece for the top front placket rather than just folding it back. I think this is a much better look.

My mood went up and down whilst making this. Firstly I thought it was beginning to look like a corporate uniform, the type of thing they wear down at the bank. Then the birds started to look more like bats.

The first time I attached the collar I thought I looked like Harry Hill. I took it off, having to re-cut the collar stand pieces, and trimmed the bottom edge of the collar taking 1.5cm off at the outer edges. If I had more fabric I would have re-made the collar and re-shaped the leaf edge towards the points. I need to remember to adjust the pattern permanently.

collar (2160 x 1620)

I then had a look at the Boden website to compare my shirt collar to RTW. I realised that actually my collar looks fine but what I needed in my life was a bright coloured skirt to wear with it. Nothing fancy, simple A line in Ponte Roma (Boden seem to use a lot of Ponte Roma). So the planned denim skirt is getting moved down the list of things to make.

I still wasn’t sure about it when I had finished I also felt that it looks ok with coloured trousers but not so great with dark jeans. I was out on Friday night and thought I’d go for it and see how it felt. I wore it with a light denim skirt I made early in the summer. This worked. I also rolled the sleeves up slightly. I was also able to say confidently ‘I made it’ when it got a compliment.

I was happy with the make up except for the collar stand. It looks Ok now it’s finished but I need to improve my technique here. I find getting a symmetrical shape at the front curves tricky. I flat felled the underarm and sleeve seams and I’m super fast at cuff plackets now.

cuff placket (1620 x 2160)

I didn’t have enough buttons for the cuff placket but I found that when I rolled the sleeves up they were a bit too loose so I’ve ordered some more.

I’ve previously used this slimmed down 7136 on these two checked shirts, here and here.

So, they are birds and not bats and I don’t look like I should be asking you to open a new current account.
One thing is that it is a bit of a b*gger to iron.

Autumn Sewing Plans

I am trying to focus my mind on what items of clothing I need to sew for this coming autumn and winter. I’ve been fabric shopping and have a bit of a plan.

From top: Black wool single jersey, navy and white yarn dyed stripe jersey, bird print cotton & navy denim

From top: Black wool single jersey, navy and white striped jersey, bird print woven cotton and dark navy denim

Denim fabric, £8.99 per metre from Leon’s Fabrics in Chorlton. 100% cotton with no stretch. This is to make an A line skirt with an inverted centre front pleat. It is to replace a Boden skirt that has nearly come to the end of its life. I’ve had it for 5 years and it is beginning to look shabby with a hole at the top of the pleat, ok for home but not for work anymore. It’s going to be a self draft pattern which I need to pull my finger out and do.

Bird fabric, £5.99 per metre is also from Leon’s Fabrics. Bright white with a small dark navy bird print. It’s a quilting cotton weight which I think is 100% cotton. I’m going to make a shirt based on Burdastyle 7136. After making two shirts earlier this year it’s taken a while to even think about making another one but at least there’s no matching of checks.

The striped jersey is going to be a Coco top from Tilly & the Buttons. I spent a long time searching for Breton stripe yarn dyed fabric (stripes knitted in rather than printed) and kept coming across Dragonfly Fabrics which Handmade Jane used when she made her dress version of the Coco but at £19.50 per metre I kept holding off. When Jane had a 10% discount code earlier in the summer I went for it. Considering I was so keen to get this fabric I’m surprised how long it’s taking me to get around to it. I thought I would have jumped on it when the fabric arrived but instead the pattern and fabric have been sitting in a bag for a couple of months. The overlocker is still out for fixing so this can be its first knit project when it comes home.

Sewaholic Renfrew, Tilly & the buttons Coco & Simplicity S1696

Sewaholic Renfrew, Tilly & the buttons Coco & Simplicity S1696

The black wool jersey comes from It was an impulse buy; I came across it when I was looking for cotton single jersey for the pyjama top. I was attracted by the sale price of £4 per metre so I ordered 1.5mts with plans to make a cowl neck long sleeve Renfrew. I think it’s going to need hand washing so I’ll need to take care to keep it looking its best.

I haven’t done any knitting for a while and to complete my range of hand knitted socks I need a darkish plain pair.  I love a self-patterning sock but sometimes you need a more sober pair to wear with trousers. I’ve chosen a grey so they will go with both navy and back trousers but will add a pop of hidden red at the cuff, heel and toe. I’ll knit the same pattern as the ‘Hermione everyday socks’ using a short row heel. I know, I don’t really push myself by trying any fancy patterns.

I’ve bought a red 20gm mini skein and 50gm for the main sock. I figured that when I usually knit myself socks from a 100gm ball I must have ¼ to 1/3 left over so 70gm overall should do it. I could be skimping it here…. What I think I need to do is split the balls equally in half and knit toe up…. You can’t skimp on foot length but a shorter leg length than usual isn’t a problem. I’ve never knitted toe up so could be time to learn. The yarn was from Five Moons. I found them when I googled ‘mini skein’. I just loved their range of plains and the colour descriptions.

The red mini skein is described as “A solid true red, strong and clear, the colour of pillar boxes, fire engines and peril”

When it arrived – super speedy next day – I received a bonus 5gm skein in pinky red.

hand painted yarn from Five Moons. It just looked so beautiful when I unwrapped the package!

Sock yarn from Five Moons. It just looked so beautiful when I unwrapped the package!

I haven’t made a pair of trousers for donkey’s years and I’ve never tried to sew a fly front zip so I’ve bought Simplicity pattern S1696 Amazing Fit. I’ve ordered some swatches of navy stretch cotton from Calico Laine. The trouser is a style that I know suits me so I hope I can get to grips with them and achieve a good looking well-fitting pair of trousers.

cotton stretch swatches from Calico Laine

cotton stretch swatches from Calico Laine

I think all of the above will keep my busy through to November, I also have plans for a long sleeve Lady Skater, fabric yet undecided. I need to actually get started……..

Any autumn sewing plans on the go?

Me Made May 14 – completed!

It’s the 31st May and I am pleased to say that for the last 31 days I have worn at least one ‘me-made’ item a day. I did start taking a photo everyday but there was a lot of repetition and frankly they were a bit boring.

Looking at the picture my me-made wardrobe seems quite limited. I do have a couple of dresses and a couple of blouses but they seemed ‘too dressy’ for everyday wear. I’m so glad I sorted out the Liberty jersey skirt, this got a few wears with the black Maria of Denmark Kimono tee.

all the items worn during May - only picture missing is of a black tee which I hadn't taken a photo of

all the items worn during May – only picture missing is of a black tee which I hadn’t taken a photo of

From top left
Socks Denim Shirt Burdastyle 7136 – Liberty Jersey SkirtSewaholic Renfrew top –  Maria of Denmark Kimono tee in greyChecked shirt Burdastyle 7136 – Denim dress Butterick B5600 – PJ bottoms –  Hermione’s everyday socksMaria of Denmark Kimono tee in redtartan shirt Burdastyle 7136

This month has shown up some gaps in my wardrobe. Mainly skirts and dresses. My next 3 projects are already planned and fabric has been bought for a denim skirt, a Kitschy Coo skater dress and a dress that I’m not quite sure what it will look like yet.

If you were taking part, how did you do?


Second (and final) checked Burdastyle 7136

checked shirt - headless (1359 x 1364)

Going straight into another checked shirt after the first one was a bit of a mistake, I found the first half of this slow going and did think about giving up. It’s the same slimmed down Burdastyle 7136 pattern that I used on the tartan shirt and the original pattern (un-slimmed) for this denim shirt.

The fabric was a bit of hard work, it was two layers of quite lightweight loosely woven fabric joined together by a teeny tack in 1″ spaces. This made pattern matching when cutting out more difficult as when cutting the second piece of a pair I’d have the plain reverse facing me.
lilac checked shirt (1620 x 2160)

I faffed around over the chest pockets for a while before deciding on just one and without a flap. I didn’t intend to use a button but when I was stitching the button holes for the front and cuffs the machine was behaving so well I pushed my luck with just one more.

With quite a big check I soon realised I needed to think about where the light stripe was sitting. When I first stitched the back yoke it looked a bit rubbish. So I took another 5mm seam allowance and covered the stripe and it looked much better. The sleeve head opening would be short by 1cm but all was fine and it wasn’t noticeable when I came to sew the sleeves in.

back yoke - first stitching line then re-stitched

back yoke – first stitching line then re-stitched to cover the light stripe

I wasn’t enjoying sewing this shirt at all. When I stitched the pocket on somehow I put it way too low so had to unpick which was really tricky as the fabric has quite a loose weave and the thread was a spot on colour match. You can’t see it on the outside but you can see needle holes on the inner fabric. So I took a few days off from it and decided to take a slowly. From then on things worked out ok. I broke it down into processes and took one at each sitting.
Sleeve plackets, insert sleeves, side seams, cuffs, collar, hem, buttonholes, buttons – finished!

I flat felled the underarm and side seams just as the last shirt which I am really pleased with and again I gave myself a 2cm seam allowance to work with. I nearly didn’t bother because I just wanted to get this done but glad I took the time.

flat felled side seam inside and outside

flat felled side seam inside and outside

The fabric was from My Fabrics which was on half price sale for £5.50 per metre, I now know why it was on sale as I wouldn’t buy it again – looks great when finished but hard work getting there.

My original inspiration was this shirt, and now I’ve sewn three I don’t feel I need to sew one for a very long time.
plaid shirt


Tartan Burdastyle 7136, Finished

front flat(1620 x 2160)

After a bit of painstaking pattern matching the tartan shirt is finished. I slimmed down the Burdastyle 7136 pattern to get a closer fit than this denim shirt and it’s worked out well.
tartan shirt wearing (1034 x 1544)

A real success for me was flat felling the underarm and side seams. I had the foresight to allow 2cm seam allowance otherwise I don’t think it would have worked so well with just 1.5cm. I stitched the seam as normal, right sides together, then after pressing trimmed one side of the seam allowance down. I folded the wider side over and under concealing all the raw edges.  I tacked the seam allowance down making sure all raw edges were enclosed and then top stitched two rows of stitching.

flat felled side seam - right side

flat felled side seam – right side

When I topstitched the underarm and side seams of the denim shirt I couldn’t manage to do it all in one line as the sleeve became too narrow. I tried a different method this time, instead of trying to fit the sleeve round the free arm I started at the hem and when I reached the underarm point I stitched up along the sleeve turning it inside out as I stitched and this way I got to the cuff without having to break off. Not sure that’s a great explanation; the picture may help a little bit.

top stitching the side / underarm seams

top stitching the side / underarm seams

 I shaped the back yoke which wasn’t entirely successful as I wanted a sharp point at the centre back. It didn’t quite work out and instead of a point it is a curve. I don’t think the loose weave of the fabric helped with this. I think next time I’ll go back to a straight yoke.
back hanging (1069 x 1426)

I was a bit unsure of the fabric to start with thinking it was a bit bright and resembled a picnic blanket. But It’s only when you get close up you can see the brighter colours. Also with the inside of the fabric being brushed it is really cosy.

I bought the pearl shank buttons from eBay and I used a red Gutterman topstitching thread, now I’ve mastered the whole topstitching thing (sort of!)

I’ve enjoyed making these two shirts but I find that the first half of the make goes really fast and you think the end is in sight but then the final half seems to take longer than expected and with 13 buttons and buttonholes the last mile is the hardest mile…

I’ve just started cutting out the lilac check fabric for another shirt and I did sigh at the thought of making the pockets and the pattern matching. I feel a bit ‘shirted’ out at the moment so I’ll take it slowly.


Tartan Burdastyle 7136, slimmed down, in progress….

The first make of 2014 is to be a checked shirt based on the Burdastyle 7136 pattern I used for this denim shirt I made last November.

fabric (1426 x 1069)

I bought two pieces of fabric, the brushed cotton tartan from Leon’s fabrics in Cholton for £4.75 per metre and the check from My fabrics online which was 1/2 price at £4.99 per metre. The pattern asks for 1.5mts of fabric but I was needing to match the pattern and cut some pieces on the cross/ bias I bought 2mts of each. I’ve chosen to make up the tartan first. I’ve been in two minds about this, I either like it or I think it looks like a picnic blanket.

I wanted to make a closer fitting shirt than the denim shirt so I slimmed the pattern down. I vertically took out 0.6cm from the centre back / front and 0.75 from half way along the shoulder seam. So on the whole shirt circumference I took out 5.4cm. To do this I drew a vertical line through the pattern piece and continued onto the paper for the new pattern piece. When tracing around the piece I stopped when I reached the point and moved the pattern the required amount and continued tracing. I had to make the same adjustments to the collar and collar stand pattern pieces.

a line drawn though the pattern piece and onto the paper underneath

a line drawn though the pattern piece and onto the paper underneath

move the original pattern piece the required amount and continue tracing

move the original pattern piece the required amount and continue tracing

I slimmed the waist down by 1cm at the side seams. For the sleeve I took out the 3cm extra length that I needed to cut off when I made the denim shirt and slimmed down the width by 1.5cm on each side. I made up a toile and found that I could take out more from the sleeve width but needed to add slightly to the hip width. Also because I wanted to flat fell the underarm and side seam I increased the seam allowance to 2cm to allow for this.

Cutting the fabric – matching checks
I wanted to be spot on with matching the checks. So each piece was cut on a single layer. I cut the first front piece I then used this as the pattern for the second piece, making sure it was a mirror image and matching up the pattern. When cutting out pieces that are usually cut on the fold like the yoke and back, I positioned then cut one half then repositioned the pattern and cut the other half.

cutting out pieces normally cut on the fold, position and cut around the first half

cutting out pieces normally cut on the fold, position and cut around the first half

after cutting first half reposition the pattern piece and cut the second half

after cutting first half reposition the pattern piece and cut the second half

I cut the pockets, pocket flaps, cuffs, yoke and right front placket on the bias / cross. To make sure the pocket flaps matched the patch pockets I made up the flaps first then positioned them on the fabric before cutting out the patches. I spent an unnecessary amount of time thinking about the best way to do this and it seemed to work out ok.

made up pocket flap positioned on fabric before cutting the patch

made up pocket flap positioned on fabric before cutting the patch

Positioning the pocket pattern piece before cutting out

Positioning the pocket pattern piece before cutting out

finished flap with cut out patch

finished flap with cut out patch

Anyway, so far so good…………..