Monday, May 12, 2014

Another Sketchbook Shirt for L

 Pattern: Sketchbook Shirt by Oliver + S
Fabric: 100%  linen, natural color
Notions: coordinating thread (off-white), interfacing, 10, 4-hole buttons
Size: 2T

Modifications of note: Added tabs/straps to sleeves to easily hold rolled sleeves up

Another Sketchbook Shirt for L but what can I say? I love this pattern and the results are always so beautiful. It can either look fancy or relaxed and don't little boys look so cute in dress shirts? This is the fourth one I make, but he has outgrown the two from last year.

This time I chose to work with a 100% linen. Although I find linen to be exquisitely beautiful and its quality of softening through wear and washing fantastic, I have not had the chance to work with it very much. So, this was a great opportunity to learn about working with linen.

The linen I chose has a slightly looser weave which meant that as I would stitch it, it would sometimes stretch out a little bit, with one layer stretching out more than the other. Pinning helped but what seemed to work best for me (while still pinning heavily) was to slip a piece of tissue paper underneath my fabric, between the fabric and the needle plate. That really seemed to limit the stretching as it allowed the fabric to travel easily, especially with the edgestitching of the button band, which otherwise, wanted to distort itself. I'm very happy with the result but if you have any suggestions on some good ways to stabilize linen, I'm all ears!

Because I was working with linen (hello, fraying!) I wanted robust seams at the shoulders and side seams, which meant flat felling. All the other seams are already neatly encased and hidden away. For my flat felled seams, I increased the seam allowances on those edges to 5/8" and because the linen presses so beautifully (I used the high temperature linen setting on my iron and steam) it was easy to do and gave an incredibly smooth and crisp finish.

The pattern was a dream to work with, as always. The fiddliest bit, as usual, was the sleeve placket, but that too went well. I really took my time stitching it, taking just a few stitches at a time as I got closer to the bunches of fabric at the top of the slash line, readjusting, moving excess fabric out of the way, a few stitches, moving fabric, stitching...I'm happy to say no puckers!

I did not put a pocket this time for two reasons. The first is that I was concerned about how the linen would do as a patch pocket because it might not hold its shape as well. The second is purely aesthetic. I wanted the shirt to be very neat, refreshing, and simple.

I drafted a tab piece to help hold up the rolled sleeve, which I attached to the wrong side of the sleeve, and on the corresponding point on the right side of the sleeve, I attached a button. After all, he's a toddler and loves to have his hands and wrists free of contraints to play. I have no illusions. I know that this shirt won't remain in its pristine state and that shortly, lovely little touches of pink, blue, green, and brown (to name a few) will inevitable adorn it and liven it up!

I really enjoyed making this shirt. I took my time but it came together in a jiffy and I am thrilled with how the fabric made up. It's just what I wanted. Airy, summery, comfortable. The buttons are simple but catch the light just enough to be interesting. I think I'd like to use these buttons for something for me too. I have about 2 yards of this linen left and I was hoping I could make a lightweight summer jacket for me out of the remaining material. Any suggestions for a pattern?

Ah yes, I nearly forgot, but because the linen looks exactly the same on right sides and wrong sides and all the seam allowances are neatly hidden away, I kept having to check which side I was working on. I can tell you, I gave myself quite a few frights when it came to trimming for seams! Wait, did I just sew and trim my seam on the incorrect side?, it's ok! Carry on!

And a Me-Made-May update: I am very proud to announce that I have worn one self-made garment every single day so far! 


  1. Cute shirt - I love the Sketchbook pattern (I just finished making my grandsons shirts from it) and I love working with linen! As far as a jacket for yourself, have you checked out any of the Japanese pattern books? They have some really cute jackets. Also Pinterest has a ton of ideas - I found one a few weeks ago that has a free pattern and tutorial at I'm thinking of making it for my daughter, but I haven't tried it out yet.

    1. Thanks, Mardee! I completely agree with you, the Sketchbook Shirt is such a wonderful pattern.
      Thank you for your great suggestions for the jacket. I've looked through the Japanese pattern books that I currently own but didn't find anything that jumped out at me. A trip to the fabric store to check out all the other wonderful Japanese pattern books they have there is definitely in order! I visited your link to the tutorial seems like a good starting point and base pattern to build on, so I'll keep it in mind.