Category Archives: Shirts/Blouses

Kwik Sew 3146 Pattern Review

It’s finally finished!!!  Thor’s camp shirt.  I just posted the review at  Here it is with a few more pictures… 

Thor, God of Thunder, in his new camp shirt


Pattern Description:  Toddlers’ shirts have collar with collar stand, yoke, front placket with button closure, and shirt-tail hemline.  View A has long sleeves with buttoned cuffs and breast pocket.  View B has short sleeves and breast pocket.  View C has western-style yokes, long sleeves with buttoned cuffs, and front pockets with buttoned flaps.  I made view B. 

Pattern Sizing:  T1-T4 — I made a T2 for my nephew Thor; he just turned two.  It’s a little big on him, but I think that’s fine for this kind of shirt and he’s got room to grow. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  YES! 

Were the instructions easy to follow?   The instructions were very easy to follow. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?   

LIKES: I thought the collar/stand instructions were great and made for a great looking collar.  I am really proud of my first collar and stand!!!  

my FIRST collar with stand!


Even David Coffin thought so.  Really!  We’re FB friends and when I posted a picture of the collar and stand he commented, “Nice collar.”  I was blown away!  In my shirtmaking research I did read David Coffin’s book on shirtmaking from cover to cover.  I thought it was fantastic and it definitely helped me with this project.  The Kwik Sew method for making a clean finish on the yoke was also great.  

DISLIKES: I didn’t like the tiny seam allowances which did not allow for flat felled seams at all.  1/4 inch SA’s???  You can’t even serge them to finish them off.  I accidentally serged off part of one of the sleeves.  It was minor and I was able to fix it, but it could have been a disaster.  I ended up overcasting with my sewing machine to patch some sections. 

Fabric Used:  I bought what I thought was a plain cotton gingham fabric, but when I got it home, I noticed it had some stretch.  I just assumed it was 100% cotton because why would anyone add lycra to gingham shirting?  I just don’t understand it.  However, it didn’t really affect anything with the making of the shirt.  Because of the regularity of the print/weave of the fabric, I cut all the pattern pieces in a single layer to match up the print as much as possible.  While they were cut precisely to match, it was a little difficult to maintain the matching of the gingham at the machine.  I think it will take much more practice and maybe the use of my walking foot, but I’ll get there.  This was my first time really trying to match such a pattern. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I didn’t make any real alterations, but I did change construction order and used some different techniques.  

I did not interface the pocket as I didn’t think it was necessary.  The instructions would have you hem the shirt before you sew the side seams, but I think that’s crazy.  I waited until after I had sewn them.  I guess I’m no longer a beginner now if I am disagreeing with pattern instructions!  On the other hand, the instructions also have you sew up the sleeves before you hem them, but it’s really hard to hem tiny little sleeves.  I didn’t think of this before I sewed them up, so I was forced to hem them after they were sewn.  But if I had sewn up the T1 size, I don’t think I could have hemmed the sleeves on the machine; I would have had to sew them by hand.  Another change I made to the pattern was to use pearl snaps instead of buttons.  I just thought it was a neater look and more child friendly.  I loved it.  And an embellishment I added was to use freezer paper stencil (tutorial here) to create a red thunderbolt on the back of the shirt for a more urban feel.  Thor’s name means God of Thunder, so it was very a propos and he loved it. 

painting over the freezer paper stencil I cut


finished thunderbolt (three paint layers)


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely make it again, but next time, I will add more to the seam allowances so I can make flat felled seams.  Why not?  You’ve already gone to the trouble to make a real collar and stand.  Why wouldn’t you also want flat felled seams as well?  Also next time, I will only interface half the placket as I felt it was too stiff after all the layers are sewn together.  It could have been that my interfacing was too stiff, but I still think halving the interfacing would be better.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone, even beginners, as long as they take their time and really understand the directions. 

Conclusion:  I love this pattern.  I think it makes a great and professional looking shirt due to the great collar/stand and yoke instructions.  


In other sewing news, I just muslined the bodice for Vogue’s DVF wrap dress knockoff, 8379.  I will start cutting out the real fabric tomorrow.  Wish me luck please.

Happy sewing everyone!


Lots of progress!

Wow, either I am getting better at this sewing thing or this is just a speedy project.  After all it is a teeny tiny little shirt.  Did I mention that it was small too?  Tonight I assembled the collar and stand.

Then I attached it.

Then I attached the sleeves and sewed up the side seams.

Thank you for all your kind comments and suggestions on my last post about the matching.  I actually feel a lot better about my matching today.  Sometimes you just need some time to get some perspective.  Right?

I changed the order of construction a little bit.  (Aren’t I all grown up now?)  The instructions said to sew the shirt hem before sewing up the side seams and I thought that was silly.  Of course, now that I am typing this, I am worrying that I got too cocky and maybe should have followed the letter of the law.  Oh well, I can’t worry about it now.   😉

I still have to have to serge the side seam SA’s, make the buttonholes, attach the buttons, and hem the sleeves and bottom of the shirt.  I actually feel pretty confident that I can do all that Friday night.  Am I nuts???

Some more pics just because I can…

check out that pattern matching with the pocket!

my FIRST collar with stand!

I do have an idea to add an embellishment to the shirt, but it’s a secret as I think my sister reads my blog sometimes.  If she doesn’t she’s in big trouble.  Hahahaha!

Happy sewing everyone!

P.S.  Carolyn pointed out to me that I neglected to mention the store that was having a great sale in NYC.  It’s P&S Fabrics on Broadway below Canal and above Worth.  I’m a dork.  What can I say?

Progress on Kwik Sew 3146

I may have mentioned this already, but I had jury duty this week.  My first time ever, and I wasn’t even asked to serve.  I only sat there and read sewing/crafting books.  Poor me, right?  😉 

One of the books I read was David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking.  It’s a great resource and you should definitely own this book if you ever consider making shirts.  It was highly read-able.  I have a tendency to fall asleep with technical books and I didn’t fall asleep once with this book.  I took some notes while I was reading of things I was surprised to find out among other things: 

  • Iron your shirting fabric, don’t just press it.  Stretch it out in the same direction as the selvedges.
  • Use sew in interfacing not fusible since you wash shirts often.
  • Use a flat fell foot for superior flat fell seams.
  • Insert arms flat and then sew side seams.
  • Match the lightest thread color present in your shirting for your thread.

The first point is something Thea had already mentioned to me when I had problems with my Alhambra clover print fabric.  The sewing the arms flat first thing was a surprise to me as well as the match the lightest thread color.  And actually I disagreed with that last point for my specific fabric print.  I, unfortunately, do not own a flat fell foot as it did not come with my machine, but will consider getting one for the future.  But fortunately, my little boy’s shirt pattern does not require flat felled seams as the seam allowances are only a 1/4 inch, much too small for a flat fell seam finish.  

I had my sewing lesson with Thea last night and we started work on the shirt.  When I cut out the fabric, I cut in a single layer so as to match the print as much as possible.  I am using a check fabric, or is it gingham?  I can’t see what the difference is between the two.  But despite my careful cutting, I still did not get a perfect match.  I’m kind of bummed about that.  The feed dogs just didn’t want me to match I guess.  Not sure what else I can do to counteract this, except to whip out the walking foot.  Any suggestions?   I pinned the heck out of it.  

Matching fronts, left and right, with button placket


back yoke seam, almost matching


As for thread choice, I went with a navy thread even though David Coffin suggests white when white is present.  I just thought it blended better.  Here’s my test swatch. 


So far I have interfaced the parts that needed interfacing, the collar and stand, and the button hole placket.  I used Pam Erny’s interfacing.  I really like her interfacing but can’t speak to competitor stuff as hers is the only kind I have ever used.  For the placket, I probably should have cut the interfacing in half because you double the placket over itself, thereby doubling the interfacing and it became too stiff.  Live and learn. 

I opted not to interface the pocket and am pretty proud of my placement.  It’s perfectly matching on one side, and just a little off on the other.  The topstitching isn’t too bad either, but again, not perfect. 

pocket placement


That’s where I left off last night.  I have to attach the yoke to the fronts now.  Working on that tonight.  Wish me luck! 

Happy sewing everyone.

New Patterns!

Still at my parents.  We stopped at Joann’s today because I mistakenly thought there was a Simplicity pattern sale.  Not. Oh well.  I still bought my long list of patterns (except the OOP ones of course). One of the major holes in my burgeoning pattern collection is tops. So I stocked up on a few of those.

Ok, I snuck a dress in there.  I also bought a few Burdas!  All dresses naturally.  😉

Burda 7696

Burda 7628

Burda 7636

I’m excited about these patterns, but don’t know when I will get to them.  I’m just really wishing I could sew right now.  *sigh*

I also bought my first vintage patterns thanks to Carolyn’s prompting. I will post them once they’re in my hot little hands.

Happy sewing every0ne!

Mini Sew Along

Saturday surprises and a rare weekend posting from me!  Well, not exactly surprises since I was expecting them; I received two fabrics today.  One in the mail, and another from a friend and fellow sewist.  First the mailed fabric:  I bought some cotton shirting from Reprodepot the other day.  It’s a cowboy theme to go along with the indian buttons I bought off Etsy the other day too.  I think they’ll look cute together.  Now I just need to find a simple little boy shirt pattern.  Hmmm…

cowboy cotton shirting

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack

Indian buttons for a shirt for Jack


The other fabric is for a mini sew along with my friend Tanya.  She emailed me the other day asking if I wanted her fabric.  It was a stretch cotton and I think she wanted a plain cotton, no stretch.  She had 6 yds of it!  I don’t know what she was planning to make with it, but I told her I would be happy to take 3 yds off her hands.  Tanya suggested that we have a sew along using the same fabric and see what we both come up with the 3 yds each. I thought that was a fun idea. 

So what should I do with this?

floral stretch cotton

I’m thinking a simple summer unlined sheath dress.  Pattern suggestions?

Happy sewing!

One fat mess

First, some blog business before the actual post:  I haven’t uploaded pics yet to my last post.  Sorry the holiday weekend got away from me.  I promise to update it soon.

I forced myself to face my intimidation of the single fold bias tape last night.  I’ve been procrastinating thinking about the process of sewing the last week or so, hence the lack of sewing posts of late.  I’ve had the muslin cut out for about two weeks for the Spring Top sew along and it’s been glaring at me accusatorily from the dining room table ever since.  The pattern calls for single fold bias tape to make a casing for the elastic so that the neckline and hemline are elasticized.  See picture below…

HP 101 No Sweat Easy Sew Bubblelicious Top and Skirts

HP 101 No Sweat Easy Sew Bubblelicious Top and Skirts

My question is why use bias tape to encase the elastic when you could use the fabric?  I am using this pattern not only to create a top for me to wear, but also to learn to sew, to increase my skillset.  So I am going to do the muslin exactly as the pattern says to sew it.  However, I reserve the right to change it on the final fashion fabric version later (try saying that last part 10 times fast). 

Back to last night’s adventure…  I read the instructions for the bias tape attachment.  Of course they didn’t make sense at all to me until I had read them about 40 times, but who’s counting?  The first thing I notice is that they have you stitch the crease of the bias tape to the seam line (5/8 seam allowances) and then have you trim the excess seam allowance.  Why not properly size the pattern so you don’t have to trim?  Seems like an unneccessary step to me.  Can anyone tell me why?  So I obediently in a dog-like manner (no offense to dogs), pin my bias tape crease a 5/8 inch away from the edge of the muslin and go to my Singer 5160.  I have black thread in the bobbin and needle, but who cares; it’s a muslin, right?  I check my stitch and tension settings and rethread my needle just in case.  And I start to sew.  Well, except that my needle jumps to the side about 2 inches into my line of stitching.  Why you ask?  Well just take a look…one-fat-mess

That hot mess, my friends, is what my sewing machine wants to produce.  That’s what comes from the bobbin thread.  I checked my bobbin several times.  I changed the tension.  I rethreaded.  I prayed to unnamed gods.  I watched tv.  I took a sip of coke.  I had some parmesan cheese (did I mention my addiction to parmesan cheese yet?).  I rethreaded again and played with the tension for the sheer fun of it again.   And nothing worked!!!!!

Why can’t I just go to the sewing machine and sew?  Why is it I am always troubleshooting?  This might be a serious killjoy for me.  Is it the machine?  Or is it user error?  Should I get a new machine?  Is the Singer 5160 a piece of junk?  I searched on PatternReview for a review of it and couldn’t find any. 

What do the people say?

We interrupt this program…

Ok, I know that I said, previously, that this blog would primarily deal with sewing.  But something happened over the weekend while we were at Barnes and Noble.  I saw the new Spring 2009 Interweave Knits magazine.  The cover sweater is rather lackluster, but the patterns inside were actually pretty good.  There were several things that I wanted to make for myself.  So, I guess I got my knitting mojo back.  I stopped at Purl in Soho for some yarn, a beautiful wool/silk blend in cream and I cast on for this beautiful shrug


Of course, since I was in the neighborhood, I had to check out the Purl fabric store (it’s just a couple of storefronts north of the yarn store).  I want to make blouse with some gauzy fabric.  I haven’t yet picked out the pattern, so if any of you have any suggestions, let me know…  The exact fabric I bought is not in the online store, but here is a sampling of similar prints and weight.  The fabric I bought is a cream background with delicate purple flowers.  Purple is my “pavorite” color.  (fyi: my 3-yr-old niece says pavorite instead of favorite, so we all say it now.)

Coming blog attractions:  a post on my current fabric stash and one on my next sewing project, vaguely referenced above.  Gotta keep my sewing chops and mojo going too!  The knitting is just to keep me busy on my subway commutes to and from work.  As my sister says, I have to be entertained at all times.  😉

Happy sewing and knitting!