You are IN LUCK my readers, as this holiday season I am hosting a flannel shirt sew-a-long here at kelly.hogaboom.org! Here is our overview:
Briefly: in this sew-a-long, I will be showing the reader how to sew up a masculine-styled flannel long-sleeved shirt. Like, I am living IN THE LAND of OG flannel awesomeness and I love sewing menswear – so this seems appropriate. I will sew the shirt, step-by-step, in installments with photographs and verbal descriptions. The installments will begin November 17th and finish November 27th.
This sew-a-long is appropriate for beginners and intermediate stitchers. I will be offering many kinds of support – in the comments here, via email or twitter, and through Skype. Local stitchers can expect hand’s-on help, if they need it!
A few caveats.
1. I will be showing you how to sew a flannel shirt the best way I know how. Every single pattern out there comes with instructions; by participating in this sew-a-long I’m assuming you want something different than those instructions. If you follow this sew-a-long I suggest you follow it to the letter to get the results I get.
2. I will be making a simple alteration to the size, but in general, this post will not be covering pattern alterations for fit. Feel free to post any questions about size adjustments and fit in the comments.
3. For November and December 2013 only, I will be available to Skype with anyone who wants one-on-one help. Take advantage of this service! If this is something you want, please text me at 360.500.3287 and we can set something up.
4. I am putting together a shirt-sewing kit for the holiday season, and I will be briefly mentioning this kit in the posts. If you can’t take that kind of self-promotion, be warned!
And now – on to the prequel post! You will want to get your supplies fairly soon, and the pattern I am using is primarily available by mail.*
Clockwise from top: several yards 100% cotton plaid flannel, a shirt pattern (Jalie 2111), lightweight fusible interfacing, buttons, thread, a cotton remnant (for pocket lining), and a satin remnant (for cuff lining). Please read through some details about supplies, and feel free to post any questions in the comments.
100% cotton plaid flannel: I am sad to report that finding high-quality cotton flannel is a bit tricky. It’s easy to find a flannel that looks gorgeous on the bolt, but when washed, does not perform well. However, if you are careful during construction, meticulous in detail, and hand-wash or dry-clean your resultant garment, even a mid-quality flannel will perform and look beautiful for years. Find a cotton flannel that feels cozy and looks beautiful. There are so many beautiful flannels out there; it becomes hard to pick just one! Select the needed yardage as listed on the back of the pattern envelope (and comment here if you are confused as to how to do this). You need to add 1/2 yard to your yardage if you are an experienced sewist; add 1 yard to your yardage if you are a beginner. I know this “extra” sounds like a lot. But we are going to be cutting on the bias, matching plaids, and adding a pocket. If you’re learning something, don’t skimp on supplies. Treat yourself to enough slack you won’t get frustrated!
Shirt pattern: I opted for Jalie 2111 because I enjoy Jalie’s patterns and they come with an incredible size range per pattern – in this case, 22 sizes! (This means you can make matching shirts for members in your family, no matter how big or small). The Jalie pattern is likely not available at any brick and mortar shop near you. The fastest shipping and the cheapest options are available through Pattern Review; but you can also order directly from Jalie itself. By the way, this pattern will soon be out of print, so grab one while you still can!
Interfacing: I far prefer Pam Erny’s Fashion Sewing Supply interfacings to anything else I’ve used (although you can use a lower-quality interfacing if you like, from your local fabric store). You want a fusible, lightweight interfacing. One such product I adore is the Pro-WEFT Supreme Lightweight Fusible Interfacing. You can purchase it in a natural or charcoal colorway; the minimum-order yard cut will be adequate for this shirt. However, I love this interfacing and use it in many applications, so go ahead and order as much as you like as you will never regret it! (NAYY)
Buttons: The shirt uses buttons in two sizes. I have, shown here, bulk-purchase plastic buttons – 5/8″ and 3/8″ – obtained at JoAnn’s for dirt-cheap. However, higher-end or vintage buttons are a lovely touch. You need a lot of buttons for this shirt, and the back of the Jalie pattern will show you precisely how many, once you know what size you will be working with. Speaking of buttons – I notice Pam Erny’s online shop has several great button options, as well. If you end up liking shirt-making, you may want to buy shirt buttons in larger quantities. Buying them per-card in a fabric store is expensive, and sometimes the fabric store doesn’t have enough of the ones you like! #trueStory
Thread: Use an all-purpose thread. I generally like Mettlers. Polyester, or polyester-wrapped cotton, is strongest. 100% cotton will work in a pinch as well. One large spool should be adequate.
Cotton remnant: I have a pocket-making method that lines the pockets, providing a lovely finish and a pocket that feels great from the inside. You need a piece of 100% high-quality cotton fabric, at least 12″ by 8″. Choose a color that blends in well with your plaid flannel.
Satin remnant: If you’ve worn a higher-end flannel shirt you may notice some of the inner details are made up in satin. This feels and looks luxurious! For the best results, you want a firm-bodied, woven satin (I love fabric.com’s slipper satin – it is inexpensive, especially when on sale, and works well as a firm lining for coats); choose a color that compliments your plaid flannel.
Now – beginners. In addition to the abovementioned supplies, you need general sewing supplies: good fabric scissors, a tracing medium, pen, and pencil; a working sewing machine, a machine needle (a sharp or universal in size 12 or so, depending on how thick your flannel is), a seam-ripper, a hand-sewing needle, a steam iron and ironing board. Some more goodies that will help, but are not essential: a pair of pinking shears, Steam-A-Seam Lite tape (or similar product), laundry spray starch, Fray Check (or similar product), and 100% beeswax (to strengthen thread).
You can also help other people find this sew-a-long in a timely fashion, by posting the badge to your own blog, or sharing via Tumblr/Twitter, Facebook (you can “Like” my page for updates), et cetera. The more people who participate, the better this sew-a-long will be, as I will be making corrections and additions as per feedback. Seamsters in the future will stumble on these posts and be glad for them!
You can also subscribe by RSS to either my sew-a-long feed (in which case you will see all future sew-a-longs when I post them) or just the feed for the flannel shirt sew-a-long! If you’d like another subscription option, email me and let me know. kelly AT hogaboom DOT org.
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* “Can I use a different pattern?” Yes, but please know you may run into trouble regarding some design details. If you haven’t sewn a man’s shirt a time or two, I highly recommend you just order this pattern and do as instructed. The pattern I’ve chosen, Jalie 2111, is a relaxed-fit flannel with a self-faced button placket, collar stand, and back yoke. We will be making a few changes to this Jalie pattern: cutting several pieces on the bias, adding one patch pocket to the shirt – so there are two breast pockets, lining the pockets, and making a slight change to the sleeve placket.