Button down

Recently I’ve had the urge to make button down shirts and blouses.

I have no idea why.  I own only a single button down shirt, which has been worn once in the past five years.  But maybe because I’m feeling more “caught up” with sewing (at least, I don’t feel under pressure to sew something just to have something to wear), I want to try something new.  Since I have no idea what I am looking for in a button down shirt, I decided to make a muslin.  Or three.

What impressed me working through these patterns was how different each one wore and “read.”  I used to think all button down shirts were the same: button front, collar stand, collar, cuffs, but each of these has a very different feel.

My favorite first:

This is Burdastyle 10-2009-105.  I love this pattern.  The fit is just right (the only alterations I made were to shorten the sleeves and take one inch off the front hem.)  It’s shaped but not too fitted.  The shoulders hit at just the right point and are neither too droopy or too square.  The collar is great.  It frames my face nicely and feels comfortable to wear.  I’m envisioning wearing this as shown here: open, as a top layer.  Maybe with tabs to hold the sleeves up.  Love it.

Second muslin:  Burdastyle 01-2011-108.  Meh.

I was thinking of these soft plaid drop-waist tunics I’ve seen around, like this:

I thought I could adapt this unfitted dress pattern by adding a waist casing.  But when I made up the muslin the pattern felt very finicky.  The collar seems too wide and low.  The sleeves and shoulders are bulky.  It feels very old-fashioned, which I guess is the idea, since the pattern was part of a “vintage” spread.  On the left is how I thought of wearing it originally (tunic length with a dropped waist).  I think it works better with a higher waistline and might be passable as a dress (if I made it longer.)  But it doesn’t feel like something I’d reach for, so I’m not sure whether its worth sewing up.  Maybe if I took some width out of the sleeves and collar.  Or maybe if I used a different pattern like this one.  Or maybe this style just isn’t for me.

Third muslin: New look 6407.

This is another attempt to copy a blouse I saw on someone else and liked but again I’m not sure if it works for me.  The blouse I saw had a standing collar and short gathered sleeves.  So I used the collar from view E and the sleeves from view D.  I like the neckline and the standing collar.  I’m not sure how I feel about the shape and sleeves.  I worry that a blouse that’s too fitted makes my hips look wide and I’m self-conscious about anything that might make my shoulders look bulkier.  And there are issues with the fit.  Here I’ve taken in the back with a narrow horizontal tuck but I’m not sure how to do that on the finished pattern without a CB seam.  It also needs at least a little less fabric in the bust.  Not too much or I won’t be able to move.  This kind of very fitted blouse seems tricky to get right.

Here are the fabrics I was thinking of using.  The moss green poplin for the long-sleeve over-shirt, the light plaid for the gathered tunic, and the dark gray stretch cotton for the New Look blouse.  But maybe I should just make them all into the first shirt.  What do you guys think?