I’ve been on a bit of a shirt making quest recently. I love all the little elements that go into making them and I like to wear them – so it is a win win for me! Since I’ve started stocking Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and KwikSew patterns in the shop (alongside a selection of Indie patterns), I’ve been trying to incorporate more of them in to my sewing. For staple garments such as a shirt there are so many patterns to chose from which is great. Butterick B5526 is a popular pattern with good reviews so I was keen to give it a try.
Butterick B5526 is a multi-sized pattern across two envelopes; sizes 6-12 or 14-22. There are 2 basic styles/fit options all with a two-piece collar (stand and collar piece). The first is a looser shirt that is un-darted and comes with two hem options and options for pockets and sleeve tabs. The second is a more fitted shirt with princess seams that has an option for a front ruffle/flounce and a separate button band. The only features that are missing from a classic shirt is the option for a tower placket on the sleeve, and a back yoke. For all the versions you get with this pattern I think it is really great value.
I made View A which is the un-darted shirt with the front breast pockets and long sleeves with roll tabs. I cut a straight size 16 with the only alteration being to add 1″ to the length of the shirt at the hem. I had hoped to cut the separate button band from one of the other views but I didn’t have enough fabric, in fact, as it was I had just enough to cut all the pieces I needed.
I fell in love with the colour of this fabric as soon as the agent showed it to me – it is listed in the shop as Daisy Pima Cotton Lawn Green. It is such an unusual shade of green – a dark leafy/olive or a chartreuse green? It is gorgously soft cotton lawn which is a dream to sew and press. The print is very similar to Liberty Mitsi and is small white flowers with orange centres and darker green and pale blue leaves. I think I might have to start stocking it in some of the other colourways as well.
I sewed the shirt over quite a few sessions. I like that about shirts, you can break them down in components and tackle each part individually if you want to. I find it stops me powering ahead and inevitably making a mess of the collar or some topstitching! I didn’t do anything fancy – all the seams are sewn on my machine and then overlocked.
The only change I made to the construction was in relation to how the sleeve tab was sewn on. The instructions seemed to imply you’d end up with a bit of raw edge showing so I pressed under a scant 1/4″ at the end and then stitched this down so the raw edge was hidden. I top-stitched a box and X to hold it in place (similar to a tower placket on a sleeve).
The collar was sewn using the Grainline method which I have come to prefer as I get a lovely neat finish at the front edge.
I had planned to use some simple mother of pearl buttons but they just didn’t look right. In the end I found these dark green fish-eye buttons which are just right and were inexpensive. The pockets have a nice pleat detail and the buttons are simply sewn through the pocket (no button hole).
If you are planning on sewing the sleeve tabs so you can roll the sleeves up you might want to think about using a french seam or flat fell seam for the sleeve since you will see the innards when you roll them up. The sleeves are a great length for me so if you are shorter (I’m 5’7″) you might want to check the length. The only thing I’d look to change on a future version would be to drop the chest pockets by 1″ or more as I feel they are sitting too high on me (I prefer the placement on my blue check Grainline Archer).
I’m really happy with how it has turned out and the fit is great. It is such a great staple shirt style and I’m sure I’ll come back to this version again. I’m already planning a chambray version – I just need to get my fabric pre-washed.
Total cost: £27.64
Fabric: 1.4m – Daisy Pima Cotton Lawn Green @ £12/m = £16.80
Pattern: Butterick B5526 Misses’ Shirt = £8.25
Buttons: 14 @ £0.06 = £0.84
Notions: Thread & interfacing = £1.75