• Craft Cotton Co

William Morris Shirt

Project by Alex Holt

Like most people, I am a massive fan of William Morris Prints. The designs have a timeless appeal which is a rare quality in such a fast-paced design world. I took the opportunity to push myself with this project by making a bowler shirt. I expected some challenges during the sewing process, as this was my first time making something this complicated, but I did not anticipate how tricky collars and facings are to construct. Before this particular shirt, I had attempted this pattern 4 times, 3 of which turned out to be failures.


I purchased the pattern from monopatterns on Etsy which can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/848373543/bowling-shirt-sewing-pattern-pdf-sizes?ref=shop_home_active_2&crt=1 . The loose style and cropped hem make this pattern flattering on everyone, but if you prefer a longer length shirt, there is nothing stopping you from lengthening the sides of the bodice pattern pieces.


I began by cutting out all the pattern pieces on my fabric which was folded in half lengthwise. I prefer to apply weights to the pattern piece and then trace around the pattern with a rotary cutter, as I am too impatient to draw around it and then cut it. I took the time to overedge all the pattern pieces which took longer than constructing the shirt. I never used to overedge when I was a beginner, but now I am at the stage where my final garments look more polished, it is definitely worth the extra time so the items I make last much longer.


Constructing the bodice and attaching the sleeves was so quick and easy, I was naive in thinking I would have a finished shirt on my first attempt. I went back and forth to Youtube and the instructions to try and figure out how all the layers fit together. I eventually worked out that the bagged-out collar is pinned to the neckline first at the notched points on the shoulder seams. I decided to tac the collar using the largest stitch length on my sewing machine so that it made laying down the next pieces easier. I then attached the front facings and the neck facing together to create a full facing piece, this was placed on top of the shirt and collar, right sides together. It was then time for the tricky part. I lined up and pinned the front facings to the shirt starting from one side. Once I got to the inner corner of the neckline, I had to pivot the facing so I could continue pinning along the rest of the neckline. This stage required a lot of manoeuvring and repining, to make all the layers lie flat and line up at the correct notch points. I then sewed the facing, shirt, and collar together with a 1cm seam allowance, making sure the pivot point lay as flat as possible to avoid puckering. I also ensured the edge of the collar was caught in the seam allowance, so the facing and collar were united correctly. I was not completely successful in avoiding the puckering at the pivot point, as it was very tricky to get the layers to lie flat, but as I make more shirts my technique will improve. Also, once the collar is folded down at the end, you cannot even tell the collar is not perfect.



I love this bowling shirt pattern so much I have already made 3 shirts! If you are new to constructing shirts, the collar and facings are difficult to work out, but this particular seller was incredibly helpful and sent me a video demonstrating how the pieces are attached. There are also lots of Youtube tutorials on Bowling and Cuban shirts you can refer to.



@aholttextiles


By Alex Holt for The Craft Cotton Company 2021


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