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DIY : Swirly Paisley - white button down shirt

It had been a very long time since I had last attempted an adult clothing sewing pattern. 

Being a beginner sewist (I refuse to refer to myself as a sewer!), I needed patterns that were extensive in their instructions, smart in their construction and professional in their finishes.  Having reignited my sewing career using my favourite bag designer's pattern, I was used to high quality patterns.

As time had gone on, though, and my need for fit-to-size clothing, I thought I might be in a good place to start exploring womens clothing again.  I chose this Vogue pattern as my re-entrance project.

One of the reasons I didn’t continue with making my own clothing back then was because I didn’t know how to alter a pattern to fit, or where to find that sort of information (short of doing a course).   And what was the point of making clothing that was as ill-fitting as what I could find off the rack?

Just a decade or so on, and the internet has made a huge difference to my feelings on taking on this type of project.  This time round I was an eager and willing student of youtube uni.

This Vogue pattern was quite a good starting point for me.  The finishes were quite good with all seams being flat-felled.  Not having a serger, this was a real bonus.  The construction was quite smart and the style was along the lines of what I was looking for to add to my capsule wardrobe.  Also, there seemed to be enough seams in the appropriate places to be able to make the alterations that I needed.  Further to that, the pattern included different breast cup sizing options.  One less alteration I would have to figure out on my own.

So, the alterations I had to make on this pattern were to :-
  •        raise the waistline
  •        reduce the shoulder width (which, on viewing the photos may not have been necessary)
  •        reduce the whole body circumference
  •        shape the waist to be more fitted (it's a loose shirt and I wanted more structure)
  •        reduce the arm sleeve circumference
  •        reduce the length of the sleeve
  •        reduce the length of the garment
  •        change the button placement

While it does seem like a lot of alterations, a couple of things that I did not have to alter that are worth noting (in my mind) :-
  •        shoulder-to-bust point length
  •        arm hole circumference
  •        neck circumference
  •        bust shaping
I traced the original pattern onto some of this “paper”.  Awesome stuff – sturdy enough to play around with yet thin enough to be used as a pattern.  I then altered the pattern by various folds (just in case the alterations didn’t work).
From there I cut out the material and sewed as directed.

 I am pretty happy with the result.  I can wear it tucked in or not.  Belted or not.  Over a camisole with one button or left open.  I’m comfortable wearing it with pants or shorts or a skirt.  And also with or without a blazer or cardigan.

I would definitely give this pattern a go again, and either mix up the fabric weight or the looseness.  Both of these, I think, would give a different effect.  I would also be happy making exactly the same thing if that’s what my wardrobe needed.


  1. Wow Didn't realize you made that shirt! Noice! I love the collar. And it really is so versatile (casual, dressy and business). Makes me almost want to bust out the ol' sewing machine and try my hand at sewing again... I did say almost! hehehe Can't wait to see what you sew next.


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