I managed to finish another garment for myself. I know this would’ve been great for the summer, but it works in the autumn as well: a white shirt. Naturally, it’s from my #makenine -list.

So now I’ll show you the process of creating a shirt with emphasis on the pattern.

The idea came from Pinterest as usual. I’m not very convinced about shirts with collars in general. For me that is. They look somehow so official, if you know what I mean. I do try wearing them, but feel weird, like it doesn’t suit me at all.

This shirt however seemed to be a great alternative. It has that kind of fake collar and lapels -thing going on at the neckline.


So this is the original shirt I spotted on Pinterest. It has a loose fit and dropped shoulders. There seems to be a dart going towards the shoulderline and a seam at the center front. The fake collar and lapel -thing is separated from the bodice and overlapped at the front.

Can’t really see the length of the shirt as it’s tucked in, and the sleeves are rolled up. So those will have to be improvised, as well as the backside.

For the sleeves I decided to go with classic shirt sleeves complete with cuffs and plackets. At the back I’ll do a box pleat and obviously no carré, because it would be too much considering the neckline.

The shirt will finish at the hipline in the front and be a bit longer in the back. That way it can be tucked in or not. I don’t like too long shirts.

Drafting the shirt pattern

As a base I used the basic bodice without darts, because the shirt has a loose fit. The more ease it has, the looser fit you’ll get.

So how does it turn into a shirt pattern?

The shirt bodice pattern

shirt pattern base

Continue the shoulderline to get a dropped shoulder. I started by adding just 1,5cm / 0,59in. The original shirt has way more longer shoulderline though. But I didn’t want to have to do other modifications to the armscye; When you drop the shoulder, you are supposed to lower and widen the underarm region, too.

The collar is easy: just draw the shape you see in the original shirt-picture.

First decide the starting point. I wanted to try starting at the waistline and went for 6cm / 2,4in in width, half of which extends from the c.front. Spoiler alert: Later I ended up moving the starting point upwards.

I added 1cm / 0,4in to the shoulderline towards the neck because the collar would anyways tend to open by itself.

The neckline then continues to the backside.

So how will we produce a dart if there is none in the basic pattern? Well, we can shape the bodice front a bit by adding a little dart that at the same time gets rid of some extra volume at the armscye. Unite it at the bust point and then rotate towards the shoulder. Re-draw the armscye.

shirt pattern front

The seam at the center front seemed useless so I decided to leave it out.

At the back you just make the same modifications to the shoulderline and add a box pleat at center back.

Decide the shirt length and the shape of the hemline. My shirt is a bit longer at the back with a slight curve.

Here are all the pieces:

shirt pattern

The shirt sleeve pattern

The shirt will also need a sleeve. Your basic bodice pattern should have a sleeve to go with it.

Lower the sleeve cap the same amount you dropped the shoulder. Then check the amount of ease you have. You might have to lower some more. This kind of shirt sleeves shouldn’t have almost any ease. In fact I’d say 1cm / 0,4in max. Especially if you’re going for French seams.

Unless your sleeve cuff will be particulary narrow, shorten the sleeve a couple of cm or an inch.

The sleeve hem width will be the sum of your cuff width and the folds. So measure your wrist imagining how loose you want your cuff to be closed. The overlap will be covered with the placket, don’t count that in here.

You’ll also want to have 2-3 folds, each 2cm / 0,79in wide.

Placket & Cuff

The placket will be placed as in the drawing, at the back side of the sleeve. So draw a slit, choosing the length. The folds will be around it and going towards the placket.

I prepared a placket pattern so you can download it here if you want to. If you’re already on my mailing list, I sent you the link to download the pdf.

You can adjust the slit length so that it’s the same on the placket- and sleeve pattern. Also, this placket works with 2cm / 0,79in wide cuff overlap. So if you want a wider overlap, add twice that amount to the right side of the placket.

As for the cuff, it’s just a rectangle. You already have the length as decided earlier. Just add the overlap, which can be something like 2-3cm. (Mine is 2cm.) Then all that’s left is the height. The sleeve cuff can be folded in two, so the rectangle will be twice the height of your cuff. My cuff is 6cm high, (so that makes the total 12cm,) and has a little angle detail at the overlapping bit. Add the seam allowance all around if you prefer.

sleeve placket and cuff patterns

Toile and modifications

So then I made the toile as always and this is what it looked like:

Like I anticipated earlier, the neckline ended up being too low.

The chest area wasn’t actually too tight, but because of this neckline I decided it was better to have more room, so it won’t open so much when moving my arms! As a consequence then, I needed to lengthen even the shoulderline, which resulted in a more dropped shoulder and me having to modify the underarm area, too.

This caused also the need to re-center the dart. The idea was to have it in the middle of the shoulderline.

Then there was the usual problem of too short sleeves.. I guess I have to start making them super long to start with!

I liked the length and the fit of the shirt otherwise.

Here you can see the modifications on the shirt pattern. Widening the chest area caused the whole armscye to move towards the side, and the side seam along with it. I didn’t mind having my shirt a bit wider.

shirt pattern corrections

I added length to the sleeve at the elbow line so that I could keep the wrist line as it was. Less hassle.

shirt sleeve pattern corrections

Sewing the shirt

I found this white light weight cotton with a checkered pattern. There is clearly a theme with the garments I’m making!

Here you can see all the pieces cut. I added an extra layer of cotton to the collar and cuffs because I don’t like fusible interfacing. I used that only with the plackets.

There was nothing particularly difficult in putting the shirt together. First I sewed all the collar pieces

and the cuffs.

I closed the darts and sewed the side- and shoulder seams with French seams. Then attached the ”collar”.

The sleeve

Only thing that might be a bit more challenging is the placket, so I took a few extra pics.

Sew the plackets first thing before doing anything else to the sleeves. It’s easier when they are laying flat.

Start by sewing the placket to the wrong side of the sleeve as in the picture. Wrong side of the placket up, too. The shorter side is closer to the sleeve edge.

sewing sleeve placket

So match the slit points and sew around it. Then cut the slit open and flip the placket to the right side. Press.

Turn the little hem allowance under and fold the shorter side so that it covers the hole created by the slit. Sew close to the edge.

Then fold the hem allowance of the other side and the rest of it so that it covers the previous layer.

Fold the tip as you prefer. It can be flat or pointy. Then sew in place.

You can find many tutorials on YouTube on sewing plackets. I know this can be tricky and the pictures might not be enough.

After the placket is done, you can fix the folds in place and the close then seam of the sleeve. Finally attach the cuff and make the button loop. You can also leave the loop for later.

I attached the sleeve to the bodice with a French seam so all the seams are clean.

And finally did a small hem. I also secured the overlapping part of the neckline with small hand stitches so it won’t open too much.

The shirt is ready

At this point all that was left was ironing and posing for pics.

But first a couple of details.

sleeve placket and -cuff

Here’s the shirt paired with jeans.

And with a midi skirt. I prefer this look.

What kind of shirt pattern would you draft for yourself?

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  1. WOW! I know is not magic but is great to see how from a picture you get a pattern and a shirt at the end, for me is magic. Love the shirt and the neck detail. I think it looks great with the skirt but also with jeans! Thank you for an interesting post! xx

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      That’s exactly what got me into patternmaking. It’s like magic! 😀 Thank you for your kind words. I was already wearing the shirt this weekend. 🙂

  2. This shirt is on my Pinterest board as well. As I am currently working on a similar shirt your tips how to adapt the basic block including the sleeve placket comes right on cue and are very helpful. Many thanks for showing us how you made the shirt.

    • shapesoffabric Reply

      Wow! I had a perfect timing then. 🙂 You’re welcome. Have fun with your shirt project!

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