Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Girl's Shirt From "Stitch Wear Play"

I initially bought “Stitch Wear Play”, by Mariko Nakamura, because I wanted more patterns for my son However, after receiving the book I realized that the sizes for the patterns were for ages 3-8 (my son is 15 months) and there are only 5 patterns for boys (2 shirts, 1 short, 2 jackets). However the patterns for the girls look lovely and that has made up for my disappointment in the lack of patterns for boys. Another nice feature of this book is that the patterns are included in paper format, but they still need to be traced.

For my second project from the book I decided on the Girl’s Shirt in a size 1. You can find my first project, the Skirt With Bow, here. My daughter picked out the main fabric from the clearance section of a local store in New Jersey called Pennington Quilt Works. The fabric is called Moon Shine by Free Spirit. For the yoke I purchased a red fabric from JoAnn by Cloud 9. The button, embroidery floss and piping were from my stash.

The end result of the shirt is adorable. In regards to fit there is plenty of room for movement. I am really impressed by how well the sleeves fit her. Little E loves this shirt and her opening line to people she met the first day she wore it out was, “Do you like my shirt, my mommy made it for me!” I love how proud she is of the things I make her.

Down to the nitty gritty of the construction of this garment! Everything about this shirt was simple and straightforward, except when attaching the yoke, that part alone took about six hours to complete. I don’t know how many times I ripped out stitches, and I almost never rip out stitches. The hardest part were the corners of the shirt where it attached to the yoke. It was hard to line them up without having folds or creases in the fabric. The shirt was also supposed to have gathers on the front, however I couldn’t get those to work out. The back of the shirt is gathered as illustrated in the book and can be seen in my creation below. Somethings I think that might help with this part next time would be (a) stay stitch the corners of the shirt just inside the seam allowance on the side that will attach to the yoke (b) do not clip the corners, step 4, until just before the yoke is sewn to the shirt, step 6.  In conclusion of this part of the construction, I am not sure if I am to blame for the difficulties I had or if it was a design issue. Moving on, for step 3 I understitched the yoke facing to the seam allowance to help the neckline lay flat. Lastly, before the sleeves are attached I would recommend gathering the sleeve head (from the front notch to the back notch) to assist in inserting. The author doesn’t mention this, however there is enough excess fabric that I don’t know how it could be done without gathering first. Tilly and the Buttons has a great tutorial for this that can be found here.

For changes to the design of this shirt I added black piping to the yoke. This was my first time using this type of trim and I think it came out really well. I used my book A-Z of Sewing to help with this. Because the yoke and shirt went through so much during the construction process the edges were a wreck. To ensure they didn’t unravel with normal wear and wash I finished them with ½” single fold bias binding, this can be seen in the pictures below. Next I used french seams on the side and sleeve seams. Since the seam allowance was ⅜”, I did my first seam (wrong sides together) at ⅛” and then my second seam (right sides together) at ¼”. The link above for french seams is from Craftsy and is a great resource for this technique.  Lastly, I reduced the hem allowance of the shirt from the suggested 1” to ½”. My daughter is slightly taller than average so this is something I do with all her shirts.

One thing I will take away from this project is the embroidery Mariko used for the yoke. It is such a lovely design element and really elevated the shirt’s overall appearance. I found the shirt pictured in the book here, it is the khaki colored.

In conclusion I am undecided if I will make this pattern again. I own a similar design by a different company (Oliver + S) and will probably opt to test drive that one next time. I hope this review helps you in your journey of sewing this shirt! Let us know if you have any questions or leave us a comment of your experience!

Written by: Shawna


  1. What an absolute beautiful tunic!! I'm sorry to hear you had problems during the sewing. One thing that might have helped you, could be to cut little clips 2/3 in on the seam allowance in your bodice fabric along the curves. I know normally you only cut the clips afterwards but sometimes doing it before can help a ton with the process :-) I'm impressed with your perseverance :-) Thank you for linking up to Sew Japan!

  2. Thanks Mie for your advice!I will give that a try next time. And thank you for hosting the Sew Japan Link Up.