In my last blog, I did a self-drafted copy-cat of my favourite t-shirt. This month I’m attempting a more complicated garment…the henley summer shirt.
The original shirt was once a soft, powder-blue but it has since been dyed black to cover the wear and tear—yes, I love it that much! Using a similar technique to my t-shirt drafting  I measured and traced off the old shirt to create my paper pattern pieces. This pieces were: front, back, sleeve, cuff, collar and placket.
I decided on this gorgeous summery 100% Cotton Fabric for the garment. It has a little more weight than the original shirt, great for the late summer/early autumn weather. It’s a dream to sew with and you can use any standard needles. I’d absolutely recommend this fabric for beginners because it is so easy to work with.
I sewed the garment with flat-felled seams, which got a little tight around the arms but my new Janome worked fantastically in the tight spots. (Yes, I’m showing off the fact that I’ve upgraded to a computerised sewing machine!) But seriously, I got a lovely, even top-stitch on the garment and I’m just living for one-step automatic buttonholes!
I selected these green Shell Buttons to complement the fabric, they really pop against the vibrant orange. I interfaced the collar but would consider skipping that in the future for a more relaxed, slouchy shirt.
I basically followed the same procedure for pattern drafting as I did for the t-shirt, the exception being the neck placket. I was a bit scared to attempt a homemade version so I used the placket instructions from a Thread Theory pattern that I already own, and followed that to get the placket sorted. A quick YouTube search will give you plenty of ‘how-to’ placket videos, if you don’t have any patterns you can work from.
I didn’t really think ahead to the sleeves, and when I got to that point I realised I’d need some kind of cuff placket. I have probably performed a blasphemous act against bias-binding here, but I made a short length of binding and just whacked it up and down the slash line of the sleeve in one continuous strip.
I knew that this shirt was going to be worn mostly with the sleeves rolled up so wasn’t too concerned about the cuff placket but I still wanted to have a decent finish.
As we slide into Autumn, I have already booked my winter sun getaway to The Canaries and this shirt will definitely be in my suitcase. It’s both smart and lightweight, bold and expressive. I think it would work for daytime and nighttime…Piña colada anyone?
Next month it’s on to the final level of my copy-cat sewing—a full length cashmere coat for the winter wardrobe! I’m nervous… Wish me luck!