Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Can this shirt be saved?

Whoooeee! I've got a doozy on my hands.

I decided to whip up a Japanese sewing book tunic I'd cut out a while ago. Navy linen/cotton blend body and Liberty-like lawn trim. I was going to make cute little covered buttons to go up the front and close the back (you'll have to imagine those for now).

It was all going pretty well until I put the shoulder seams together. The front just looked off. Too narrow. The back was a fine width, maybe a little too wide but I thought it could have just appeared that way because of the freakishly narrow front?

So check this out. I put the sleeves in, and this is what I have.

The flat picture at the top shows the seams a lot better - they're wayyyyy into the inside of the shirt instead of near the armhole, which would be natural.

It didn't call for bust darts at all, I assumed because of the gathers that would hit around the bust area?

What do I do with this???

If I take off the sleeves and bind the armholes will it be ok? I think at this point that's my only hope. I'm afraid it's going to look like a racerback shirt, only with the racer part in the front!

I'm so disgusted because I love this fabric and I love the pattern's concept and I'm just bummed that it's so weird.

I need help.


  1. Tehee, I think it can be saved. Sleeves definitely need to go and add a brown belt for some waist definition too!!!

  2. Ooh! Ooh! I love a salvage puzzle!

    I think the fix might be simpler than a gigantic overhaul. From the looks of it, all you need is a couple more inches across the collarbone/high bust area, and only in the front. I think you can save this fairly simply, just by doctoring or redoing the front bib panel.

    The most flawless way to do it is to

    1. measure how much additional width you'd like at the collarbone: at high bust or collarbone level, put the tape measure where you wish the armscye seam was. Measure horizontally inward until you hit the actual seam: I'm betting about 1-1.5".

    (For perspective: you were totally right that it was weird that the back looked so much wider than the front. If I was fixing this shirt, I'd make sure that the horizontal distance between my desired front armscye locations was equal to or wider than the existing distance between the back armscyes at that height.)

    2. Double that measurement: now you know the total width you want to add.

    3. Cut out a new, wider bib panel: the original measurements plus the width you want to add. The easiest place to add that width will be the center, so that you don't have to mess with the seams and the neck curvature too much.

    4. Take out your existing collar, bib, and piping. (It's making me sad to say this. It looks like it took a lot of care to get the contrasty components to look so nice.)

    5. Loosen or redo the bust gathers so that your new bib fits. They'll be less gather-y, but that'll be OK.

    6. Reinstall the wider bib, piping, and collar just as you did to make the original version.

    Godspeed, comrade.

  3. Oh, Stef's genius! That's exactly the right thing to fix this collosal mess! Thank you thank you thank you, especially since I don't have enough fabric leftover for an entire front piece. I'll post an update as soon as I get it done.

  4. Have you tried in on backwards? I know that sounds silly but it looks like the shoulder is too far forward and there is no ease in the front. Try it and let me know if that shows you what's going on. I know it's silly- you don't have to admit you did it:)

  5. Yeah, it does fit like that. But the pattern piece for the front has a huge box cut out for the insert, so I'm pretty sure that's the front piece. Honestly, there's something lost in translation on this one because the back piece hangs funny too and it didn't have anything special to it. My mom has recommended I wad it?

  6. That is so impressively weird! I'd have to agree: try adding width to the bib portion. Short of wearing it backwards, I think that's all you can do!