Finished Project · Sewing

Blue Plaid Butterick 4712

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

It finally feels like Spring here in the Pacific Northwest.  The sun is shining, the forsythia is blooming, and my last handmade Christmas present from this past Christmas is finally finished.  Ha!

Christmas morning my husband unwrapped the cut pieces for this blue plaid flannel shirt. I’d ordered this blue plaid flannel fabric from Mood Fabrics the second I saw it online since I knew it was just perfect for my husband.  He’s a blue button-up shirt kind of guy, and this particular pattern screamed Pacific Northwest. And, well, that’s exactly where we live.

With the cutting behind me, I thought for sure he’d have a finished shirt in no time.  But, a lot of crazy life events have kept me away from my sewing machine the past few months.  Not to mention that after diligently cutting out each pattern piece, I got frustrated that one side seam didn’t match up.  Silly, right?  Especially since it doesn’t bother me at all now that the whole shirt is together.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Okay, so how exactly did I mess up just one side seam?  Well, I started my plaid matching at the center front.  I decided to center the black vertical stripe (though I later noticed that many similar ready-to-wear plaid shirts have the lighter vertical stripe centered), then I used the right side seam to determine how to cut the back.  What I failed to notice was that my horizontal stripes were not perfectly horizontal – the pattern skews ever so slightly up from left to right (or from right to left as you’re looking at it). What that means is that by the time the pattern wraps all the way across the front and around the back, there’s a noticeable shift in the horizontal line at the left side seam.  Since I only had dust left after cutting out the pieces the first time around (I even had to piece the under collar because I cut the yardage so close), I wasn’t able to go back and try recutting, but I think maybe I should have trued the fabric grain before I started cutting?  Instead, I just prewashed the flannel (three times!), pressed the wrinkles out, and then trusted that the fabric on grain.  Now, at least with this particular fabric, future Amy is imagining past Amy pulling at diagonal corners of the fabric until the horizontal stripes are perfectly perpendicular to the vertical stripes after pressing but before cutting.  How does that sound to those of you with more experience? Any advice out there?

The problem continued on into the sleeves. When I was cutting the sleeves, I tried to match the horizontal pattern as well, using the front left side as my template.  And, the left sleeve (above) matches really well.  But, the right sleeve (below) is slightly off despite being an exact match to the left sleeve.  Since matching the sleeves was mostly just a fun challenge I gave myself (I can’t imagine anyone would ever notice, especially not my husband!), I am actually really happy to have gotten one sleeve right.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

And, as I mentioned above, now that the shirt is finished, the slight mismatches don’t bother me at all.  My husband’s been wearing the shirt all day, and I haven’t noticed.  I think a mismatch at the center front would have been harder to overlook, but thankfully that’s spot on!

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

The pattern I used was vintage Butterick 4712, which I’ve made up roughly once a year for my husband since I began blogging back in 2011 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now here’s 2015).  Thanks to the fitting I did during Peter of Male Pattern Boldness’s Men’s Shirt Sew-Along, all I have to do now when I find a fabric that will make a great shirt for him is cut and sew. (Although, looking back at that post, it seems I took some width out of the shoulders back then, which I don’t remember doing this time around – I’ll have to look into that before I make another!)

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

As I mentioned earlier on my blog, just about every seam of this shirt was sewn three times.  First, it felt like I sewed most every seam wrong the first time around. Even the plackets were stitched inside out, which I unfortunately noticed after slicing into my sleeves.  But, look at them now – a good save and a near perfect match!

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Then I would carefully rip out those stitches and restitch.  Finally, every seam was either top stitched or flat felled.  I have to say that flat felling the seams was a lot easier than I’d imagined and make for a wonderfully neat finish inside of the shirt.  There are no exposed raw (or even serged!) edges anywhere in this shirt.  Even though sewing this shirt seemed to take forever, it was worth getting such a good finish on it.

Sew Well - Butterick 4712 in blue plaid flannel from #MoodFabrics

Also, aren’t they so cute?!  When we tried to take photos for this post outdoors, we realized the ground was way too wet and soggy for our diaper-clad little girl.  So, she became a prop instead.  Best prop ever, in my opinion!

I hope everyone is enjoying the shift in seasons as much as we are!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.


16 thoughts on “Blue Plaid Butterick 4712

  1. Wow! Amazing work. I am in complete awe. It just looks so perfect. I can’t see ANY mismatching and the match across the front and the plackets is to die for!

    1. Thanks! I forgot to take photos of the sides, so the side seam mismatch isn’t obvious here. But, it’s hard to care now that the whole thing is finished!

  2. The desire for precision is good, and so any deviations this time were merely more opportunities to learn. The shirt looks great, and I’m imagining that your husband is luxuriating in its comfort. In fact, both your husband and your daughter seem to be appreciating its soft comfort. It’s really nice-looking, Amy! Sweet pictures. 🙂

    1. This shirt and all of its plaid matching were great opportunities to learn! I hope to use these lessons the next time I’m working with stripes or plaids.

  3. fantastic shirt and it looks great. I find that on flannel it is often kind of twisted or something on the bolt and so difficult to match up. you did a great job and the center front is really all that matters.

    1. Thanks, Beth! You make such beautiful plaid garments that I really value your take on it. The front does seem the most important.

  4. Really beautiful shirt Amy, and such a perfect fit — plus that particular shade of blue makes me swoon! Regarding pulling the diagonal corners of yardage to true up the grain, that’s something I learned from a 4-H sewing instructor way back in the 70’s when I was a kid. It works great, and I pretty much do it every time I use a woven fabric. My hubby is well versed in assisting me with the task :D.

  5. The shirt looks great, so keep doing what you did! Especially washing and drying the fabric first. You really went over and above with the sleeve plackets!

    I used to “true” the fabric in the past but found that sometimes, it will eventually creep back to it’s off grain self and the garment gets saggy in odd places.

    I usually match plaids where people are most likely to see the (lack of a) match. Center front, around the face or collar (this just means the collar should be symmetrical with itself) and shoulders and center back. Side seams may not be matchable if the grain is off or there are curved seams.

    1. Thanks, Susan! I’ve learned the hard way that I need to wash most shirtings three times before I can trust they won’t shrink on me later. I have to keep my sleeves rolled up on one of my favorite shirts because they shrunk so much! Also, thanks for the tips on the most important places to match plaids!

  6. Another good shirt pattern to try is the Colette Patterns “Negroni” shirt. The Negroni shirt is a “camp” shirt pattern but a very nice pattern nevertheless.

    Theresa in Tucson

    1. Thanks! I haven’t ventured beyond this pattern since it works so well for my husband and I think he’s a fan of the traditional collar stand and plackets, but I’ll have to look into it if I ever get bored of making him the exact same pattern year in and year out!

  7. I have washed, pulled, ironed, etc. plaid fabric before trying to get the grain and the stripe straight on. I have also cut my pieces according to the plaid pattern, not the grain. I find it easier to make my front plaid match and then my back plaid match and then heck with the side seams. I think you have to have perfect (expensive) plaid fabric to get it all. I am satisfied with what I have! 😄 Your daughter outshines the shirt anyway! I wasn’t looking to see if your plaid matched! 😄

    1. Thanks! I like your motto – to heck with the side seams! I wouldn’t have spent months frowning at this shirt every time I passed my sewing machine! Hahaha!

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