Back to School Flashbacks with Button Up Shirts


Button Up Shirt Subscription Sewing Kit

There's something about a button-up shirt that is the epitome of sewing to me. Or perhaps tailoring. When I think of shirt-making, I think of Thomas Pink and Saville Row. A custom-made shirt is a luxury that is limited to the higher class...

Um, wrong! As home-sewers, we can reclaim the custom-made shirt as our right and privilege!

Okay, okay, sewing your own shirt may not be that dramatic, but it is often something that home sewers either embrace or eschew. There's a challenge to shirt-making that, in my opinion, make it one of the best things to tackle in order to improve your sewing skills. 

With the three boxes, you get to flex your sewing muscles, perhaps learn some new techniques, and in the end, get a versatile and stylish shirt to show off to your friends and family. So let's dig deeper into the choices!

Lightweight Box: Aster Shirt from Colette Patterns

Colette Patterns Aster Shirt
One of the big fears that new sewers have when it comes to shirt-making is the collar. With lots of intricate sewing and pressing, it can feel daunting. And that's why we wanted to offer an option that was still a button-up, but didn't have a collar.
Anyone familiar with Colette Patterns knows that they stopped making paper patterns this past spring. When the announcement came out, I quickly snapped up a whole bunch of patterns to use in future boxes, including the Aster Shirt. One of Colette's early patterns, it's a clean-cut woven top with a button placket, v-neck and three different sleeve options. A great addition to your wardrobe, this shirt can be paired with jeans, skirts, or dress pants, depending on your mood. And you can easily layer a cardigan over top, making it a three-season option!
For fabrics, we have three different levels of drape, which creates three distinct looks out of one pattern. And the colors just scream fall!
Colette Patterns Aster Shirt Fabric Swatches
  • Oxblood Feather Print Poplin - The crispest option, this poplin has a tight weave and soft hand. The rich red adds warmth to the fabric and the little feathers (about 3/4" in length each) give a playful vibe that we just love. Tucked into jeans, you have a gorgeous fall staple outfit.
  • White Brushed Twill - We couldn't do button-ups without a classic white option. White goes with everything and matches every skin tone! But here, instead of the crisp shirting, we have a wonderfully lightweight brushed twill that has a touchably soft hand and a easy, comfortable drape. This fabric will hang beautifully from your shoulders and feel great for all-day wear.
  • Mustard Floral Rayon Poplin - I might seriously have an obsession with Télio's rayon poplin. It has a fluid drape and cool, smooth hand and it is perfect for View C of this pattern (That's the one with the flutter sleeves). The vibrant mustard color is a quintessential fall color and the rose floral pattern renders anything you make sweet but not saccharine. A must-sew option for anyone who loves yellow or rayon.

Medium Weight Box: Archer Shirt from Grainline Studios

Grainline Studio Archer Shirt
If you've been around the sewing world for a little while, you've either heard of or perhaps sewn your own Archer Shirt. It is the classic button-up indie sewing pattern out there right now. So to say that it was a pre-requisite to have it in one of our boxes would not be an understatement.
This button-up covers all the elements of shirt-making: pointed collar, button placket, buttoned cuffs, patch pockets and a back yoke. But with Grainline's excellent drafting and detailed instructions (there is even a sewalong on their site), it becomes far easier than you expect to sew! When you're done making this shirt, I wouldn't be surprised if you feel like you can tackle any sewing project.
Because it's a classic cut, we stuck with classic shirting fabrics. And don't worry, for the plaid, we're giving you an extra 1/2 yard so you can play with bias-cutting on the details.
Grainline Studio Archer Shirt Fabric Swatches
  • Light Blue Oxford - For years, I didn't know what Oxford cloth was. I just knew that I liked the fabric shirts were made out of. Oxford is actually a basketweave cloth, which gives it its identifiable look and feel. With this fabric, the cross threads are blue and white and the surface is brushed to give it an almost moleskin texture. The heftiest of the three option, this is a great choice if you want to make a shirt that you can wear throughout the colder month. And because of the simple color, it pairs well with all sorts of pants and sweaters.
  • Gray and Purple Tartan Flannel Twill - Whenever I think of making an Archer Shirt, I think of plaid. Perhaps button-ups make me think of lumberjacks and log cabins. Who knows? But regardless, I needed to include a plaid in this box. When I saw this tartan, it was unlike any I had seen before, so I knew I had to use it. With a light gray background, it has dark gray and deep purple stripes running through it. A great choice for someone who wants something just a little left of center, as it were.
  • Red, White, and Blue Sunburst Dot Twill - This is the fabric when you combine a classic white shirting with a fun dotted print. Playful, unusual and quirky, this fabric will turn into just a downright adorable Archer. Casual yet classic, this shirt will be ideal for weekend wear and will add a little pop of whimsy when paired with a sweater. And who doesn't want a pop of whimsy??

Heavyweight Box: Reeta Shirt Dress from Named Clothing

Reeta Shirt Dress Named Clothing
For our luxury box, we wanted to take the idea of shirt-making to the next level. You know what that means? Shirt-Dresses!!
The Reeta Shirt Dress combines all the elements of a classic button-up shirt, a gathered skirt and a midi dress (with a few camp shirt elements thrown in for good measure). The pattern features a drawstring waist, cuffed sleeves, a notched collar breast pockets with box pleats and deep vents at the side seams. It's an unusual twist on a classic - just like all of Named Clothing's patterns - and we have been loving all the makes of this that have been popping up on our instagram.
For fabrics, the dress requires some drape, so our choices are on the finer, softer end of the shirting spectrum. Whichever fabric you choose, though, it will turn into a knockout of a dress that is a whole outfit in one piece of clothing.
Reeta Shirt Dress Named Clothing Fabric Swatches
  • Charcoal and White Striped Rayon Woven - This fabric is unlike anything I've ever seen or touched before. The white stripes are a basketweave while the gray stripes are a twill, thus lending a unique texture and look to the whole fabric. Combine this with the variable size of the stripes and you have the makings for a one-of-a-kind dress. This choice will look just as good on a sunny October day as it will on the beach in May. A versatile and stunning option!
  • Black and Ivory Floral Crepe - The beauty of this fabric is in the fine detail of the printed pattern. Small lines make it seem like the flowers are embroidered onto the crepe, thus fooling the eye into thinking the dress is made of some kind of lace. Embrace the trompe l'oeil with this completely opaque fabric and have a great midi dress to pair with heels for a night out or a pair of Keds for a weekend in.
  • Neon Slub Chambray - It's hard to see in the swatch photo, but this chambray actually has slub threads of neon yellow and pink speckled throughout the surface. The closest of the three options to a classic shirting, this fabric will sew up into a lovely chambray shirt dress that, I promise, will get so much wear. Because, honestly, who doesn't love a tailored chambray shirt?

Ok everyone! That's it for this month's theme. But don't tune out yet!! We're doing something new this month!

We have gotten a lot of new subscribers in the past few months, and we hate to think that they missed out on our first boxes. That's why this month, we're offering a classic box as an option. This month, the classic box is our April Blouse Box.

That's right, you can either choose a box from this month's Button-Up theme or a one of the blouses we offered in April last spring. No matter which you choose, you'll have a lovely top to wear at the end of it! But keep in mind, the classic boxes are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis. Once the fabrics are sold out, they're gone.

Until next month... Happy sewing!!

-Mary