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Simplicity 9157
Shirt a-long

So many people ask what's an easy shirt to make for a man............

I almost always say avoid one with a separate collar stand just like Simplicity 9157. An open necked casual shirt.

However, I see so many people finding the collar on this pattern tricky.....so here's my sew-a-long.

Although I made the shirt I didn't complete this article. The pattern has been reissued as there was a mistake with the collar and facing. If you have the original pattern I'll try to explain how to make it work.

Simplicity 9157 is a loose fitting man's shirt designed to wear open at the neck. The collar is attached to the body of the shirt without an added collar stand. I know this as a combination collar.

The back is one piece with the shoulder seam placed towards the front of the natural shoulder line, so it looks like a yoke.  

The front has an optional patch pocket and 4 buttons.

There's a short slit at the bottom of the side seams which adds to the casual styling....you could sew down to the hem and miss out the slit.

There's a choice of two sleeve lengths. The long sleeve has a cuff and a continuous strip opening.

I'll explain all these things as we get to them. I'm going to make the short sleeves, but I'll still show you how to do the cuffs.

Choosing sizes and fabric.

The size range is 34-52 inch chest.

The shirt is straight so choose the size by the chest measurement unless the wearers waist is bigger than their chest. The finished chest size is 8 inches bigger than the chest measurement ...It can be a good idea to measure a shirt you know fits and compare it to the patterns finished sizes.

Any shirt weight cotton is a good choice of fabric, it's easy to work with and cool to wear. More ideas are listed on the pattern.

The instruction sheet has diagrams of all the pattern pieces. 

To cut out you need to cut round the pattern pieces and find the correct layout diagram for either shirt A or B and the width of your fabric. This can be a bit confusing ...once you've found the right one its worth putting a * next to it.

Shirt A has long sleeves and uses all the pieces...9 is just used to position the buttons and buttonholes.

Shirt B uses pieces 1-6 plus 9 for the buttons.

Cutting out and marking the fabric.

I used a checked fabric so wanted to do some pattern matching so I'll include a few tips if you want to match your fabrics design.

I might be old school, but I prefer pins and scissors.

One of the advantages of pins is they hold the fabric really accurately in place. So important when pattern matching and for transferring all the notches and dots from the pattern to the fabric. This is going to be really important for the attaching the collar.

I like to pin out towards the edge...but not over the edge to avoid damaging scissors. The tips of the pins hold the paper down accurately...especially at corners. 

Here's a few tips about pattern matching:

The centre front line is printed on the pattern. This  is the line you use to help you get the design to match once it's sewn together. I've put it on a vertical red stripe on both layer of fabric. On a patterned fabric you need to cut on a single layer and place the CF line on exactly the same part of the design you want to match.

The 2nd picture shows how to match at the side seams. Use notches and horizontal lines on the pattern. I've matched the lengthen/shorten line to a white horizontal stripe.

The 3 pocket pictures look very similar, but.......

Because I want the pocket to match the front I didn't cut it out until after I'd cut the fronts.

There's a fold line printed on the pocket pattern and I need that to match to the marks on the left front. Fold the pocket along the fold line and place it against the front (after transferring the pocket position onto the left front). It can help to take a photograph to help you remember how it matches to the fabric. 

Put the still folded pocket pattern onto spare fabric matching exactly to your photo. Mine has the fold on a white stripe and the side edges on a pale grey stripe.

Turn up the folded flap before pinning and cutting out.

Cutting out and marking the fabric.

There's so many ways to transfer pattern markings to your fabric. Here's my tutorial showing quite a few different ways. I'll show you my favourite way as I find it really accurate. Most important is know what marks to use.

I wouldn't be without my cartridge chalk pencil as it works on most fabrics and you can quickly change the colour and you can buy refills.

Notches, the triangle printed along the seams, can be cut as  a mirror image sticking out on the side of the piece. You can snip into the fabric, but that can cause problems if you use french or felled seams. In my pics I've marked them with chalk.

I made size 36 and stick a pin through the center of all the dots....the dots are all there for a reason and will match to something on other pieces. Then sperate the pieces and mark with chalk where the pin goes through the fabric

Here's a series of pictures to show you where to mark the fabric. I hope all the pins aren't too confusing. I tried to use red pins for all the dots!