Sew-along with us!
Perhaps you'd like some company while you sew? We've sewn up each of our patterns and photographed each step along the way. Find the pattern you're after in the filter drop down below left.
It’s the last day of our sew-along today! You're beautifully sewn shirt is just about ready to wear.
To finish our shirts, let’s begin with the hem – a quick and easy task! Press up the hem allowance 1/4″:
Press up the hem again 1/4″ to enclose the raw edge:
I like that the curved hemline at the hip doesn’t interfere with pressing the hem. It’s just the right amount of curve to provide shaping without bunching up at the peak.
Stitch along the entire hem.
And now, let’s move on to our buttons! While many people dread sewing buttonholes (I can’t say I look forward to them myself), there is no need to get too uptight – just use a few tools and tricks and you will be surprised how professional they look when you are done!
I like to use our expanding gauge to mark my buttonholes. I generally ignore buttonhole markings on the pattern pieces and instead place my primary buttonholes at important points before spacing the rest evenly between them. When sewing shirts for Matt I ensure that a button is placed at the widest point of his chest and also that the top button is placed nicely. He likes to leave the collar stand button undone (as most men do when they are not wearing a tie) so it is important that the top button is not set too low so as to expose a bunch of chest hair or something! If the person you are sewing for has a rounded belly, make sure to put a buttonhole at the area of greatest strain so that the shirt does not pull open.
Even though the buttonholes are sewn vertically, I like to make a horizontal marking – this way I can use this marking as a placement for my presser foot and the top of the buttonhole. I then use my placket top stitching as a guide to keep the buttonhole exactly in the center of the placket. The top stitching is easier to see while sewing with a buttonhole attachment than a vertical chalk marking would be.
Make sure to make a practice buttonhole before you begin on your shirt! I tend to choose a buttonhole length that is slightly longer than my button. For instance, I am using 3/8″ wide buttons (from our shop) for this shirt so I sewed a 1/2″ buttonhole. This extra length allows the button to slip in and out easily.
Apply your buttonholes to the collar stand, shirt front, and cuffs. If you like, sew the bottom button hole on your shirt front horizontally. You could even opt for a fun contrast thread for this bottom buttonhole. This flashy little detail is quite common on store bought shirts and is a great way to add a bit of creative flair to such a traditional garment.
I find the trickiest part of sewing buttonholes actually occurs after the sewing is finished! It is quite devastating to make a mistake when cutting open your buttonhole.
My favorite way to open buttonholes is with the extremely sharp chisel that we sell in our shop. I didn’t even need to use a hammer to cut these buttonholes – I just pressed down with the chisel and they sliced open in the most satisfying manner.
The chisel is 1/2″ wide so it was the perfect width for my buttonholes. The inside of the hole looks so tidy when it is cut this way!
Alternatively, you can use some sharp and precise scissors (such as the Merchant & Mills buttonhole scissors in our shop) or employ your seam ripper.
I highly recommend using a fresh and sharp seam ripper and a preventative pin at either end of the buttonhole to prevent cutting through your buttonhole and adding a gaping slice to your carefully sewn shirt! You can see how this preventive pinning technique works near the bottom of this tutorial by Made Everyday.
Lastly, it’s time to add our buttons! If you are matching stripes across the shirt, be very careful with your button placement. Position the button so that it will sit near the top of each buttonhole. If you simply place the button at the center of each buttonhole you will find that the buttons slip up to the top of the holes during wear and your stripes will look like they are not properly matched!
If your buttons tend to work loose or fall off over time (mine used to constantly!), you might like to check out the button sewing technique that I learned in design school. It was (almost) worth the cost of tuition to learn this technique alone!
And, that’s it!!! We are done!!! I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with this sew-along. I can’t wait to share some of your finished Fairfield Shirts next Friday. Be sure to share your makes by email (email@example.com) or by using #fairfieldbuttonup
Even if you can’t photograph your shirt on a model (don’t ruin the Father’s Day surprise for your dad by asking him to model before Sunday!), you can photograph your shirt hanging from a clothes line or pleasingly folded up beside your sewing machine. Whatever sort of photo shoot you come up with will be perfect – it makes my day seeing your finished makes, your fabric choices and your design decisions.
Thanks for following along! Happy sewing!
Today I want to show you an inspiring selection of Fairfield Button-up Shirts sewn by you as well as the finished Ikat Fairfield that I sewed during our sew-along.
Matt really loves this print and I think the indigo blue looks lovely with his brownish/blue eyes.
I’m really happy with the casual look that the contrast Tagua Nut buttons gave to the shirt. The amber color looks very summery against the blue – like the sun against a blue sky!
I decided to sew the buttons on by forming a cross with my shirt to echo the print of the fabric (usually I sew two horizontal lines when working with four hole buttons…sort of like train tracks). I’m not sure if this echoing of the motif is too subtle that it is virtually unnoticeable. I notice it though!
Matt really likes how the print placement worked out on the back yoke. I’m glad I decided against placing the yoke on the bias. I think the print was just a bit too large in scale for this cutting technique to have been effective. I’m pretty pleased that the print matches along the collar and yoke at center back!
With all the shirt sewing that I’ve been doing lately, Matt’s closet is beginning to look quite fresh and full! I have been choosing his fabrics with a general theme of “blue and bright” since last winter his wardrobe had become almost exclusively dull brown and olive green. The influx of a few bright colored items has made a huge difference! I might do a photo shoot of his new shirt wardrobe soon – all of the prints and colors look really nice together.
Now, the best part of this blog post – it’s time to show off your Fairfield Shirts!
_ym.sews_ achieved beautifully crisp cuffs and excellent print placement for her plaid Fairfield. I love the careful use of contrast fabric for the cuff facing, collar stand and yoke facing!
tiny_needles whipped up this Fairfield so quickly! It was the first Fairfield Button-up that I saw in the wild after our pattern release. Her boyfriend wore this very dapper shirt for their anniversary celebrations.
One of our test sewers, Sarah, sewed this fresh and summery Fairfield for her husband. I like how the sleeve tabs add such versatility to this shirt. With the sleeves full length it looks very dressy but with the sleeves rolled up it takes on an airy and comfortable vibe that could easily work with brightly colored shorts!
After completing her first Fairfield Button-up, Sarah immediately cut out another one – this time for her brother! She had a lot of fun playing around with the stripes (she added a seam down center back) and she added some hidden froggy details. Isn’t the frog peaking out of the front pocket such a great idea?! She added a lining to the pocket to achieve this detail.
These three Fairfields have been sewn by bego_aguilera_caballero, Ana, and sewing_dutch. The whimsical print on Begoña’s shirt is just lovely (especially with those dreamy houseplants as a backdrop). Ana sewed the band collar (available in our Alternate Collars free download) on her green linen shirt. The band collar and linen are a match made in heaven! Lastly, the subtle floral yoke adds such hanger appeal to Becca’s shirt. She also sewed a striped grosgrain ribbon down the right front of her shirt which adds structure (for stronger buttons) and the perfect contrast if the top button is left undone.
And last, here is a great example by scaredstitchless of how much fun you can have when sewing a wearable mock-up! Quilting cottons provide a limitless palette of bold colors and unique prints. I’m impressed that she managed to find perfectly matched orange buttons!
Thank you, everyone, for joining me on the Fairfield Sew-along and for sharing your Fairfield photos by emailing me or by using #fairfieldbuttonup ! It’s been a thrill to see how smart your shirts look. If anyone has wrapped up their shirt to give on Father’s Day, I look forward to hearing about the grand reveal!