Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Japanese Shirt Pattern plus Vertical Button/Buttonhole Placement Tutorial.

The first Japanese Sewing Week has started and I sort of cheated my way into it. But I will tell you about that later.
The series is arranged by my good and talented friend Sara from Made by Sara. You can read all about the series HERE. In that post you can also find a link party so YOU can join in on the Japanese sewing fun.
In the end of this post you will find a great giveaway with prizes such as Japanese Sewing books from Tuttle Publishing and a fabric voucher to Urban Sew.  

You know what a giant fan I am of Japanese Sewing patterns. Not only of the aesthetics but just as much because I 8 out of 10 times agree on the suggested technique - which I find remarkable since techniques can be somewhat of a subjective matter. I'm always in awe of the illustrations in the books. They are clear, precise and informative and 100% make up for the fact that I (obviously) do not understand a word of the Japanese tutorial text.

It was the great and informative Japanese Sewing Book Series on the blog You & Mie that gave me the bits of information that I needed (e.g. the japanese sign/word for CB which is always good to know, right!) to dare to try them out and I have not looked back since. I highly recommend that you start there if you have never tried sewing from them before.

Let's get to my contribution. I have dreamt of making this shirt ever since I saw Celina making it for the Shades of Me series. Find the post HERE.

It is from the book Simple Chic. I also made those two knits tunics I posted about two weeks ago from from that book. 

So how did I cheat myself into the series. Well, you know that I try to stay away from series because they come with a deadline and that does not work so well for me since my blog is a hobby. BUT when I got the invitation I had already made this shirt. It was hanging in my sewing room and was just waiting to be photographed, so that was exactly the kick I needed to get it out of there.

The reason for the procrastination was because I was not sure it turned out the way I hoped. More precise I was worried that the fabric (delicious organic cotton double gauze from Organic Cotton Plus) did not have enough drape for this type of shirt and that I looked more square than you are suppose to in styles like this.

So it was actually only when I looked at the photos that I realized that I actually really like it on me and I have used it many times since, doh!

I changed the pattern a little bit. The book both have a dress and a shirt version and I made something right in between - I guess you can call it tunic length.

It's pattern C and it only comes in one size which took me quite a while to figure out while I looked the pattern sheet over and over haha. So now you are spared that waste of time!

It is a VERY roomy style (and a fabric with lots of drape (silk, rayon etc) would work great with the original shape - just like Celina's.
So after making a muslin and knowing that I would make it with double gauze, I ended up making it quite a lot more narrow. I took 2.5 cm / 1" off the CB bodice piece and then the same from the front center piece. But I took it off on the side that is sewed together with the front side piece not at the very center where the buttons are. (I hope that makes sense?!)
So it became 10 cm / 4" less wide in total. 

If you remove from the center back piece just remember also to adjust your collar piece otherwise it will be too big. In other words you are making your neck opening smaller too.

Here is a look from the back. 
And for the 100th time did I wish I had a stylist with me when I'm taking photos that could just give that collar a hand stroke so it would lie down nicely. Yeah, I know...I'm obsessing over tiny ridiculous details!

I made the shirt version and added length to it. You could probably also choose the dress version and shorten it. (I think the collar fits both since the styles are called C-1 and 2 but I haven't actually checked).
I think I added about 15 cm / 6" to the length in total. I didn't bother to add any width at the bottom even though it would now had to cover my bum because I knew those gathered side inserts would add plenty of width.

I absolutely love those gathered side inserts and I'm almost feeling proud of myself for not color blocking least this time.

I have wanted to talk about button placement forever and well, this post is as good as any, right. Especially since it contains a garment with buttons, haha.

Buttons are not placed in the middle of a buttonhole. 
I'm going to focus on vertical buttonholes in this post and a button is placed so that the stitches used to sew the button in is holding the buttonhole in place. So you button your shirt and then you pull the side with the buttonholes down (the wearer's right side if you are a woman and left if you are a man) and at the same time pull up in the side with buttons and boom you have a shirt placket that stays in place.

And I know it looks like I totally screwed up the placement of those side pieces with gathers (another thing to think about when placing buttons: lining horizontal lines up across from each other), and I have several times gasped and grabbed my measuring tape but they ARE at the same height. It's simply because of the width of the shirt that it does not always looks like it. I'm the type that could not handle one being higher than the other....I know, I know I need help, hehe.

Okay, back to the tutorial:

SO to measure where to put your buttonholes you start by placing your top button on the garment (where it eventually will be buttoned through a buttonhole and end up being visible). The buttonhole has to start 2 millimeters above the top hole(s) in the button. Use your preferred way of marking buttonholes. I stick a pin through the top hole of the button and then I lift the button off the pin and move the pin up 2 millimeters. (I use slim pins with a tiny head all in metal in case you wondered).

Next step is deciding where you want your lowest button placed. Marking method is obviously the same.

I realize that many women have to start by determine where the button over their bust has to be placed as the very first thing (to avoid gaping over the chest) and then place buttons upwards and downwards from there but the principles are still kind of the same although the math is of course a tiny bit different.

Third step is to decide/determine how many buttons you want on your placket in total. I simply play around with the buttons and see what looks the best. You obviously do not want a too big gap between them and you do not want a too small because that means more buttonsholes to make, gah.

Now that you have determined/decided on total number of buttons, you need to measure from the start of the top buttonhole to the START of the bottom buttonhole, divide with ONE LESS than the total numbers of buttons, mark all your button holes and get started.

Let's do an example:

So if the total number of buttons are 8 like this shirt and the full measurement (from top buttonhole to top of bottom buttonhole) is 60 cm / 24". Then divide 60 cm with 7 (one less than the total number of buttons remember). That will give you the measurement from top to top of each buttonhole all the way down: 60 / 7 =  8.6 cm.

I don't know if anyone need this information or everyone is doing it this way but hey, now it is here!

I also wanted to give you my opinion about when to use vertical buttonholes versus horizontal buttonholes. 
So in my opinion as soon as there is a placket or a stitch creating a placket effect I think vertical buttonholes looks the best.

In other words the only times I use horizontal buttonholes are in blazers, vests or skirts with no stitching along the front. I have two reasons for it and the first one is pure aesthetics (and therefor subjective). The other reason is more practical but since I'm not talking about horizontal buttonholes in this post I'm going to save it for another time, sorry but this post is already long enough, ha.  

Lastly I wanted to give you an example of how to style it for another occasion.... like leaving the house and not pick up kids or go grocery shopping, hehe. I love the contrast of the cropped jacket with the long tunic under. The jacket is from my favorite Danish brand Baum und Pferdgarten and after borrowing it from my sister so many times she finally gave up and gave it to me. Yippie.

Okay, I definitely think I need to stop rambling now and you need to enter this giveaway is you haven't already!

Good luck!

And please check out all the other incredible participants. They truly are an honor to post together with!
There will be links to all the posts on Sara's blog HERE.

Thank you!


  1. I'm happy you cheated your way in, otherwise who knew when we got to see this beauty! Love the shirt, those gathers are just perfect. You look beautiful! I'm always afraid to try a shirt because of the buttonholes. I tend to run from them! But I think I'll give them a go with your tutorial.

  2. Sweety you look amazing! That shirt is adorable <3

  3. A divine tunic & I'm also lusting after that jacket!

  4. It´s spot on fit! The fact that you narrowed it down made it work even better with that fabric! I think looser fits tend to work better on drapier fabrics like Celina´s beautiful yellow version. But of course you knew that already, ha! You look wonderful in it <3 Really loved the button tutorial, I was so needing it!

  5. Love the shirt/tunic and it looks great on you! The gathers are beautiful and the fit is perfect!

  6. This is beautiful, I'm so happy you came around to take the photos and realized its perfect! <3 You look gorgeous. And I can't wait to see the color blocked version I know you're making someday hehehe ;) I know you know this but when I grow up I want to sew perfection like you, such a long way with my lack of patience hahah but you made me improve already a lot so thank you for being so inspiring. And for really useful tutorials, now it makes even more sense the vertical buttons, as soon as I read the placket thing it became evident. :D Absolute perfection! <3

  7. GUAPA!!!! I love the tunic! It suits you really well! Tks for the tutorial... learning with the best! :)

  8. Wow ... never been tempted to try Japanese pattern books, but this makes me have second thoughts!! Love it!! (drape is perfect).

  9. The tunic looks great on you, and I love it with the red jacket!

  10. Ohhh my gosh, you look amazing. I love that fabric, it seems so confortable. I mean who can resist spots!!!

  11. Is very pretty! and you look amazing in it. It is something I would wear, the colour, fabric and style...although I would be worried of looking very big, sort of whale type lol... then narrowing the pattern is a fantastic idea! thanks for the tutorial of the buttons, really helpful :)

  12. Absolutely gorgeous on you!
    I do love the fit on you - amazing (thank you for cheating, btw) :)

  13. Both fabric and shirt are gorgeous on you! Or maybe it's you that are gorgeous on them... 😉 Learned something with you today! Thank you ❤️

  14. Fun fun! I'm glad you cheated your way in too! I got a new Japanese sewing book I need to try. What a great push! Love the fabric you chose for your garment.

  15. Thanks for the buttonhole tips! Hoping to win the books!!

  16. Love the tunic! and the tutorial is so interesting.

  17. Looking good Mie! The tunic suits you perfectly. I'm with you when it comes to uneven heights for plackets and pockets and the like. Drives me nuts!

  18. The tunic looks wonderful on you and those side gathers are lovely. Nice fabric, too - I love those tiny dots. I appreciate the buttonhole tips! I always sew vertical ones on plackets now, just because my machine handles them better than the horizontal kind (and I hate, hate, hate unpicking messed-up buttonholes!).

  19. I really love this top on you! The side gathers are such a nice touch. Thank you for the buttonhole tips!

  20. Wonderful tunic. I love the coulor and the style !

  21. Mie, your tunic looks wonderful! Such a lovely colour on you. I really like this style. Thank you for the tutorial :)

  22. Hello Mie, the tĂșnica looks great on you and the fabric choice is beautiful and perfect for it.

  23. Hello Mie, the tĂșnica looks great on you and the fabric choice is beautiful and perfect for it.

  24. Ah, Mie, you look great. Love that shirt!

  25. I love shirts. And I love this one. The pattern is unique and interesting. Everything looks great and the button placement notice - very useful!

  26. Your version is absolutely adorable! Your review is worth the wait -- I wouldn't have realized that the pattern could be so cute without seeing your version!


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Thank you!