Sewn Sustainably Blog


Find out about the patterns we use, what we've been sewing, what's cool in sustainable fashion and our inspirations.

Why you need to make the Classic White Shirt

By Sewn Sustainably, Jul 21 2016 04:37PM

Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits
Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits

For decades, the classic white shirt has been a staple addition to a woman's wardrobe. It looks equally fantastic as smart office wear or paired with denim for a casual weekend ensemble. It's such a versatile, timeless garment that it transcends trends. The white shirt is not only the workhorse of any wardrobe, but also the foundation of a sophisticated, elegant outfit.

However, finding the perfect shirt is a different matter. In my experience, some shirts have been too tight on the bust, not long enough or too fitted. I want a white shirt that works for any occasion, pretty much like the white shirt as worn by Marilyn in the photo above.

Inspired by recent high-street trends, I started looking for a sewing pattern that would give me a more relaxed fit. I didn't want my shirt to be completely 'boyfriend' style but just a comfortable, 'loose' fit that would work well over or tucked into jeans and trousers.

My search led me to sewing pattern Vogue 1462, which I believe is so perfect for the dream white shirt. Although it's designed to be made out of lighter, drapier fabrics such as charmeuse, I decided to go with my instinct and use an organic cotton poplin. Crispier in its finish, the poplin afforded me the structure I wanted and works wonderfully with the shaped hem featured in the pattern. It also has a hidden button placket, which gives such a clean finish, it's hard to find anything wrong with this pattern.

This pattern features hidden button placket, pocket options (welt or basic patch pocket), standard collar band and collar, sleeves with cuff and placket and an interesting curved hem line. It's a very satisfying make and a great dive into the world of making shirts. For my version, I extended the back hem having seen some similar examples in highstreet chain Whistles' Summer range.

Side view of Vogue 1462 shirt
Side view of Vogue 1462 shirt

If you love the look of this shirt and need this fundamental garment in your wardrobe, then why not try our Classic White Shirt class which takes place on 8th and 15th October 2016 in Cambridge. Running over two Saturdays, the class will take you through the steps of constructing this shirt, with homework to do in the week between each Saturday. The class costs £125 and you get a great package - included is the printed pattern, organic cotton poplin, organic thread and standard shirt buttons. You'll also walk away having learned key shirt-making techniques and a fabulous new white shirt!

To register, visit our Classic White Shirt class page.

Jul 22 2016 12:08PM by Anne

I'm interested in your projects and ideal as two of my daughters live in Cambridge so accommodation sorted. Unfortunately I am already engaged on Saturday 15th October. Will you have additional dates? I can make 8th October but clearly that's not enough on its own. Thanks

Jul 22 2016 01:06PM by sewn-london

Hi Anne, thank you for your comment. I will definitely be looking to secure more dates for the shirt class. Can you email me ( your availability from late October-November? Thank you.

Jul 22 2016 03:59PM by Laurie

This is so exciting! Totally agree with you on the classic white shirt. Congrats on your new venture... So very happy for you!

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