There are few patterns that I buy immediately on release day, but the Perkins Shirt by Ensemble Patterns was one of them. When I saw it, I immediately thought of this shirt on my Pinterest board (which may or may not have been her inspiration, who knows), and I had to have it.
But first, let’s talk about this tencel shirting (sold out) from Indiesew, because I was equally as obsessed when Allie released it. Unfortunately, I didn’t act fast enough and it sold out in hours. I learned my lesson and when it was restocked and Allie said she wouldn’t be able to restock after it was gone, I bought it right away! I feel like it’s hard to find a lot of good purple fabrics, so when I saw this one, I couldn’t resist. Fun fact: this was one of the colors on my wedding day! It’s my husband Dallas’s favorite color. 🙂
Now to start out, I am very happy with how this shirt turned out! I have worn it multiple times since finishing it and would probably make it again if I had the urge. But to be honest, making it was a bit frustrating. I was mostly frustrated with the instructions. In the past 4 years of sewing I have used a lot of indie sewing patterns, and the majority of them are very well designed, easy to follow and understand (illustrations + instructions), and easy to find the things I am looking for. With this pattern, the instructions and illustrations were a little vague and I found myself scratching my head in quite a few places.
I feel like I have a pretty good eye for design, but when I was looking through the instructions for this pattern, I was a bit disappointed. I understand that the design is supposed to be cool and stylish, but in this pattern, the design got in the way of the information. When I looked at some of the pages, I didn’t know where to look to find the information I needed. I definitely felt like the information was crammed together and could have been organized better. Since it’s a PDF pattern, I think a lot more pages could have been utilized to space things out and make the whole thing more readable.
When I got to sewing the yoke, I followed the instructions, and I started to doubting myself because the instructions didn’t seem to match the illustrations. I just pushed onward, and when I pulled the shirt out of the yoke, it was done the right way, but I am still confused about what I was supposed to do.
The collar construction also wasn’t as detailed as I’m used to, so I opened another pattern’s instructions that also has a mandarin collar. That sort of helped, but I had missed some beginning steps that would have made it easier, and the collar didn’t turn out as great as I would have hoped. I’m also confused and why the spot on the placket in between my first and second button isn’t laying flat. Should the button hole have been angled more?
The only other thing I struggled with was closing up the collar, and this was my own fault… I missed most of the inside collar while I was top stitching, so I used this video to learn how to slip stitch the rest closed, and it worked great! I really love the detail of the plackets, the gathering at the front and back, and the mandarin collar (despite my struggles with it).
On the positive, I really like the finished product. The pattern pieces did fit together really well, and I didn’t have to make any adjustments for the length since I made the tunic version. The shirt has a great fit, and when I was finished sewing the buttons, I wore it the whole rest of the day! I’ve also worn it multiple times since finishing it.
If you are a beginner sewist or if you are new to sewing button-up shirts, I highly recommend starting with the Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June or the Bonn Shirt and Dress by Itch to Stitch as an introduction to button-ups. Both have excellent instructions and a confident beginner could definitely handle either pattern. I’ve made both and you can see my Cheyenne Tunic here, or my Bonn Dress here!
All of that to say that I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to a beginner sewist. This is my 8th collar and 6th yoke, and I ended up doing every step correctly, but it was a very confusing process. So, if you’ve made a few button up shirts and you’re familiar with doing a yoke and collar – go for it, because you will love the shirt. But I really hope you’re a lot less confused than I was. Regardless of my frustrations while making this shirt, this is still going to be me every time I wear it. 🙂 (pictured below)