The Making of a TNT Button Down Shirt

June 4, 2017   /   byCarolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic)  / Categories :  Feeds
I'm in love with button down shirts probably because I've finally truly shed my professional skin and have embraced the lifestyle of casual living. I've amassed a collection of RTW jeans, leggings, and skinny jeans that I combine with my me-mades tops, button down shirts and toppers.

Collection of button downs made this year

My Button Down Journey ~
I started this button down journey in September 2015 with Butterick 5678 and some chambray fabric. I picked this pattern because it had princess seams in the front and back giving me a fitted look but allowing me to make easy alterations because of those seams.


I made two versions of that button down but really wasn't happy with it. They fit tightly through my abdomen and bottom so that I never wore them buttoned up. Which kinda defeats the purpose of a button down, right? So I put the pattern on the back burner while I worked on some other things to beef up my wardrobe.

Late last year/early this year, I got the idea to merge Butterick 5678 with Vogue 7700. I was thinking that I could get a fitted front (from the princess seams) with a smock type back that would give me the ease I wanted and allow me to button up the shirt.

Working that pattern combo, I've made four versions. The first one was made using a Cotton & Steel fabric that at first I thought was a little too loose.


So I made some changes to the front pattern pieces to get a better fit in the front for subsequent renditions. I also chose a drapier fabric to change the way the button down hung. That resulted in one from a polyester crepe (my favorite

and a rayon version (my least favorite).

I also changed the cuffs from button up ones, to cuffs that I slip my hands through. Piping and lace became embellishments that I explored (version #4) in an attempt to find my perfect buttondown. Even after these four amazing versions I still wasn't satisfied.


Latest Version ~


I kept thinking that if I removed some of the fullness in the back but kept the yoke, I would have what I wanted. So that's what I did with this version. I also added some bias binding and buttons with history to this one because all of that print needed something to reign it in.

Construction ~
The only difference in construction was how I applied the cuffs. These were added to the sleeve, then the binding sewn to the bottom of the cuff and the side seam of the sleeve and cuff sewn together. I couldn't figure out a way to hide the bias binding in a seam, so I just sewed the side seam. Then added some stitch witchery to the seam to hold them flat against the seam. Not a pretty inside finish but it works.


A Little History of these Buttons ~
These buttons are from when I worked at Rochester Button Company, now defunct. One of the things that I was responsible for was designing the button cards that the sales people showed to prospective customers.  If we could dye a button, I started with the original and then showed dyed versions on the card. There were two great things about that - one, I used fabric swatches from my own collection to pick colors and two, I got to go to the dye places in the garment district.


It was fascinating to see the buttons dyed. Because I dyed a gross at a time, I always ended up with a couple dozen of my own. I don't believe any of those dye/warehouse places still exist in the garment district. Since all of the space that was located by 9th and 10th Avenues has been turned into either apartment buildings or hotels. However, if I'm wrong and someone knows if some of them survived, please leave a comment below. It would be interesting to hear about them!

A Few Pictures of This One ~
The skirt worn with this buttondown is a 
ponte skirt I made a few years ago.




...and worn with my Clarks black suede & leather sneakers

Conclusion ~
Honestly this will not be the last one of these and I will probably continue to mess around with the pattern pieces, as well as the embellishments. There is one more on my summer sewing list but I can guarantee you that some combination of this pattern & fabric will appear this fall. I love the way these make me feel, yet will fit into with my work environment. Maybe a little more dressed than the employees in shorts and flip flops but that's not a look I can really pull off anymore! *LOL*


Finally, I think one of my last posts said that I was going to work on another Lenox Shirtdress after this shirt was finished. However, after moving my spring/summer wardrobe to the front of the closet, I have a hankering to make a few Concord Tees. So that's what's up next on the blog!

...as always more later!

This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

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Sewing Space Tours… Jade’s Kitsch Haven!

Sewing Space Tours... Jade's Kitsch Haven!

Hello! Lexy here, to bring you another lovely Sewing Space, where a crafter show us around their creative area. Today we have a sweet space in South Wales, belonging to a dressmakers who has an enviable 60s style handmade wardrobe – we love seeing her makes on Instagram. Let’s hear more from the lady herself…

Hello! I’m Jade, welcome to my little sewing sanctuary in sunny South Wales. I am relatively new to the realms of dressmaking and have only really been getting to know my way around a sewing machine for the past three years. By day I work in an office-based role in Bristol but by night can be found in my little sewing haven, musing over my next big make.

Sewing Space Tours... Jade's Kitsch Haven!

Sewing Space Tours... Jade's Kitsch Haven!

I have always been a creative individual and have enjoyed crafting from a young age. At university I studied Graphic Design, which instilled my admiration of beautiful craftsmanship and contemporary design. There was a time when I believed my love for fashion and textiles would be limited to high street trending ready-to-wear garments. Learning of the wonderful indie sewing makers movement really changed all of this for me and after pouring over many inspirational sewing blogs (including Tilly and the Buttons!), I wanted in! In the beginning I attended a brilliant beginners dressmaking class and learnt basic skills and techniques but soon realised that if I was going to take the next step I’d need to make some room at home to build upon these skills!

Sewing Space Tours... Jade's Kitsch Haven!

I started off sewing at home at my kitchen table but soon yearned for a larger space to store all of my dressmaking paraphernalia, which was growing at an alarming rate! Two thirds of my spare bedroom has thus been transformed to home a retro writing desk, some shelving, a storage trolley and a few trinkets to decorate. Overall I’d probably say that my space has a bit of a kitsch vibe about it while still being quite minimalistic. I try not to sprout out too much as the other the other third of the room is occupied by my rather understanding boyfriend who uses his space for his photography hobby, and our pet lizard (‘Lizzy’).

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Quirky storage boxes and prettily patterned tins are a bit of a weak spot – I love a good storage solution! Not only do I find it quite therapeutic categorising all of my notions, tools, threads, patterns and fabric but I also find it much easier to pick up a project if I know where everything is. Working in the week means that sewing time is precious in the evenings and this is why having a dedicated sewing space is so great, as it saves time having to set things up and pack things away all of the time. I try and sew a few times a week but generally have more time to get stuck into a project over the weekend, usually with a nice cup of tea and some biccies.

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I am a bit of a planner and like to make a mood board to help me decide how the final garment I am making might look – the idea stage is just as fun as the construction! In addition to our resident gecko I have two gorgeous little helpers who keep me company while making, Henry and Coco the Chihuahuas. Coco is a puppy and can often be seen running around the house having fun with rogue scraps or on occasions a snail (pin-free) pincushion!

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I’m not much of a fabric hoarder and only really have two main stashes of fabric. Interestingly my stashes mainly comprise of patterned fabrics that I’ve had for a couple of years now before I discovered my fondness for plainer fabrics. I love interesting prints but soon realised that although the pieces I’d bought were really striking, often they wouldn’t be something that I would necessarily wear. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards plain, bold coloured fabrics and sew them up straight away, so they don’t hang about for long!

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As you can probably see I don’t have a great deal of space in my sewing area and unfortunately can’t quite squeeze in another desk for my overlocker. For this reason I hacked an Ikea footstool into an overlocking station by attaching a couple of tin trays, a few hooks and a lick of paint which now means that I can sew and overlock with ease – yay!

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Although I am a fairly new sewist, dressmaking has been in my family for generations. My most treasured possession is my dressmaking scissors given to me by my lovely mum who was a fanatical dressmaker herself! My mum sadly passed a couple of years ago and every time I use these scissors to make a garment it gives me a warming sense of pride and connection.

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My favourite guilty pleasure of all (even more so than fabric shopping!) is acquiring vintage sewing patterns. My pattern collection comprises of a few commercial patterns, lots of lovely indie patterns (notably Tilly and the Buttons of course) and my beloved, ever growing collection of vintage sewing patterns. Over the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to collect patterns from various decades including the 40s, 50s and 70s but my favourite decade of all has to be the swinging 60s! I love the futuristic undertones in the styling of many of the garments from this period paired with the flamboyant expressions of colour.

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I think a wonderful thing about vintage sewing patterns is that they all have a story to tell and it is quite remarkable to think that they are still being enjoyed decades after they were first printed. I try to keep the most delicate patterns in cellophane sleeves, away from the sunlight to prevent them from aging any further and when it’s time to use a pattern, I tend to trace off all of the pieces onto tissue paper to try and preserve the original pattern pieces. Etsy and eBay are a vintage-pattern treasure trove but I have also found a couple of gems at vintage fairs…it can be a bit addictive though! The sky’s the limit… well, my spare room for now!

Thank you so much for letting me share my little sewing space with you!



Thank you for sharing your lovely space with us, Jade. We’d love to spend an afternoon sewing with you, especially if Henry and Coco are around to assist! 


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