I won’t defend the 1999 B-movie The Mummy (it’s bad), but I will watch it, and enjoy it, and decide I need a shirt inspired by explorer gear of the early-twenty-first-century, and then I will watch The Mummy Returns and probably also The Scorpion King, if I’m honest.
I love archeological adventures and pastiches – Christie’s Come, Tell Me How You Live, many works by Elizabeth Peters (especially Vicky Bliss), even Romancing the Stone. And what is every explorer issued alongside their tall boots, leather satchel, and hunky travelling companion? An open-necked white linen shirt, of course, preferably filthy!
Mine isn’t filthy (yet?)! These photos were taken after a picnic and I dropped no chicken or plum juice on myself, hooray hooray!
I used S1166, currently OOP. I found my copy on Etsy; after reading the many helpful posts on Pattern Review, I decided to order the larger size range. And thank goodness, too! The reviews were unanimous: the paper pattern does not reflect the sample on the packet. The pattern sleeves are far more conventional and narrow, and the body of the shirt is too short and difficult to tie. The collar is appropriately gigantic, though. I sewed a muslin with a size 16 body width and collar, 24 sleeve, and 24 body length, and found all of this to be true.
Initially, I traced the 24 line for the armscye, but it was too short overall for the 24 sleeve because of the narrower width of the size 16 body (this is obvious typing it out, but it surprised me at the time). I ended up having to lop a couple inches of width off of the sleeve to match, and so lost the benefit of the larger size.
I wanted big batwing-y sleeves, though, so I put my head down and came up with this solution – if I integrated the bust dart into the armscye, I could have a wider sleeve and theoretically still get the benefit of the dart. It meant changing the angle of the seam, but I thought it cut in too deeply, anyway.
After making the changes, above, I adjusted the back of the shirt to match at the side seam. Then I walked the sleeve piece along the new armscye to check and voila, the 24 sleeve fit!
Now That’s What I Call Sleeves™!
I don’t know if merging the dart into a seam accomplished anything else, but I don’t need any more space or fabric in the bust. I consulted the Olya Shirt sewalong to sew that corner seam and it worked like a charm. Bodes well for all Paper Theory Patterns, I think!
I made possibly my single favorite adjustment when sewing any shirt, changing the collar to a one-piece collar, which altered the angle of the collar point slightly but didn’t affect its big ol’ bigness.
I didn’t need the 4 asked-for buttons on the shirt. I narrowed the facings – because I prefer to topstitch mine, there’s no flapping or flipping – and centered 3 buttons on the right front facing. The collar wants to fold over at the button, not the edge, so I probably should have sewn them closer to the edge.
Instead of using the back facing piece, I sewed a yoke. It’s clean, I find it easier, and it’s as simple as a straight line.
That extra 4th button is back here, keeping the collar sli-ii-ightly supported!
Overall I’m happy with this shirt! A couple inches longer would probably be a couple inches better, and if I was sewing it again I would have ironed a scrap of interfacing on the corners of the armscyes, but I worked this pattern around to pretty much where I wanted it. It’s comfortable, it’s highly unlikely to accumulate summer pit stains, and the cartoonishness of the sleeves and collar is pretty fun. In terms of specific aesthetics, well…
What’s the opposite of ahoy? Um…bye!
Pattern cost: $9.75
Size: 16, with 24 length/sleeve and further adjustments listed above
Supplies: 2 yards of Kaufman Brussels Washer linen in white, $15.66, Fabric.com; buttons, $1.53, Gather Here
Total time: 5.5 hours
Total cost: $27.24