Silk Boyfriend Shirt Header Image

Spring Staple: Silk Boyfriend Shirt

April 1, 2014 · 47 comments

If I had to name my all-time favourite go-to item of clothing it would be my pale denim boyfriend shirt. Over the last few years I have worn my way through a few renditions of this item, the current one being a recent purchase from GAP. I have got through multiple because I wear them over anything and everything, cami’s, lace tees, vest tops around the house. I love how comfy it is and because I don’t seem to have any kind of internal temperature control it suits me perfectly that it is light weight but has sleeves. Oh and they absolutely get better the more they get washed- which in my case is of course it a lot!

So with this love story in mind it made absolutely no sense to me that I have never made a boyfriend shirt of any description, denim or otherwise. I have made plenty of shirts and shirt dresses but never the style I wear regularly… very odd! I set about remedying this as I decided I wanted to make sure that the staples of my Spring wardrobe were covered before the things I felt more like sewing than wearing (strange disease that one…!) I initially wanted a nice white cotton one and subsequently decided to add a silk one to the list too!

At first I decided to use the lovely, well discussed Archer pattern from Grainline Studio and did actually get as far as purchasing it online.  Once faced with the sticking together of the PDF pages however  it occurred to me that my attempt at laziness was likely scuppered and that it would probably be quicker for me to draft the shirt to my personal measurements rather than stick, trace, alter, toile and alter again! Of course there was no guarantee that I would need to alter the Archer pattern but my very high square shoulders, shallow armscye and long torso usually result in several tweaks!

I referred to one of my best fitting ready- to- wear shirts whilst drafting- being sure to have nice high armscyes for plenty of arm- wiggling capability. There is nothing I like less than a garment that restricts me being able to reach the coffee from the kitchen shelf (if any of you find you have the same fitting issue your arnscyes are probably too low and are pinning your arms slightly to your sides). The day I learnt to remedy this was a joyous day, if any of you would like more details let me know below and I will add a tutorial to the blog.

Silk Boyfriend Shirt Front

Working with the silk had its challenges but I have covered these in my next post: Tips for working with silk, so I won’t go into detail here. The construction of a shirt in and of itself is a little time consuming but once you have done a collar and sleeve placket  a few times they de- mystify themselves. For those of you who want to sew a shirt for the first time I highly recommend checking out Jen’s Archer sew along, she covers all the niggly details that can be off- putting at first.

Silk Shirt Side

Silk Boyfriend Shirt Back

Since making this silk version I have  made one up in a Liberty print  for my Marmee ( my name for my mum since discovering Little Women as a girl) for Mother’s day that is over on my instagram for anyone who wants a peek. There is nothing nicer and easier to work with than tana lawn after three silk projects back to back! Expect a few cotton Boyfriend shirts to appear on here in the not too distant future! Hehe!

Silk Shirt with Bag

This silk one is made using Beckford silk’s medium weight crepe in natural white, the same fabric as my Emily top. I am also wearing it with the same Hollister jeans and Dune shoes and my favourite black handbag from Kate Spade.

Hope you are all enjoying some new season sewing too. What is your favourite item of clothing and why?- and did you make it?

Thanks for reading

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Gemma April 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm

This is so lovely. Real classic piece and the relaxed, fluidity of the silk sits beautifully with the shape of the shirt. Oh to have your abilities!! : )

Gemma
fadedwindmills.com
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Ah thanks Gemma! :)
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Lady Stitcher April 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Beautiful shirt, really great fit and drape! I love shirt dresses and despite collecting about half a dozen different patterns over the past year, I’ve only just made my first one! I think self-drafting a shirt is beyond me (maybe some day!), but it’s really interesting to hear your process.
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Thanks Sue! I’m with you on collecting patterns quicker than sewing them! Hehe :)
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Andrea April 1, 2014 at 7:19 pm

This shirt is super adorable. I wish I was to the point of being able to draft my own clothes. In the mean time, I’ll definitely have to take a look at the Archer, and I’d love a tutorial on how you adjust the armscyes.
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Yep the Archer is a lovely pattern Andrea, you should absolutely check it out! Armscye tutorial coming up :)
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Claire April 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Please Please Please tell us about armcycle raising. I would dearly love to be able to reach top shelves when wearing sleeves.

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Jennifer April 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Yes, please post a tutorial!

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Will do ladies :) It is such an annoying fitting issue isn’t it!
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Ginger April 1, 2014 at 9:07 pm

This is so, so lovely! I’m really impressed! I live in boyfriend shirts, and love the idea of making a silk version for slightly dressier occasions. Beautiful work!
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Aw thanks so much! Boyfriend shirts are the best aren’t they! :)
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Flower Wild April 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I love this so much. Looking forward to your post about working with silk, I can’t wait to give it a try myself
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Thank you! Coming up next :)
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Flower Wild April 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I love this so much. Looking forward to your post about working with silk, I can’t wait to give it a try myself
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ellebougies April 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm

This is stunning! Amazing work. I certainly hope to one day be able to draft patterns for my body, but I’d definitely love tips on adjusting armscyes in the meantime!
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Ah thank you! Armscye tutorial coming up!
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Bec Stitches April 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

So cute as always :)
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Ah thanks! :)
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Kati April 2, 2014 at 7:48 am

Stunning! I love how the silk flows!
I’m working on the Colette Iris shorts, and planning to make a shirt dress followed by a cotton lawn blouse. Will definitely put the Archer pattern on my wish list. As a beginner I find sew alongs really helpful.
I would love to be able to draft my own patterns. I have many books on the topic, however I think I shouldn’t try to run before I can walk. :-)
Looking forward to the tutorial!

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Kati April 2, 2014 at 7:51 am

Oh, could you please cover interfacing and which thread you like using with silks as well. I love in debt details. Thank you!

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm

No probs at all Kati, will do! :)
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Louise April 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

I’ve loved both of your recent makes they’re so simple and classic and are just going to ‘go’ with everything. I’m with you on drafting your own. Having just completed 2 makes that needed various changes, I do often feel it’s much easier to draft your own.
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Ah thanks Louise! Yep changes can be more of a pain can’t they! :)
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Fabric Tragic April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am

This is lovely. Ive some similar silk shirts planned for winter – this is just so elegant and perfect. Love it!
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Ah thank you! Yep they are very good wardrobe staples aren’t they! :)
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Suzie April 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Another lovely make :)
And yes please to the tutorial!
Looking forward to reading your tips on sewing with silk, no doubt I will be bookmarking it!
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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Ah thanks Suzie :) Coming up next!
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Jane April 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Yes please, I would love a tutorial on altering armscye, I’ve stopped attempting anything with sleeves as I find I end up with my arms pinned down which I hate. Your silk shirt if absolutely stunning btw. :-)

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Ah thanks Jane! Armscye tutorial coming up- it’s soooo annoying isn’t it!
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annie April 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I’d love a tutorial on the armscye issue.

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Coming up Annie! :)
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Laura April 2, 2014 at 2:57 pm

This is a beautiful shirt! I would LOVE a tutorial on armscye raising, I have just spent about 2 weeks trawling books and the internet trying to learn about this and found hardly anything. Very frustrating! I look forward to it with baited breath! x

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Ah thanks Laura! Tutorial coming up :)
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Sam April 2, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Hi Ami :) I discovered your blog a couple of months ago, but have only just got around to commenting. Your blog is gorgeous, and I love the way your are so confident with just whipping up your own pattern of something you’ve seen that’s inspired you. This shirt is beautiful and really professional, and I *love* the vintage pyjamas you made a few posts ago. You are very inspiring! Keep it up :)
x Sam

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Ah thank you Sam! :)
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WendyBee April 2, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I’m so impressed that you made this shirt, that you made it in silk, and that you drafted it yourself! What! And then you turned out another one for your Marmee? Lucky Marmee. I forgot that you celebrate Mothers’ Day earlier in the UK than we do in the US, and had a little panic moment when I wondered if I had missed it. My poor Mum will not be getting a custom-made Liberty fabric shirt. Pout… well, maybe if I start now, it might could be ready for next year…

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amelialowden April 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Thanks so much Wendy! :) Sorry for giving you a brief panic about Mother’s day!
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Miss Demeanour April 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Lovely shirt honey. It’s an absolute classic.
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Deb5ews April 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Simple, stylish, beautiful. Totally envious of your skills…it looks so professional. I would love to rad a tutorial on the armscye….nearly all of my outfits have me hardly dealing to move.

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Hollie April 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm

This is lovely! I’m a new follower and I absolutely adore reading this blog! I was wondering if you could post a bias binding tutorial on your YouTube channel? I loved the one you posted- it really helped me in my textiles GCSE! Can’t wait for the next post x

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Grasshopper April 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

What an absolutely beautiful blouse! It looks so comfortable but not oversized. I have broad shoulders and a full bust and often feel that woven shirts pull across the back and also across the middle of the front of the armhole (above the bustline). I also have the feeling of not being able to completely lift my arms without untucking my blouse. I just figured wovens didn’t work well for me, but maybe my problems could be solved by altering the armscye. I am definitely looking forward to the tutorial.

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Britta April 29, 2014 at 6:28 am

I would love a tutorial for the arm problem, I have trouble solving it on my own

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francesca May 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Your creations are amazing. I am so impressed. I love your finishing – you are even more of a perfectionist about the inside than i am and that’s saying something! I wish I could draft patterns for myself – I have done a couple but am inherently lazy to be honest…
I’ve been through a bunch of your posts and want to thank you for the sewing with silk post. I recently ordered some ~Sulky water soluble stabilizer to use when sewing with fabric that moves – the Americans use Sullivan spray stabilizer (tip from Colette) and I have seen recommendations for cornflour soaks and the sulky, neither of which I would use on really special silk but will definitely try on my next silk top.

I’m curious about one thing – why don’t you like darts in silk? Is it because they’re so tricky to get right, or because they ruin the way the fabric falls, or what? Do tell!

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amelialowden May 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Hi Francesca! Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I have never experimented with any of those soaks but am going to look into it now! I have used s[ray starch on silk crepe before despite the warnings on the can and liked the results of that! In answer to your question I just don’t like the look of darts in such delicate fabric. I feel like they disrupt the fluidity and that really good pattern cutting should try and avoid them in garments that are likely to be made up in silk or other very fluid, fine fabric. Also as the silk is commonly quite sheer the dart excess really needs trimming away and then it’s another seam to finish off on the inside of the garment. But as you have already noticed I am a perfectionist so I am probably way more pedantic about these things than I need to be! Hehe!
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francesca May 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

hi Amelia
thanks so much for your reply – it totally makes sense. I don’t think you’re pedantic at all:). I always feel like if something’s worth doing at all it’s worth doing really well….. And this is something that makes sense. I have made darts in silk and hated the way they turned out – even hand sewn. In fact, I just bought a pattern from simple sew – the peter pan collar blouse – very cute slightly vintage look with extended shoulders and no darts – thanks to you:). I decided it will be great for silk as it’s dartless….

Apologies for not having written to thank you sooner, when I see emails on my smartphone (which for some reason won’t send my replies) I always forget them by the time I get to a pc :(.

I just saw that you detailed how you hacked the reglisse dress and am dying to go home so I can see the video – won’t work here (office). Thanks for that. Oh, and if you ever decide to issue your Emily top, I would buy it in a flash. So stylish, with the slit neckline and pleats – nothing like most shells.

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Piarve July 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

I love silk shirts, they can be worn in the summer and winter, and they can look both sophisticated and casual, I have bought a pattern to make a shirt which I will begin one day, and I hope it comes out like yours.

My favourite item is probably my black high waist skinny jeans. They go with anything, make me look slimmer and I haven’t sewn trousers yet (but again, maybe one day)

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Valerie September 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Hi there! I just wanted to mention that I always have that problem when I buy these types of shirts! My shoulders always seem too wide for them! When I’m reaching up, it’s the most uncomfortable thing! Please make a tutorial on fixing this problem!

Thank you!

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