Sewing a dress shirt for Iplehouse EID, part one (Pattern included)

Before we even begin, I have to apologize for 3 things.

1. This was the first pattern I ever made. I had no idea what I was doing, I just really wanted one of my dolls to have a dress shirt. It isn’t perfect and could probably stand to be updated and improved. That said, if you follow the pattern and instructions, it WILL turn out okay. I just made a few things unnecessarily complicated when I drew the pattern. For that, I am sorry.

2. I am not following the pattern exactly in this tutorial. One thing is different: I changed the shape of my sleeve lap because I wanted to try making the top lap larger so I could do decorative stitching on it later. If you want to follow the pattern exactly, the steps will be the same – the lap will just be smaller than what is in these photos.  If you want to follow the tutorial exactly, that’s easy! When you cut the pieces for the sleeve lap, just cut 2 in the size of the pattern and cut 2 that are roughly twice as wide as the pattern piece and about an inch longer. It doesn’t need to be perfect, you’ll be trimming the excess away anyway.

3. The pictures are awful. They’re enough to give you a rough visual of what’s going on, but we’re going to have to rely heavily on words. My craft room is really dark and while I started in the afternoon, I had to stop and didn’t come back to it until the sun was setting. Without natural daylight, it’s really, really dark in there, and my pictures are taken with my cell phone, since the DSLR is too big for me to wrangle one-handed. I have dainty lady hands, not cut out for that kind of muscle work.

With those things in mind, I hope this is still helpful. Though it was drafted for my EID Super Hero, it should also fit the Model body, though you may wish to add a little more length to the body and sleeves to accommodate the Model body type being slightly taller.

Things you will need:
This pattern, made from scratch by me – FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY, thank you! Please do not redistribute this pattern. Alteration does not make it okay to redistribute, either. If you see anyone redistributing this pattern or a derivative of it, or trying to sell my pattern or doll clothing made from it, please notify me.
– A printer and paper
– Fabric
– Scissors
– Thread
– Pins
– Hand needles
– Buttons or snaps
– An iron and ironing board

Things that will make your life easier:
– Pinking shears
– A sewing machine

Step One
Prepare your pattern and fabric. The pattern pieces will fit on a sheet of normal A4 printer paper, but it’s a tight fit – Turn off printing margins for the page and print at 300 DPI. The pattern includes a 1/4″ seam allowance, which is typically the distance between a machine needle at center position and the outer edge of the machine’s standard foot, though this can vary between machines.
If you use traditional shirting fabric or any type of satin, you may wish to use pinking shears to prevent fraying.

Step Two
Beginning with the back of the dress shirt, pleat the middle (to the front or to the back is your preference, though traditional dress shirts have the pleat on the outside) so the yoke pins to the top edge of the pleated back, with the pleat in the center.

With traditional assembly, this means the raised side of the pleat will be between fabric layers. You will likely want to use extra pins to make sure it stays in place.

Once pinned, stitch the yoke to the shirt back. After the seam has been sewn, switch to a wide zig-zag stitch and go back over the edge to prevent fraying. When unfolded, the back of the shirt should look like this:

Using your iron, press the pleat and seam. If you are not familiar with sewing terms, please note the difference between IRONING and PRESSING – Pressing is merely putting the iron flat against something to make it lay down. Ironing is moving the iron around on the fabric, like you would to remove wrinkles. We will not be ironing, only pressing. Ironing can cause un-sewn fabrics to distort or change shape, and generally only finished garments or uncut fabrics should be ironed!

Step Three
Placing right sides of fabric together, pin the shirt front to the yoke at the shoulder seam.

Sew both shoulder seams. Finish with a zig-zag stitch and press.

Step Four
Pin the button placket strips FACE DOWN on the WRONG SIDE of the shirt front. If you are using plain fabric, the direction matters less, but if you are using patterned fabric, be SURE you see the wrong side of both pieces of fabric or your placket will turn out wrong.

The placket strips are longer than the front of the shirt to make them easier to line up, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. You will trim off the excess later.
Sew the plackets to the shirt fronts. Do not finish edge, but fold placket out and press flat. After pressing, the right side of your shirt should look like this:

Step Five
Fold up one quarter inch of fabric on the edge of the placket strip and press flat. It should now look like this on the right side of the shirt:

Step Six
Fold the placket over onto the right side of the shirt so that raw edges are covered. The raw edge of where the placket meets the shirt body makes a great ruler – You should fold the placket so that the existing seam line is covered.
Once it’s folded over, I move the needle to the leftmost position to make it easier to get close to the edge, but if you go slow, you can achieve the same effect without moving the needle. Stitch the folded edge of the placket onto the body of the shirt front…

…then top stitch the other edge of the placket for a neat finish.

The right side of your shirt should now look like this:

Step Seven
Laying the sleeves across the shirt with right sides of the fabric together, pin the shirt sleeves to the arm hole. If you have already cut the slit for the sleeve lap, make sure the lap is on the side to the back of the shirt.

Stitch slowly, following the curve. Finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch.

Step Eight
If you have not yet cut the slit marked for the sleeve lap, cut it now. The strips for the lap should be slightly longer than the slit cut. My scissors slipped and mine was too long. Oh well, not the end of the world.

Folding the lap strip in half , pin it to the right side of the sleeve with the folded edge at the top of the slit. If you are making a larger decorative lap like I am in these photos, put the larger lap piece on the larger side of the sleeve, and the narrower lap piece on the smaller side.

Stitch from bottom edge to the top of the slit. Turn and sew across to the other lap, then sew down to the edge. Repeat on other sleeve.


Step Nine
Using your scissors, nip a small angled cut into the corners of the lap to give the flaps room to move. If you are using pinking shears, pink the outer edge of the sleeve laps now. Otherwise, you may wish to use a zig-zag to prevent fraying.
This step was very difficult to photograph since I needed both hands to hold the fabric and iron. Fold the lower lap (The small side) to the wrong side, covering the raw edge. Press.
Fold the edge of the upper lap 1/4″ and press flat. Then fold the upper lap over and press flat so it covers the lower lap entirely.

This picture is horrid, but it shows the lower lap folded under and the upper flap folded to lay above it. My thumb and middle finger hold the top of the upper lap, where you will stitch across to hold the laps down.
If using the larger top lap like I am in the photos, make sure the raw top edge is folded under, then sew a line straight across the top of the slit to hold both laps in place.

Ready for part two? Here it is!

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