From the get-go, you should know:
- I found in trying it on myself that if I button it, it is rather choking! If I unbutton it, and let the shirt fall to to the back, it fits more comfortably. I'm surprised my little boy has never complained of the neck! Maybe, though, the shirts he has worn were big enough on him that he didn't notice the ill fit.
- I found this version of the pattern that seems to have more instructions and more of a neck cutting guide -- so it might be better than the version I used. I'd like to try something from The Workwoman's Guide also, but thought I'd stick with something I was familiar with for now. Perhaps I'll actually buy a pattern some day, but this will suffice for now.
- The original pattern calls for a facing for the neck opening. I've made it that way in the past, as well as tried some other methods, but this time I totally cheated -- you'll see. I didn't even use a facing.
- You're also supposed to cut a slit in the sleeve for the wrist opening, but again I cheated for simplicity's sake and just left the arm seam open a few inches near the wrist.
The dimensions for this pattern at full size are on the downloads, but if you want to reduce the size, here are the dimensions:
75% (this is the size that almost fits me -- I'm about 5'4")
Body 22.5" x 49", with the center 17" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves 16" at either end)
Neck 7.5" wide maximum x 3" high maximum*
Neck slit 7.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve 18" high x 20.5" wide -- the 20.5" is the part you gather)
Sleeve slit 5.25" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3.75" deep
Collar 17" x 3"*
Cuff 8.5" x 3"*
65% (boys' 7/8)
Body 20" x 42", with the center 15" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves 14" at either end)
Neck 6.5" wide maximum x 3" high maximum*
Neck slit 6.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve 15.5" high x 18" wide -- the 18" is the part you gather
Sleeve slit 4.5" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3.25" deep
Collar 15" x 2.5"*
Cuff 7.5" x 2.5"*
Facing 3.25" x 8.25", with a slit cut 6.5" deep from the top
Body 16.5" x 36", with the center 12.5" being reserved for attaching the sleeve (leaves approximately 12" at either end)
Neck 5.5" wide maximum x 2.5" high maximum*
Neck slit 5.5" deep from the bottom of the neck curve
Sleeve 13" high x 15" wide -- the 15" is the part you gather
Sleeve slit 4" in from the right edge of the sleeve when laid flat, cut 3" deep
Collar 12" x 2"*
Cuff 6" x 2"*
Facing 3" x 7", with a slit cut 5.5" deep from the top
* I'm sure you could keep your collar and cuffs bigger (keep the width the same, but increase the depth so that you have a bigger collar or cuff). You could also leave your neck hole bigger, rather than reducing it. Kids' heads are still really big in proportion to their bodies!
Here's how I did it:
1. Cut or tear the fabric out according to the desired size. Next time, I may try shifting my neck hole a couple inches to the front to see if that helps alleviate the choking neck line. Any other suggestions?
2. Run two gathering stitches (long straight stitches) along the edge of the sleeve (at 1/2" & 1/4"). Gather the sleeves down to fit the appropriate area on the shirt body (according to the pattern dimensions). Attach the sleeve to the body, right sides together, with a straight stitch 1/2" from the edge of the fabric. You can zig-zag the edge, or to be a little more authentic, just stitch a second straight stitch 1/8" again closer to the edge.
3. Fold the shirt in half and sew your side and underarm seams. I did not sew completely to the wrist, but stopped a few inches short to leave an opening in the seam for a wrist opening (I didn't want to have to bind wrist openings). Again, you may also zig-zag your seam, or do a second row of straight stitching.
4. Run two gathering stitches along the edge of the sleeve. Pull threads to gather the edge of the sleeve down to fit just inside the wrist band (leave 1/4-1/2" of the wristband sticking out on either side of the gathered sleeve.).
Press the wristband away from the sleeve. Press the short side edges toward the wrong side and then press the long edge also toward the wrong side.
5. Now it's time to finish the neck. Instead of cutting a facing for the head/neck opening, I just cut away horizontally from the bottom of my vertical slice about 1/2" to either side. (Looks like the bottom of an "I.")
6. Then I attached the collar just as I did the wristbands. I used a button for the closure. I've also used a tie on one shirt as well as a loop and a button on another.
7. Hem the bottom. I folded my hem to the wrong side probably 1/2", then again 1/2", pressed, then straight stitched.