Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The anatomy of a white button-down

One of my goals for this fall was to make myself a white button-down shirt.  I already have three white button-downs, so why did I think I needed another?  Well, that's a good question.  As I've been working on it, though, I've come to realize how different each of my store-bought shirts are. Before I reveal my own version, I wanted to share my others as a reference point.

Shirt 1: 5-year-old fitted Express white button-down (closest I could find here)

This shirt is the most fitted of my button-downs. It's great to wear to work, with a pencil skirt or tucked into a pair of dress pants.  I love that it has a v-neck that is super flattering. and has some stretch to it.
  • Shaping: darts in front and princess seams
  • Fabric content: 60% cotton, 35% polyester, 5% spandex
  • Seam finishes: serged
  • Size: XS

Shirt 2: 8-year-old American Eagle casual white button-down (nothing similar online now)

This is the oldest of my button-downs. It was a splurge as a college sophomore, and I think it set me back about $35. The fabric is textured and it has a small pocket on the left side, adding to its casual appeal. About a year ago, I ended up with a stain right on the pocket.  It took me about 6 months to work up the courage to bleach it.  After 3(!) rounds of bleach, the stain finally cam rout and it is now wearable again. 
  • Shaping: darts in front
  • Fabric content: 100% cotton
  • Seam finishes: serged
  • Size: 4

Shirt 3: 1.5-year-old casual white button-down from Gap outlet (similar here)

Finally we have my most recent white button-down. This is the plainest of the bunch, but it also has a button on the left front.  My favorite part about this one is its nice fit, and relaxed feel. It is very lightweight which makes it perfect for summer layering.  I wore it here on the 4th of July with my chambray dress. 
  • Shaping: darts in back only
  • Fabric content: 100% cotton
  • Seams: serged and top-stitched down
  • Size: S
So there you have it: my observations on my current white button-downs, from a sewing point of view.  Soon I will reveal my own version made with Grainline Studio's Archer pattern.

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