Surf & turf…

Pattern: Alex Shirt by Sew Over It, from their Sew Over It City Break ebook
Made Before? This was my first attempt
Will Make Again? Yes, with some changes
Adjustments? fudged the cuffs a bit after I messed them up
Fabric: Catch of the Day cotton, also from Sew Over It (no longer available)


The Alex Shirt is a loose-fitting shirt pattern, and that, I think, is my main problem with this shirt. I own two ready-to-wear shirts made from cotton/linen without much drape. Both of those shirts I enjoy wearing often, which I’ve decided is because the back darts give a fitted shape and waist definition that I find flattering.

On the other hand, the Alex shirt has a pleat at the centre back, beneath the yoke. There is nothing to take out the fullness and the side seams aren’t curved to create waist definition. When you also cut a size too big, and make it from a cotton, there’s no way you’re going to achieve a slimming effect.


So next time I sew this up I will make a few changes:

  • try 1-2 sizes smaller (being careful about the sleeve size, however)
  • use a drapey fabric like a silk or rayon
  • reconsider my expectations of how this will fit.

I started making this in Glasgow. I stopped because of the issues above – I wasn’t sure I’d ever wear the shirt, so I gave up, but then when I was packing to move home I kept it anyway. During Me Made May, I decided just to finish it and see how I felt.


Rather than fiddling with buttons, I did the shortcut of using poppers. I always procrastinate about buttons – is my machine going to behave on the buttonholes? How many times will I screw them up? So I always put-off starting. But the poppers are easy, and although they don’t look quite as good, given I wasn’t sure how much I’d wear this anyway, I didn’t think it was a major drawback.

cuff detail.jpg

I fixed up the cuffs by just shortening them and turning them over in the same method I’ve used for the Merchant and Mills Factory Dress. Let me know if you want any more explanation…


Find me on instagram – @helen_fern_and_thread

collar detail 2

I also added these little silver lobster button-type things on the collar, which I do love. I just hand-sewed these in place, which is a little messy, but again, this might be a throw-away project!


I’m still not sure how much wear I’ll get out of this. I love the colour, it’s pretty neat which I like, but it’s a bit too tent-like for me. Tied into a cropped length is ok, but I always feel a bit ‘constructed’ when I do something like that so it doesn’t tend to last the day. Maybe I’ll wear this a bit more going back to uni, where I just want to be comfortable and smart-enough. I think I could create the illusion of a bit more shape to it with a cropped black jumper over the top.

Or maybe I’ll have to find some lobster-themed events for it…

What’s your favourite TNT shirt pattern? Have you made any adjustments to the Alex shirt? Let me know in the comments below…




2 thoughts on “Surf & turf…

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