That was Easy...NOT!

Looks like a pretty straight forward polo shirt doesn't it?!  Ha!  Not so fast!  Literally, not so fast!  It may look all cute and innocent, but this was one of those 'challenge-at-every-turn' projects.

It started innocently enough, with a lovely remnant of Liberty cotton lawn that I got on my trip to London this spring.  It was just under a yard...plenty of fabric...but Liberty prints are a bit narrower than quilting cottons, so that was the fist challenge.  How to get the pieces for the desired top to fit the amount of fabric.

 I had in my head a sweet little cotton shirt, buttons up the front, short sleeves and a Peter Pan collar.  It just felt like the right thing to do for the fabric.

I cut out the fronts and the back (no pleats of course!) using the barest one inch to fold over for the front closure.  I could manage the collar if I cut the under collar on the bias and pieced it, no problem, I like that anyway.  The sleeves...???  OK, if they are extremely short and cut in the opposite direction of the main pieces.  (look closely, the print on the sleeves is 'upside down.')  Not my usual OCD approach to pattern matching, but OK, I could get over it.

So that took WAY longer to figure out than normal!

I started assembling...the one inch fold on the fronts...not so much.  Or should I say, not enough.  The fineness of the fabric and the weight of buttons just wasn't going to cut it.
Plan B.  How about using twill tape to beef up the front placket?  Good, but it didn't really look that great at the hem.  Plan C.  Let's make a polo type opening at the center front!  Yeah!
I'm pretty proud of the job I did matching the center front seam...yes there is a seam from the hem to the bottom of the placket!  Awesome! (kind of makes up for the sleeves being upside down!)

So the center front detail went from a full buttoned up look to a polo, half open look.

Continuing to the shoulder seams...

It turns out when you hack your t-shirt pattern to make a center front opening and forget to adjust the back of the pattern you end up with a really crazy shoulder seam....Notice how much longer the back of the seam is than the front....ooops!  Not too much of a problem that can't be handled with a sharp pair of scissors, BUT....

...That cute little Peter Pan collar that was based on the T-shirt neck opening...Yeah, that...way to short!

Plan D.  No collar?  But I really wanted a collar (can you hear the whine in my voice?).  Recut the Peter Pan collar?  Not a chance!  How about a knit collar?  Kinda works with the polo idea...OK...find a scrap of cotton knit.  

All good...no Peter Pan collar, but a nice knit polo collar.

Next up, the upside down sleeves.  Another interesting thing about using a pattern designed for knits to make a woven top is, you can't stretch the sleeve head to fit the armhole opening.  Drat!  Fortunately this was an oops in the right direction.  I could recut the sleeve head to make it work...which in turn meant that the extremely short sleeves got to be EXTRA extremely short!

Plan E!  Maybe it could be a sleeveless polo-ish top?  Aw come on!!!  A wee little serged edge turned up hem?  Pretty cheap looking for classy Liberty fabric!  Any more of that knit scrap around?  Bingo!  Knit bands on the sleeves!

Let's talk about the hem.  The 'try-on' with the side seams finished revealed that the length was darn near perfect...without a hem!  Plan F!  A cropped polo style top?  (How old am I?)  More knit scraps...nope.  If I cut apart the cute little Peter Pan collar would I be able to make a hem facing?  Yes, if it's pieced and going across the grain!  (at this point...) I love it!

Finally, buttons!  I had picked out really nice mother of pearl buttons that looked so perfect with the original style...now, with the evolving polo style...meh.  Plan G!  What is more polo-ish than snaps?  And way easier than button holes on a placket opening!

Now you might think that I would set those pesky snaps and call it good!  But no, I just couldn't leave well enough alone.  The hem just didn't do it.  It needed side splits!
Plan H!  Even with the facing there was not enough hem depth for decent splits.  Hmmmm...
Those two little knit ends that got cut off the collar?  Perfect! (and check out that matched side seam! Sweet!)


So there you have it, my cute little Liberty cotton polo shirt, dirty secrets and all!


  1. If you hadn't let us in on the dirty secrets no one would think anything other than "perfection". A lovely cool summer top. And pattern matching – wow. You did a great job. The colour of your knit is just right with the print. I'd say a stellar job.

    1. Thank you. It was hit or miss if I would actually get a wearable garment!