I’ve always loved sewing a classic shirt. Give me a collar stand and collar and I’m a happy seamstress. A shirt is a classic piece that is way above trends and is always very wearable. They are fun to sew and we can achieve so many looks with varying choice of fabrics.
To go directly to the Mila Shirt on the Itch to Stitch website, click HERE. Purchasing through my link does not cost you extra, but it does support my work. Thank you so much if you use y links 🙂
Features of the Mila Shirt
The fit is not loose or fitted. It’s just right. The length is below the hip and the hem is curved: classic shirttail style.
You can choose to sew only the collar stand for a “mandarin collar look” or you can go all in and sew the collar stand and the collar. The collar has upper and under collar pieces. This is great and great drafting. The under collar has a center seam and is cut on the bias. It is also a tad smaller than the upper collar. This allows the collar to turn beautifully without the seam of the collar seen, because it rolls to the back. I greatly appreciate this detail. Some shirt pattern use the same collar piece to be the upper and under collar and they are both cut on the grainline.
The half placket is long and goes down lower than the bust height along the ceter front. It needs several button and is finished very neatly.
There is a yoke piece that incorporates the front partially. There is no shoulder seam. The yoke is double and encloses the seams of the back and front neatly using the ever fun burrito method. There is a discreet gathering in the front piece that is inside the yoke. It’s important to note: the pattern has cup sizes, the smaller the bust cup size, the less gathers you will see here. A double DD cup size will have more gathers in proportion to the bust dart volume these gathers originate from.
You can opt in or out of a single bust patch pocket.
The sleeves are long and the shoulder should meet your shoulder. They are not a dropped style. We have little cuffs, pleats in the cuffs and a small delicate sleeve placket finished with binding that is not cut on the bias. I LOVE this feature for women’s clothing. Other shirts have a tower placket, similar to the placket on the neckline, but smaller. I find this too masculine for my liking. I’ll sew that too, but I prefer this technique.
You can sew a tab inside the sleeve to allow them to be rolled up to 3/4 length. This is optional.
Best fabric for a classic shirt
As per above, you can choose a wide variety of woven fabrics for your Mila Shirt. I tend to be drawn to the flowy types, but that is my personal preference.
You can choose a structured woven like flannel, cotton lawn, light denim, shirting or chambray. These fabrics will be beautiful to sew with, they will press well and not move around too much. If you have not sewn a shirt before, these fabrics will be the best choice. A nice crisp shirt for you!
You can also choose woven fabrics that are flowy like rayon, crepe, silk, tencel twill and even rayon twill. These fabrics are slippery and need a little more patience, but the effect is beautiful.
Unconventional fabric choices that can facilitate sewing a classic shirt
I chose chiffon for the main pieces; front, back, yoke pieces and sleeves. I chose a cotton blend shirting (Cotton 50%, Rayon 35%, Linen 15%) half placket, collar stand, collar and the cuffs. Mixing these two types will give me the best of both worlds! The chiffon will keep it sheer and flowy like I love it to be, and the shirting will provide the structure and ease of sewing for the techniques that need the precision.
The Mila Shirt includes sizes 00-20 US. Each size has cup sizes A- DD.
The fit is great and will allow a layer underneath. I will use a fitted cami underneath my transparent version. If you are making yours with cozy flannel, your Mila can be a type of outerwear with a knit base-layer underneath.
The length hits just below the full hip. The bust cups allow great fit and shaping for our bust volume.
I chose a straight size 14 with a C cup. The finished measurements do not include 3″ that the box pleat provides on the back. The fit on the hips is roomier than the measurements show.
The only fit adjustment I made was to lengthen the sleeves by 1.5″ at the shorten and lengthen line.
Sewing considerations on a classic shirt
- The pattern uses 3/8″ seam allowance for the main seams and 3/8″ for hem allowance.
- The necklines need to be stay stitched as soon as possible. I fused a very narrow strip of interfacing instead.
- I am using dark shirting and I can only mark the placket lines accurately with tracing paper. These marks are sensitive to heat…. I can’t press the placket to prepare it. I finger pressed and it worked very well to make the memory creases.
- There are two yokes and the back and front pieces are enclosed neatly using the burrito method. Super fun!
- The front piece is wider than the yoke. You need to gather it to match the yoke piece front section.
- There is a center back inverted box pleat. Easy to sew and gives extra ease to the shirt.
- The bust pocket is small! I folded in the edges by 1/4″ only to make it as big as it could. I would make it 3/8″ bigger on all four sides next time.
- The button placket is very well explained in the instructions. This placket piece is cut with the fabric RIGHT SIDES UP. This is not printed on the pattern piece, but it’s in the layout instructions.
- The button placket is interfaced partially. I opted out of interfacing because I am sewing it onto chiffon and I don’t want to weigh the shirt down.
- You will benefit from block fusing the upper collar and one collar stand. This will ensure the pieces have the original shape and length and they will fit the neckline.
- I suggest using more than 3 buttons on the placket. Place the first one at your bust height as reference and from there, measure up and down from there. I do this to avoid gaping at the bust height.
- The sleeve placket is delicate and finished with binding that is cut on the grain, not on the bias.
- I opted to not interface the cuffs. You can see below that half of the cuff piece is interfaced. I like that to avoid stiffness and bulk, but, I wanted to keep my garment light. I did not interface the cuffs.
- About the sleeve tabs. There is no reference mark on the sleeve pattern piece for you to sew it on. It’s one of the first steps and it’s impossible to know where it will be placed correctly until you can try on the shirt with the sleeves set in. I recommend leaving this step for later. I did not sew the tabs on my chiffon sleeves…. I could predict a big hole in the future. I’d rather not take the risk.
- Seam ripping is a task that no one likes, right? Hand basting will prevent this, for the most part, and it’s important…. chiffon is difficult to seam rip without making holes in the fabric. I have hand basted a lot of the construction, especially the placket, collar and cuffs.
What you’ll see on my video on YouTube: classic shirt sewing tutorial
- Review of the pattern, discussion on fabrics and sizing
- Pattern pieces
- Adaptation of interfacing only certain pieces
- Stabilizing the neckline
- Marking the placket
- Finger pressing
- Sewing the sleeve pleats
- Sewing the delicate placket with binding
- Sewing the cuffs
This type of video footage is difficult to find for free, and I’ve filmed it so you can have a deeper look at the process. You can sew this shirt 🙂
Listen to the Podcast
Let’s see my Mila Shirt with chiffon and shirting mix
Sewing this classic shirt made me very happy, and I enjoyed every single step of the process. Combining the two fabrics made the process easier for sure, and I get to have flowy and structured in the same shirt!
Styled with my Eddystone jeans and plain cami top
My Eddystone jeans (also a pattern from Itch to Stitch) are made with dark navy zero stretch denim and the tone pairs well with my navy background flowery Mila Shirt. To see more about my favorite non stretch denim jeans, see THIS BLOG POST and THIS VIDEO.
To go directly to the Mila Shirt on the Itch to Stitch website, click HERE. Purchasing through my link does not cost you extra, but it does support my work. Thank you 🙂
Helpful videos on my channel pertaining to shirts and chiffon
How to sew and cut silky fabric
How to sew a half placket (Featuring the Chemainus top, also from Itch to Stitch)
How to sew a collar stand and collar
Will I sew the Mila shirt again? YES. My next one will be sleeveless. The armscye dart I need for this to happen will be closed on the pattern piece and the volume transferred to the shoulder area to increase the gathers that are already there. I will finish the armscye with bias binding. I can’t wait!
I recommend this pattern as part of your journey. It’s great to sew these techniques and continue to grow in this beautiful craft.
DISCLAIMER: The links to Itch to Stitch patterns are affiliate links. I purchased the pattern and fabric myself. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
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