Sew Here We GO! How to sew the Style Arc Lauren Boyfriend Shirt:
The Lauren Boyfriend Shirt is an oversized casual button-down that is extremely comfortable, just like cuddling up in the arms of your loved one. The key word is OVERSIZED! Style Arc pattern company again has made a very precise pattern that all the pieces and notches match up perfectly. This Australian pattern company is amazing at being exact. They use a 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inch) and sometimes go down to a scant 1/4 inch around the collar areas unlike the American standard 5/8 inch. I love this because you don’t have to trim your seams as much.
With interesting cuffs and an oversized front pocket, this pattern is the perfect canvas for personalization and embellishment to make it your own. I chose to do a little decorative stitching on my pocket and added some extra buttons on the cuff, but we will get into that deeper through the sewing tutorial. Sew… here we go!
Picking out the perfect fabric and pattern size is always fun. I tend to gravitate towards soft, easy-care fabrics that feel good against my skin. I chose a 4 oz light washed denim that is 100% cotton. I purchase 3 yards just in case I screwed something up, but you could probably get away with getting 2 1/2 yards depending on the size you choose. For me I decided to make a size 14 (BIG MISTAKE). Did I say this was an OVERSIZED shirt? UGH! I wish I had made a size 12 or even a 10! To give you an idea, I am 5’3″, 155 lbs, measure 39.5″/ 33″/ 41″. You can see the suggested sizing of Style Arc patterns here.
Let’s look at the pattern pieces. Notice the Style Arc directions are somewhat sparse. Lots of directions are actually printed on the pattern pieces themselves. Terminology is a bit different from the American versions too. When the patterns states to cut 1 pair, they mean cut two (mirrored) pieces. Cut main means cut your primary fabric, cut lining means..ok lining fabric, and cut fuse means interfacing. The example below means cut 4 pieces (two mirrored sets) and interfacing for the cuff. I chose not to interface the cuff because I wanted a softer feel and knew I wouldn’t be putting too much stress on the buttons. Your preference choice. I did put a soft fusible interfacing into the collar.
I have fallen in love with certain tools of the trade that have made my sewing experience easier. I love quality scissors, fabric markers, point turners, pin, clips, rulers, but my favorite of all is a rotary cutter. I keep a sharp blade in my rotary cutter at all times. I even have a scalloped edge rotary cutter that is such a life saver on fabrics that ravel easily.
Now for placing your pattern on your fabric. Notice that Style Arc does not give you any directions on placement other than a straight-of-grain on the pieces. It is up to you how you cut your fabric, so I highly suggest you lay your pieces out to get an idea on how best to proceed. Rules of the road include keeping the pieces running the same direction of grain and nap to ensure a consistent garment. Another tool I love is pattern weights instead of using pins. They are easy to move, and make the process faster to place your pattern. I like to cut my larger pieces that need to be on a fold first and then work out from there. Once you cut, mark your notches… all of them.
Now that you have your pattern pieces cut out, ensure your sewing machine is ready to go. Change your needle out so you start with a fresh sharp needle and ensure you use the correct size/type for your fabric. Clean your bobbin area out and do a test sew to ensure your tension is spot on!
Are you ready now to sew? Let’s start on the collar. This is a two-piece collar: a main collar and and collar stand. Take your main collar pieces with right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam allowance around the sides and down the outer edge. Trim your corners and then turn it right side out, (this is where I love to use my point turner), press and top stitch. Next, take your collar stand pieces and on one of them, press a 1/4″ edge down the long side as seen below:
We are going to sandwich the main collar between the collar stand pieces, with right sides together and matching the notches. (see below:) Sew a 1/4″ seam.
Nice Job! Let’s move on to the main body of the shirt. On both front pieces, press the button hole facing over as directed matching the notches. Top stitch the facing down. I did a second top stitch next to the edge because I like the finished look of it.
Set the front pieces to the side for now and let’s construct the front pocket. Pockets are a fun place to stamp with your personalization. There is only one pocket for the front. I put my pocket on the right side of the shirt but you can put it on the left if you want. When I constructed this pocket I debated on how embellished I wanted it. I chose a simple double arch stitch pattern but you can go wild here if you like. Your imagination is limitless! Bedazzle, color stitch, embroider, whatever! Do the basic construction first and press the seam allowance towards the wrong side as seen below:
Place the pocket as marked and sew it down. You might want to add some extra reenforcement tacks at the top to secure it stronger to the front too.
OK… grab your back piece and take note of the pleat marks. With WRONG SIDE TOGETHER, match your pleat marks and sew from the top yoke edge all the way to the hem. It’s about 2″ from edge to the pleat sewing line.
Press your pleat open so it’s centered and matching notches. Tack or baste stitch at the hem and yoke to keep it in place.
Time for the infamous back shirt LOOP. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest cutting this small piece on the bias of your fabric. It will help it lay better. Sew your loop and turn right side out. This can be a pain in the you know what if you don’t know a couple tricks. I like to turn loops using a large needle with embroidery thread attached to the end to turn it, but “you do you” baby “you do what’s best for you”. Once you have it turned out, attach it to the yoke edge of your back next to each side of the pleat.
Attach the yoke by sandwiching the back in-between the two yoke pieces with right sides together and matching notches and ensuring you keep the loop from getting fowled up in the seam. Top stitch the yoke.
Are you ready for some origami? This next step is somewhat counter-intuitive so come with me down this rabbit hole if you dare! We are going to attach the front and back pieces together at the shoulder so you don’t see the raw edges of the seams! That’s right, how cool is that! So… the first thing we do is roll the back up to the yoke and pin it to keep it out of our way. I like to lay out my shirt to see which front sides go to which side of the yoke as seen below. Roll your front side pieces up and pin to make them smaller to maneuver also. What we are going to do is sandwich the front pieces in-between the two yoke pieces along with the rolled up back piece and sew the should seams together. Do this for both the right and left front pieces. After the seams are sewn, we will turn it right side out and whaaalaaa! It’s magic. Study the pictures below and if you need more insight, Style Arc has a pretty good tutorial on this process HERE.
See you did it! Easy Peasy! Ok, I know, it’s a little mind bending for the first time. But since it’s done, let’s move on to attaching the collar to the main body. Yippie!
Take the collar and pin it to the wrong side of side of the body, matching the notches and stitch in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance. The reason we do it this way is so when we top stitch it looks perfect. Do I need to say to pin the collar side that is not pressed? OK. I’ll say it. Pin the side that is not pressed. See below:
Now we top stitch VERY CAREFULLY to sandwich it all together and make it pretty so the collar seam doesn’t show. See below:
The tough stuff is done. We are going to move on to the hem line. This is a button-down which has a curved hem that meets at the side seams. We will hem it before we sew the sides together. I suggest pressing a scant 1/4″ hem and then press another 1/4″ so your hem doesn’t have any raw edges. Did I tell you I’m not a fan of raw edges? WELL… hate ’em. I’m a firm believer of finishing your seams with some type of finish such as a zigzag, overcasting, french, or flat-felled. “Flat-felled” you say??? What is a flat-felled seam? You’re in luck. I’m going to show you how to do them when we get to the side seams. Oooooh gooody! But for now, let’s stick to the hem. Easy peasy… super breezy, just sew a nice edge stitch around and up to your notches. Make a cut at the notch about 3/8″ in so when we do the side seam it’s nice and flat as seen below:
Flat-felled seams. What a beautiful way to finish a seam. These are used on jeans, jackets and yes, this shirt. The first thing you do is sew your side seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance, and press it open. Next you will trim the seam on just one side of the seam, I suggest the one next to the back panel. Trim it down to about 1/4″ inch. Next fold your other side of the seam over twice, just like you did your hem, press and sew an edge stitch to hold it in place covering up your trimmed part. See the pictures below:
Your shirt is coming together so nicely. Step back and take a look at the masterpiece you are creating and smile. Let’s move on to the sleeves. These are fairly intuitive. There is the sleeve and the cuff. The cuff is the tricky part. You should have 2 sets (4 pieces) of cuff. Sew each set together leaving the notched edge open. Turn right side out after you clip your corners. Use a point turner to get those points out nice and neat. These cute cuffs are blank canvas for you to use your creative juices here. So many opportunities to embellish them anyway you like with fancy stitching, bedazzles, or whatever you like. Me? I chose to go simple…. sorta. I decided to not only do buttonholes as placed where Style Arc tells you to place them, but I also did an extra set of button holes to hold the cuff up and decorate it with an extra set of buttons instead of rolling the cuffs up. But before we get into all that, sew your sleeve seams together and FINISH THOSE SEAMS. I used an overcast stitch here. I decided to go ahead and do my main set of button holes here before I attached the cuff to the sleeve just because it was easier to do without it attached to the sleeve. Then, attach your cuff to the main sleeve, matching the notches. You will find that the cuff ends fold over each other. Just match the notches. It will all work out just fine. Just ensure you mirror your fold direction on your other sleeve. AND if you did do your button holes first, ensure when it’s folded that the button holes are on the top of the right side of the garment. Nothing is worse than finding out you screwed this step up and your button holes are are the back of the sleeve so you can’t button it. Duh! I wonder how I figured that out. Thank goodness I have a seam ripper. Finish your seams. Finish your seams. Finish your seams, even if it’s a simple zigzag stitch.. UGH! Oh… and then top stitch your cuff where it’s attached to the sleeve.
Set your sleeves in place to the body of the shirt matching your notches. Finish off your button holes and buttons and there you have it. All done. Well.. not for me. I played around with those sleeves trying different ways to fold them up like the picture and had a fit with them, soooooo…….. I decided to add more button holes and buttons to hold the cuff in place and give it a different look. Below is the finished shirt. WAY TO BIG FOR ME, but it is cuddly and nice. I will probably make another one, this time in a smaller size.
I truly hope you found this sewing tutorial helpful in the construction of the Lauren Boyfriend Shirt by Style Arc. I suggest you peruse through their website and take a peak at all their great patterns. They make very high quality patterns that come together with precision and notice that the pictures they show on finished garments use REAL PEOPLE who actually made it themselves with REAL BODIES. There is no hype or trickery in their advertisements. And no… I do not get paid to tell you these things either. Just my humble opinion.
Until next time, please leave any comments or suggestions. Sew Here WE GO!