Sewing for Me: Simplicity 1538


If you had told me last year that I’d be able to get the print of plaid fabric to match up for a button-down shirt, I would have laughed you out of the room. As it turns out, if I cut each pattern piece individually, I can get very, very decent results (i.e. cutting every piece from a single layer instead of folding the fabric to get two sleeve pieces at once, say). Not perfect, mind you, but pretty darn good.


This is Simplicity 1538. And the cotton fabric is from Drygoods — I hear this beauty of a plaid sold out in record time. If you follow Kelly, who is so incredibly prolific and also one of the nicest people I’ve met, you may have seen this same fabric on her instagram feed. I contemplated being twinsies with Kelly and sewing this up into an Archer too, but in the end, the much less labor intensive Simplicity pattern won out. I love love love this shirt. I especially love that I cut the back yoke on the bias:

s1538-plaid-shirt2 s1538-plaid-shirt4

The pattern promises to be easy-to-sew, and overall it delivered on its promise. I liked view D and opted for one pocket rather than two, just because. The only part I just couldn’t get right was the sleeve cuff opening bindings (now that’s an inelegant way of describing it — what is that called?). The instructions weren’t difficult or anything, but the binding piece refused to lay flat so it’s a little scrunched. But like my other button-down shirt from last week, I don’t ever anticipate wearing the shirt without rolled-up sleeves, so I didn’t lose any sleep over it.

s1538-plaid-shirt5Here’s a little modeling for ya — but let’s be honest, it looks like I’m remembering the whiplash I got from a car accident years ago and am thinking, “Man, that crick in my neck is acting up again…” Here’s another attempt at varying my usual unimaginative poses:


Ready to start square dancing: do-si-do, anyone? The Ford modeling agency won’t be knocking on my door any time soon.


Anyway, back to some more info about the shirt. I added the same metal buttons I used for K’s rain jacket, and I still have a couple dozen left so you’ll probably see these buttons again. I cut the size 12, and this one is a slimmer fit than last week’s grey polka dot shirt. Definitely preferring this fit a lot more. And this was major for me: the bust darts were in the perfect spot without any modifications. So nice to have bust darts that don’t aggressively point northward…you know, the kinds that highlight the the inevitable pull of gravity on my non-spring-chicken body.


I’m making slow but sure progress on my fall sewing plans. Two down, two to go! I got a few skeins of merino wool/cashmere blend (in grey, of course) ready to be cast onto knitting needles, but I have a feeling the jeans are going to take a loooong time to materialize…onward and upward!





37 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: Simplicity 1538

  1. fabulous, Sanae! And congrats on the great plaid-matching! The shirt looks beautiful on you and I can completely understand why this fabric sold out so quickly – it’s fantastic!

    1. This was a really fun shirt to make, Lucinda, thanks so much! And yes, Keli from Drygoods told me it sold out in 20 minutes flat! 🙂

    1. Ha, thanks girl! M said that it looked like it needs a good starching, but I like its rumpled quality — parts of it almost has a seersucker texture but very, very subtle…

  2. Way to go! This looks like a perfect shirt and definitely part of your fall wardrobe! I like the colours a lot. Congratulations on working the plaid like a pro. I am also impressed that you are going to make jeans. I mean MAKE them! I don’t even wear skinny jeans. I remember going to a store in 2005 and trying on a bunch of jeans in the latest style, flares , and getting some that looked good. Then I have bought the same brand and model ever since! Mind you, I have always liked bell bottoms, and I’ll just shut up now before you figure out how much of the 70s I’ve lived through.

    1. Haha, Max, I’ve also been known to having serious brand/style loyalty! I’m a bit nervous about making the jeans because I know I’m going to have to do a lot of adjustments…but I feel ready!

  3. About your knitting and your scarf, it makes me think that maybe next time, we can have a little trade. I like to knit and I find it easier than sewing. Just a fun idea. I didn’t think it out. I just thought, when I read about your scarf that I could probably knit one for you.

    1. Oooh, now there’s a super fun idea! Let me think about it some and see how that might work — so generous of you to offer, Max! 🙂

  4. You did an awesome job with the shirt. You know what jeans are not that hard. I’ve made a few pairs for myself and I was surprised if I just took it slow and did all the topstitching that it wasn’t bad at all! You can definitely do it!! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kristi! I bet sewing up the jeans won’t be too bad, but it’s the adjustment part that I’m uncertain about. You’d think that I’d be better at figuring out fit by now, but it’s still somewhat elusive…thanks for the encouragement!!

    1. 🙂 Old habits die hard, eh? I’m hoping that it comes across that I don’t take myself all that seriously 🙂 Thanks so much, Rachel!

    1. The fit is awesome – once I tweak the sleeve cuff situation, this may become my go-to shirt pattern! Thanks, Greta!

  5. Lovely fabric – looks great in that style. Do you mean sleeve plackets? Sew Maris is right in the middle of a shirt making bonanza and her posts are amazing – she’s just done plackets. I’ve saved nearly every post, the woman is amazing!

    1. Yes, placket!! Thank you, Sarah! Clearly, I need to research a little more…and thank you also for introducing me to Sew Maris! She’s based right here in Washington, how cool is that?

  6. The shirt looks great on you! Perfect fit. I’m also a big fan of your self conscious and awkward modeling. It’s the best! Standing in front of the camera is super weird

    1. OK, I snorted with laughter while reading this! Yes, I’m the queen bee of self-conscious, awkward modeling 🙂 You rock, Tara!

  7. p.s. I love that there’s always one picture of you smiling. Kind of a sneaky smile as if it was caught on “film” by accident. You have a beautiful smile 🙂

    1. I know, that fabric is fab, right? Keli (the owner of the fabric shop) got another bolt and she said that second one went nearly as fast! Thanks Liza Jane!

  8. So happy to see this pop up! That fabric is so good, I missed out on it the first time and had to be on top of it to snag some when it came in the second time. My Archer is done but I am waiting on some buttons to come in the mail…seeing yours I wish I would have cut the yoke on the bias- it looks great! I am liking the more fitted button up style, I will have to check out that pattern.

    1. Can’t wait to see your Archer, Kelly! I really love the texture of this fabric so much – it feels like really high quality stuff, wouldn’t you say? Thanks!

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