A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bonn 5: The Make It Work Shirt

Surprise, I made another Bonn (affiliate link).  I'm not sorry.  I'm going to make more.  You'll see another before long, I'm sure.  This one, though, is made out of the prettiest, softest flannel, and it's in a tunic length for extra coziness.

Funny story about the fabric.  The temperature briefly dipped into the 40s a few weeks ago, and I felt miserably cold.  I know, mid-40s isn't really that cold, but I am a naturally cold person, plus I'm a bit anemic, and that particular week, 40s may as well have been 10s.  One night after my husband came home, I couldn't take it anymore.  I told him I had to go buy flannel ASAP and I took off to Joann's at 8 p.m.  I haven't bought apparel flannel there before, and my expectations were quite low, so I was really excited to find a bolt of this stuff.  I can't find it on the web site, but it was one of only two 55" flannels on the shelf; most of the other apparel flannels are 41"-ish wide.  Plus it was the same price as the narrower flannels, and of course it was on sale.  I came home and washed and dried it three times, and was astounded when it came out of the wash pill-free.  It didn't even shrink that much.  So, I'm sorry I can't find it online, but if you see it in store you can buy with confidence.

I spent about an hour cutting my fabric, including lengthening the overall length by about 6" and narrowing the sleeve from the wrist to the elbow after comparing it to my Gallery Tunic pattern sleeve.  I thought I was careful in my cutting, and of course, I've made this shirt four times before with great results.  But somehow, my darts ended up way too low.  I have no idea what happened - I must not have had the fabric completely smoothed out while cutting, but I wasn't any hastier than I normally am. When I tried on the shirt before sewing on my pockets, I was very bummed.  The too-low darts really made a huge difference in the fit and it just wasn't the pattern I loved anymore.

However, I needed this flannel coziness in my wardrobe ASAP, so I just kept on trucking.  I had planned to make pockets anyway, and so I decided to make them extra huge to hide my darts.  I also placed them strategically to mitigate the poor-fit wrinkles as much as possible.

My cutting error wasn't limited to the dart.  Somehow this shirt also just ended up way too big.  Part of it was the improper dart placement, and part of it could be the way this thicker flannel behaves, but there was also just a lot of excess fabric.  I also think that I made my initial full bicep adjustment too large; I will need to remedy that before I make Bonn #6.

So on this shirt, I ended up taking it in about an inch, starting about 1.5" below the bust dart all the way up through the sleeve, ending slightly above my elbow crease.  The sleeves in this shirt are set in, so the adjustment was a bit sloppy as I didn't do it the "right way" by unpicking the sleeve; I just sewed straight over the seam.

I guess we can call this a "Make It Work" shirt.  The bad dart makes it feel a little sloppy, but it is so comfortable that I've worn it a bunch since it came off the machine.

As an aside, I'd like to mention that we lived in Moscow, Russia, not too long ago, and I was not nearly as wimpy about cold weather then, as I am now.  I think that I just used up all my cold tolerance during those two years when I forced myself to take the then-baby girls for walks in their stroller every day as long as the temperature was above 14F.  And now I'm done.

Thanks for reading, stay warm, and I'll see you next time.


  1. My general feeling on making patterns again and again is: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. :) The shirt looks great! I bought some flannel online from Joann over the weekend and am eager to make it up into a cozy winter dress.

    I like the boots--the whole outfit looks very cute and cozy!!

    Per the coldness--I have the same issues, and also lived in Russia, but I dressed differently there. I also found that Russians tended to overheat the insides of places to compensate for the outdoors, so you layer a lot more, I think. The drier air there also makes a difference--damp cold feels colder, no matter how you slice it!

    1. Yes, I definitely dressed differently there. I don't regularly wear long underwear anymore, but perhaps that would help. Thanks for the encouragement on continuing to make this pattern - I feel like my blog is getting boring, but then, this is what I wear!

  2. It's weird when you're making something you know really well and for some reason, never to be determined, it just turns out super wonky! It's bizarre! But you did great job recovering from the blow, and although I can see what you're talking about in terms of fit, this is a really great, really useful piece! I hope you stay warm and cozy. I live in California where it rarely drops below freezing, but I complain about the cold a lot because we live in an old drafty uninsulated house, so it's often the same temp outside as inside in the morning!! Ugh! Very warm slippers and a heated throw on the couch helps! Stay cozy!

  3. If you are wearing it, you MADE it work!
    I recently made s striped dress as a muslin of sorts, I think I look like a shiny stripe-y sausage roll butI am wearing it all the time.
    I like the Bonn on you, if it aint broke...

  4. I bought this fabric too, so I’m excited to see something made from it/hear it’s nice. I was thinking a shirt dress but I’ve been dithering about which one. I might try the Bonn!


Hi! I am so happy you came by. Thanks for your comment!