Alex shirt: My first button-up in cotton shirting!

Today I’m excited to share my first women’s button-up shirt!  It’s the Sew Over It Alex shirt from the City Break eBook. I’ve been working my way through this eBook for several months now and love every pattern! This one is really special: An uncomplicated shirt that can be dressy for work or a casual top with a pair of shorts.





The front has a fairly wide camp-style collar (no collar stand), which gives the shirt a relaxed feel. I made it up with a quite-structured cotton from Sewing Studio. In the book, Lisa had a couple examples in cotton shirting  — this is what I was going for.



The book also had samples in much lighter fabrics, and I think this would work very well. I have a couple light and drapey fabrics I wasn’t sure what to do with — now they’re going to be Alex shirts.

This shirt gave me the opportunity to finally use some of the buttons I bought from Kabooco on Etsy.


Given my past issues with cutting sleeves, I pinned every piece down before I did any cutting, and double-checked all the cut instructions on the pattern pieces. My fabric was 44″ wide and everything fit *exactly* on 2.5 yards.


Construction was helped by my first Starbucks coffee in two months, which my husband very kindly delivered to me at home.


The shirt came together very well. I only had a couple of issues. My collar ended up a bit too wide, and I had sewn it on too far from the yoke. To fix this, I inverted the short sides of the collar and then topstitched that down.



As you can tell from the above photo, I did not slip-stitch the collar on in back, as instructed. My slip-stitching looks like a crazy person did it, so instead I did a stitch-in-the-ditch. This didn’t catch in a few places so I resewed from the back. When that didn’t catch I did it a third time. It looks a bit chunky, but it’s inside the shirt and on my back, so I’ll never see it.

I confidently sewed on the sleeve tabs thinking “this looks great”, only to try on the shirt later and realize there was no way I could roll up the sleeve and button it.

Turns out the tab is sewn to the inside (yep, you knew that!). Then you pull out the tab and button it to the outside. Got it. It was an easy fix except that I was negotiating a lot of shirt under the machine at this point.

Fitting was another issue. I’ve made three other patterns from this eBook — all in a 14 — and all turned out just a little too small. For the Erin skirt, I sewed the side seam at about 1/8″. Same for the Mia jeans. So I decided to go up a size on this shirt and do a 16 — but then it was too big!


I ended up remarking the side seam and the sleeves to take it in about an inch on both sides. Next time I make this I’m actually going to go down to a 12.

Yesterday it was almost 90 degrees here in Northern California. I’m glad to add this cool, cotton shirt to my wardrobe! -rp

4 thoughts on “Alex shirt: My first button-up in cotton shirting!

  1. The shirt looks great! I have been looking for a shirt pattern that is not too boxy. I was going to use the Seamwork Rachel, but this one looks so much more feminine. Would you recommend it?

    • Absolutely! In a rayon or tencel it would not be boxy at all. The difference from a Seamwork Rachel or Grainline Archer would be the sleeve. There is no sleeve cuff at all, so it’s a shirt-blouse hybrid. Good luck!

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