Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526

3 Oct

Well, surprise surprise…. I am back again with – you guessed it! – another button-up shirt. Ha! Is this all I wear these days? Probably. I’ve been sewing – and making button-ups – for years at this point, but it still tickles me to no end that I can get them to fit every part of my body without bagginess or gaping. To hell with all those tiny safety pins and double-sided tape – I finally have buttons where the buttons need to go! Yay!

So now, my wardrobe is just slowly filling up with the button-ups of my dreams. Also, button-ups are really really really fun to make. You like making jeans and bras? You’ll love making button-ups. So many tiny pieces with lots of precise topstitching I LURVES IT β™₯

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

When I was in NYC earlier this year, I made some time during my trip for a couple hours at Mood Fabrics flagship store in the Garment District. Since I live way way outside of NYC, I don’t generally get this opportunity except once or twice a year – so I try to make it count! I always come prepared with a list and a plan – and while I allow myself to veer off the list if I see something shiny that appeals to my magpie tendencies (very much like when I go grocery shopping, although that sort of veering usually involves chocolate :P), the list is helpful for keeping me on track so my purchases are a little more focused. I don’t know if you’ve had the pleasure of shopping in the physical Mood Fabrics store, but it is QUITE overwhelming if you’re not used to it! The aisles of fabric go on forever, piled to the ceiling – and there are 3 glorious floors of it!

One of the things on my list for this trip was to find a chambray Tencel shirting. I’ve seen this all over sewing blogs and even in RTW – chambray Tencel was apparently very hot last fall (whether or not it’s still hot this fall – whatever, I like it, that’s all that matters!). I wasn’t familiar with Tencel until a couple of years ago, when I was sewing for Elizabeth Suzann and she started using it for some of her designs. Tencel is very similar to rayon – it’s a wood cellulose fiber, so it breathes beautifully, and it has an incredible drape. Unlike most of the rayons I have sewn with, this is a bit thicker and easier to handle – it’s not quite so floaty. My brief internet research also tells me that Tencel is a very environmentally friendly, and the fibers are grown sustainably. Gooooo Tencel!

I found this particular Tencel in the depths of the shirting fabrics in Mood’s store, and it was exactly what I had been dreaming of when I wrote my list. It’s drapey and nearly as soft as a baby’s butt – just like rayon – but with a thicker hand and an incredible sheen. I am pretty sure this is the same stuff available on the website, actually (also FYI, Mood Fabrics now has tons of Tencel on their site – including flannel WUT). I bought enough yardage to make a long sleeved button up, prewashed that bad boy when I got home, and set it aside to allow summer to pass before I cut into it. And finally, here we are!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

I used my very favorite shirt pattern, Butterick 5526, to sew this up. I’ve made this pattern dozens of times at this point, so there’s not much I can say about it that I haven’t already said dozens of times. I’m so familiar with this pattern, I’m pretty sure it could sew itself if I gave it a chance. I decided to mix a couple things up to make my shirt look a little more like a workshirt – rugged, casual details, but with that pretty, slim fit that only princess seams can give you. And also to make it look less like I am just wearing the exact same shirt every day. Even though I totally am.

I redrafted the back to include a yoke (and by redrafted – I mean I just sliced off the top of the pattern piece and added seam allowances, ha!) and swapped out the simple bias plackets for a more manly tower placket. I also drafted pointed pockets with matching pointed flaps (again, I am using the term “drafted” VERY VERY loosely here!). Another big change was to topstitch everything at 1/4″, instead of my usual 1/8″ edgestitching. It’s a lot more bold and pronounced, like the RTW stuff I’ve been lurking on, and gives a completely different look! I imagine that over time, the edges will curl and wave a bit and make the whole shirt look more settled in. All the interior seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the yoke – which is faced with more Tencel. Oh, and I added button tabs to the sleeves, so I could roll them up if I wanted to!

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Working with Tencel wasn’t much different than any other shirting fabric I’ve used, although it does have a tendency to stretch and slide if it things it can get away with it. I added lightweight fusible interfacing to all the normal shirting bits – collar, collar stand, button placket, etc – as well as the sleeve tabs and pocket flaps, just to give them a little more structure. This fabric responds really well to heat, so I was able to steam everything easily into submission, which is a must for shirt making.

I did have one pretty big unpicking session with this shirt – for some reason, the collar ended up too big (I don’t think it stretched out, as the top collar is cut on the straight grain and was also immediately interfaced after cutting – I am thinking maybe I skewed my seam allowances somewhere, somehow?) and went almost to the ends of the collar stand. I noticed it right before I started topstitching, and while I tried to convince myself it was ok – it wasn’t, and I knew deep in my heart of hearts that it looks absolutely fucking shitty. At this point, I had already aggressively trimmed down all those seam allowances and pressed the shit out of everything, and while I could still unpick things – it would going to be a giant PITA. I left the shirt on my dress form for a few days so I could get some space, and upon revisiting, I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the collar the way it was. Considering how much time I had already spent making this shirt (and the uncertainty of knowing whether or not I’d be able to get more of this fabric to cut another one), I ultimately decided it was worth the time to unpick everything, re-sew the collar with larger seam allowances, and then re-insert it. Not gonna lie – it took me about 2 weeks of leaving the shirt wadded up in the corner of my sewing room (so it could really think about what it had done) before I got up the energy to do all that unpicking, and another week or so before I re-sewed everything. But you know what? It looks SO SO SO much better now (it’s not perfect, but it is a 1000% improvement, no question) and it was worth the anguish! Sometimes you just gotta step away from whatever is frustrating you, to get another perspective.

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

B5526 Chambray Tencel

Butterick 5526 is *my* personal go-to button-up pattern for sure – I’ve got my tweaks down to a science at this point, and there’s nothing this shirt pattern can’t do for me! I love a good button-up shirt and I’m so happy to see more of this sort of pattern emerging out of the wild these days! Cashmerette’s Harrison Shirt is drafted specifically for plus sizes all the way up to an H cup (like, seriously, the double princess seams with no gape is absolutely mind-blowing to me) and Tilly & The Button’s new Rosa Shirt & Shirtdress is a gorgeous little beginner-friendly piece that will walk you through every single step (stay tuned for my Rosa review, btw, bc OF COURSE I made one of those bad boys!). I also love the Grainline Studio Archer for a more rugged/boyfriend looking shirt (lack of princess seams on this one means less fitted, but also much more suitable for those cozy plaid flannels!) aaaand I just got my hands on a copy of Deer & Doe’s MΓ©lilot shirt so that’s coming up next! What’s your favorite shirt pattern?

As a bonus, the skirt I am wearing in these photos was also made with fabric from Mood Fabrics! I used a cotton corduroy and you can read all about it in this post from earlier this year. This skirt has been on hold during the summer – it’s too hot here to wear cord, plus, it just looks silly in 100* weather – and I am excited to bring it back into wardrobe rotation with these dipping temperatures! Mustard and denim – is there a prettier color combination? I think not!

Note: The fabrics used in this post were provided to me by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation with the Mood Sewing Network. That fabulous hat is all mine, though πŸ˜‰


57 Responses to “Completed: Chambray Tencel Butterick 5526”

  1. ellegeemakes October 3, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    Love, love it! This is one of my favorite shirt patterns too, and I love your work shirt details, the perfect buttons and tab so you can roll it up, and the quarter inch top stitching. Tercel is a favorite fabric of mine, how nice to know it’s environmentally friendly too!

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      I know! I didn’t realize it was environmentally friendly until I started researching it, and that just makes me love it even more now! πŸ˜€

  2. Deborah Penner October 3, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Although I have made just one shirt that I loved: a child’s size 2 western shirt in red flannel plaid for my then 2 year old (many years ago–I still have the shirt to prove it), I admire your dedication to the task. Your statement about buttons where you need them has me persuaded to try a shirt for myself. How the RTW industry decides where buttons go has had baffled. There always seems to be a gape, and I am a B cup! If one goes up a size or two, the shoulders are far too large.

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      Oh, that shirt sounds ADORABLE! (child-sized anything tends to be like that… but a plaid flannel western shirt, omg!). I don’t get the button placement on RTW! I guess they had a find an average to stick with, but it doesn’t seem like it work for anyone who tries to wear them, regardless of cup size!

  3. shesewsswell October 3, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Oh Hey Lauren!!! I woke up this morning dreaming of sewing a blue silk charmeuse robe…. But before I can do anything, I had to write emails, watch tutorials on how to use my evil serger, and then get lost in blog world…. I have this pattern in my stash…. I keep saying I’m gonna make it…. There’s a slight chill in the air here in Encinitas…. OK, in the next month. I’ll make it a goal. As alway, lovely to see you here. πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

      You must make it!! It’s the perfect shirt for chilly air – long sleeves that you can roll up when you get too warm, and the collar looks great even under a ratty sweatshirt πŸ˜‰ and always lovely to see you ’round these parts! β™₯

  4. sewcookgardenrepeat October 3, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    Oh man you can almost feel how buttery the fabric is just from the photos! I think this is the nicest button up you’ve made, Lauren!

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

      I think so, too! Certainly worth all that extra effort I gave it! πŸ˜€ Thank you!

  5. Annie W October 3, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    I’d never heard of tencel before- super cool. Can’t wait to see how the Melilot turns out. I dig that mandarin collar on it.

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

      I know! I’ve been lurking google images and some of the versions are really speaking to me!

  6. Abbey October 3, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    This is NICEEEEE!! The fabric looks amazingly comfy. Btw, love how the buttons on the shirt and skirt line up so perfectly it actually looks like a dress.

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      Thank you! And hahaha I noticed that too about the buttons… I don’t even want to admit how much it pleased me that it looks like a dress hahah:)

  7. Kelly October 3, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Fantastic! I think of making button up shirts as a type of therapy. No one step is very difficult, but everything is so precise it keeps your mind totally engaged and out of worry-mode. I need to make another!

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

      It really is! You can just zone out and focus on each little task at hand, and everything else in life just kind of disappears for at least a moment. I love it!

  8. Beth October 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    Love the hat — and it totally goes with this truly gorgeous and beautiful shirt and skirt. You look ready for Aussie-land! Good on ‘ya! Mood sounds a lot like some of the fabric stores I wandered into while living sorta near Los Angeles’s Garment District. Hunting and gathering in such shops is most definitely a labor of love. And, speaking of labors of love, if you ever find yarn with Tencel in its blend — grab it! It has a hand and drape that (to me, anyway) is even better than bamboo πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD October 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

      Mood does have a storefront in LA, so you might have actually wandered in there at one point πŸ™‚ I agree about hunting and gathering being a labor of love – now I’m on the hunt for some Tencel yarn cos that sounds AMAZING!!

      • Beth October 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

        Just picked up the mail and what do I see but a Tencel shirt “somewhat” similar to yours, but nowhere near as detailed and luxe. Their price? About $100! Wonder how they’d price yours πŸ™‚

        • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:02 am #

          Damn!! I would be curious to see how they’d price mine, too!

  9. jasika October 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm #


    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      SUCCESSSSSS πŸ˜€ ahahaha

  10. steelyseamstress October 3, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Lovely shirt. I really like the top-stitching at 1/4”- it makes the shirt look so much bolder and works well with the chambray. I just wish I had a wardrobe full of button-ups like you do – think I have a looong way to go, only three so far.

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:03 am #

      Yeah, I’d seen the topstiching on RTW shirts but haven’t tried it on my own until this pattern – I do really like the effect, though! And hey – creating the button-ups is half the fun of getting that wardrobe full, in my opinion πŸ˜‰

  11. sewing with kate October 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    Do you know this blogger? She has a massive following.

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:02 am #

      Do I know… myself? πŸ˜›

      • sewing with kate October 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

        Err… I was passing your blog on and accidentally replied. Interesting question all the same! X

  12. Naomi October 3, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

    For making shirts I use a random old Simplicity pattern that my mum’s friend gave me at some point. It’s super simple but it works for me. I had to redraft the collar to remove the Saturday Night Fever feels, but otherwise all good.
    Princess seams always seem to highlight the non-existance of curves on my bod, so I avoid them.
    And Tencel FTW. I remember wearing it in the 90s when it was #sohot and the drape was beautiful. But the best part is the environmental stuff. Two points for Tencel.

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:04 am #

      Tencel is the shit! I should have known that it first came round in the 90s. All the shit I like today seems to be rooted in the 90s (or the revival part of the 90s). Having lived through that whole decade once, you’d think I would know this… but I was quite unfashionable, to put it mildly πŸ˜‰ haha

  13. Natasha October 3, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    WAT! This shirt is the bomb, and I am totally infatuated with the blue and mustard colour combo. Also, thank you for introducing me to the Melilot shirt. yaasss!

  14. Becky Thompson October 3, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

    Well, they HAD oodles of it until you blogged it. Now it will only let me order 1 yard and I need 3. Product unavailable. Rats. That pattern is perfect for Nashville!

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:05 am #

      Dammit!! I’m sorry, I hate it when they sell out 😦

  15. Lynsey October 4, 2016 at 2:01 am #

    Your shirt is fab, the fit is spot on and it looks awesome on, I’ve not come across Tencel before but is looks great, it doesn’t look like is has the creases that chambray has (or is it ironed btw love to iron when I sew but not not so keen any other time:) I ordered the MΓ©lilot last night and plan a long sleeve version as its getting chilly here.

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      This is ironed and unworn, but it doesn’t feel like it creases very much (I can’t speak for this particular Tencel until I’ve worn it around – it’s in my suitcase right now for my NH trip tomorrow!! – but the stuff we had at ES never creased, and was great for travel). It feels like wrinkles and creases would just fall out. and I’m with you – love pressing during a sewing project, DETEST ironing any other time! ha!

  16. Mari October 4, 2016 at 4:53 am #

    Love your shirt! A friend of mine was wearing a RTW shirt made out of Tencel the other day and ever since I am on the hunt for some nice Tencel fabric.. It looks and feels really nice.
    I’ve been sewing shirts all summer, I made 6 MΓ©lilot shirts so far and I have 2 more cut out (also, nobody notices that I am wearing the same shirt all the time). I am going to sew an Archer now, to switch things up a bit. Curious to know what you think of the MΓ©lilot pattern!

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      I am excited to try it! I am thinking that short sleeve version in particular needs to be in my life ASAP!

  17. Catherine from Canada October 4, 2016 at 7:42 am #

    Funny, I use the Archer pattern for my “dressier” shirts – because it’s not as fitted, it’s the pattern I go to for drapey rayon or silk. It blouses nicely when tucked into a slim skirt or skinny jeans. (not with pockets tho’, never with pockets. The girls don’t want or need any more attention than they get just by being there…)

    • LLADYBIRD October 4, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      Oh yeah, the Archer is great for drapier fabrics! I can definitely agree with that!

  18. qplourde October 4, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    I need to take a trip to Mood at some point – I’m in Boston so I’m not that far away. Gotta make it happen soon! I always have trouble with gaping on RTW shirts – I need to start making my own, I just always put it off because of the time commitment. This shirt looks so stylish and professional…and that fabric is very intriguing to me as I have not heard of it.

    • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:26 am #

      It’s definitely a time commitment to make your own – but at least it’s fun (well, it is for me anyway haha) to do it! And yes, you should go to Mood! I’m so jealous that it’s nearby-ish for you!

  19. Aubrey (@alwaysaubrey) October 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Your whole outfits gives me joy.

    • Aubrey (@alwaysaubrey) October 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      Except I can’t spell. Also, we missed meeting up in September, gotta get back on that!

      • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:26 am #

        YOU give me joy! And yes, we gotta plan something for October – maybe the last week? This is such a weird month for me haha

  20. Inclement October 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    Youuuu trickster :P. This, and what you’ve been posting on Instagram, *are not the same*. Just ’cause they’re both blue button(snap)-ups with chest pockets…hahaha.

    • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      Hey now, I totally posted this on Instagram… I just posted something very similar afterwards haha.Β What can I say – I love blue button ups with chest pockets πŸ˜›

  21. knitmo October 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    When I have a project go awry like the collar did on your shirt, I call it serving time in pergatory. It may be redeemed or it might be banished. But, I require time to noodle out the options and what I might do to solve it.

    I am in the midst of making my first Harrison Shirt as I’ve been waiting to get the perfect shirt stitched. All I need to do is attached the collar, cuffs and do the buttons.

    • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:28 am #

      Yes! I definitely refer to that as purgatory as well hahaha.

      Excited for your Harrison shirt! I loved that pattern so much and all the versions I’ve been seeing. Jenny really really nailed it with that one!

  22. Claire October 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    I’ve been following your blog for some time so have seen your various versions of this shirt – all fab! Finally, I have got around to ordering a copy of the pattern for me πŸ™‚ I’ve made five versions of the Archer shirt so hopefully I will be as addicted as you are to this pattern.

    • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:28 am #

      Yay!! I love you fall as hard and fast in love as I did πŸ™‚

  23. PsychicKathleen October 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    I love your shirt! I actually did buy the Harrison (being a DD πŸ™‚ and signed up for Jen’s class as well. I’m excited about having a shirt with 2 princess seams! What opportunities for a great fit πŸ™‚ I figured a light cotton to get the ball rolling THEN progress to one my lovely silks πŸ™‚ I’ve always wanted a nice well fitted silk shirt πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD October 5, 2016 at 8:29 am #

      The Harrison looks like such a great pattern from what I can tell – I am so excited for you!! And dude, as a new owner of a nice well fitted silk shirt… you are gonna be so so happy with that! Yay!

      • Anonymous October 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

        I’m so glad there are other people out there that screw up and have to WALK AWAY for a few days….

  24. esewing October 19, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Great fitting shirt , love the seaming , so glad you persevered with the collar , you couldn’t have left it less than perfect , it would stay at the back of the wardrobe! I find if I unpick errors straight away , I am then more likely to pick it up next time I’m sewing , if not then stays in a ball 😦

  25. Jonathan Caswell February 7, 2017 at 6:09 pm #


  26. Katie March 14, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Going to attempt this pattern for the first time. What size do you use??
    Thanks!! I’m excited!!

    • LLADYBIRD March 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

      I believe I used a 6. I based my size off the finished measurements.


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