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Elbe Textiles Cornell Shirt pattern review


Ever since revisiting the world of button up shirt sewing earlier in the year, I have definitely come down with what can only be described as a case of shirt fever. I’ve never been a massive fan of fiddling around with plackets and button bands, but lately the slow precise nature of shirt sewing has enticed me anew.
So, to the Cornell pattern by Elbe Textiles. I am typically late to the pattern party for this shirt as this has been doing the rounds since late 2019. The pattern hashtag on Instagram has an impressive 700+ wonderful Cornells to be inspired by! This pattern lets us choose between two casual shirt styles - one with a button up placket extending down past the hip (also known as a ‘popover’), and the other a classic full button front. It features a dropped shoulder, grandpa collar and beautiful finishing with French seams and facings all the way. Appealingly, it’s a gender neutral style, too, made to fit a bunch of different bodies.

To skip forward a little, I like this pattern. A lot! So much so I made two in quick succession. And no promises that there won’t be more, either.

Elbe Textiles Cornell Shirt pattern review
Elbe Cornell Shirt in gingham



For my first Cornell I chose a soft Japanese cotton double gauze (this colour, Clay is sold out, but we have other double gauzes in the shop). For my second shirt, I chose a Japanese cotton/linen yarn dyed check. Lauren suggests a fabric with some drape, and the check lies more on the light-medium weight, structured side of the fence, but I was aiming for a slightly boxy, workwear-esque version and it delivered on that. To compare the two, though, I personally prefer the fit provided by the drape of the double gauze. With that in mind, I can imagine beautiful Cornells in our washed linens, Japanese soft twills, or tencel/cotton denims, Liberty Tana Lawn… okay, I’ll stop now!

Elbe Cornell Shirt pattern gingham closeup



The Cornell is designed wth a lot of ease. I wanted mine to be oversized but not overwhelming, so, with the help of the finished measurement chart chose size C, one size down from my chest measurements. There is a good range of sizes included here, with the patten made to fit chest measurements from 82cm to142cm and hip 78cm to 138cm (with corresponding finished measurements for both hip and chest of 117cm to 178cm to give you a guide of included wearing ease).


Elbe Cornell Shirt closeup double gauze



If you’ve sewn an Elbe pattern before you’ll know that the instructions are excellent. The French seams and topstitching make this a reasonably time consuming project, but not ridiculously so for a shirt. There are some lovely touches, like the box pleat and hanging loop at the back that give this project lots of small pleasing landmarks to sit back and appreciate along the way. 

Elbe Cornell Shirt detail


If you haven’t sewn a button up shirt before, this would be a great place to start. The instructions and diagrams lead you through every step, and there’s even a nice tutorial about placket construction on the Elbe blog.

Elbe Cornell Shirt detail


I only veered off the path on one occasion to stay stitch the neckline opening immediately before commencing the burrito method for the yoke (the instructions have us do this later on) - only because I was concerned that the double gauze might stretch at that step (I’ve been burned on that front before!)


Elbe Textiles Cornell Shirt pattern review




None, other than taking 6cm off the length of the shirt tail hem at the back. The Cornell is based off Elbe’s menswear measurements, and I’m only 5 foot 6, so no surprises there. Otherwise, this fit so well straight out of the box. I love the roomy but not overly baggy fit at the arms, and I love the beautifully curved hem. It’s loose and comfortable and basically the only thing I want to wear at the moment. 

The Cornell pattern is available as a downloadable PDF direct from Elbe Textiles here.


- Fiona xx

July 22, 2021 by Fiona Dalton
Tags: shirt

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