Pattern review - The Assembly Line Cap Sleeve Shirt
The Cap Sleeve shirt is a loose, square-fit button-up in the beautiful minimalist style we’ve come to expect from The Assembly Line. There are no pockets or fussy details, just a simple band collar, stitched down cuffs on the cut-on sleeves and a gently curved hem. As shirts go, it's a blank slate for you to make your own.
I chose some of our black and white mini stripe Japanese cotton seersucker: it's crisp and light and stable to sew. (In full disclosure I made my husband a Christmas shirt from this same fabric in gingham and have listened to him talk all Summer about how nice it is to wear, so I wanted in!) The seersucker holds the boxy shape of this shirt ably, but for a swishier look this would work beautifully in a drapey tencel or washed linen.
According to measurements I probably should have made the L but opted for the the M after consulting garment measurements and the resulting shirt has heaps of ease, which seems pretty much par for the course with The Assembly Line. I’m totally happy with the looseness, but there is plenty of room to go down more than one size if you favour a closer fit.
What’s to like:
- This pattern is a great place to dip your toe into shirt making if you’re ‘shirt curious’ but haven’t gone there yet. There are only 4 main pattern pieces, and the instructions are plentiful and clear with lots of bonus info about seam finishes and whatnot in the pattern booklet. Consider this your gateway drug to shirt making!
- Very efficient fabric use. I had a small handful of scraps from only 1.4m of a 110cm wide fabric.
- There’s a decent size range offered: choose from XS-L (bust 80-104cm) or XL-3XL (bust 108-138)
- There is so much room for lots of adaption here with fabric choice and direction or adding flouncy bits if that's what floats your boat. Plus there are four collar extensions available to download via the Assembly Line website. I’m seriously coveting the peter pan collar for another time.
The front plackets aren’t completely enclosed/stitched down on the outer fold along the button bands. I know this because I scoured the directions more than a few times thinking I had missed something! The preference here is for clean lines all the way and the plackets are kept in place by buttons and buttonholes instead of stitching. It’s not necessary but I wouldn’t rule out stitching this placket down before adding the collar next time, in some fabrics it might be a more robust finish for a narrow placket like this. (But don't do it before the hem or you'll stuff up the neat finish at the bottom of the placket!)
The instructions have you interface the outer sleeve cuff pieces. I hesitated at this step since this seersucker, though a lightweight 120gsm, is already fairly crisp. But, in the name of fabric shop blog reportage, I faithfully followed the pattern. Once all the rolling and folding of the cuffs is done there are three layers of fabric in this spot, one of them interfaced, so it took some enthusiastic seam allowance grading and plenty of steam to get my cuffs where I wanted them. In short, interfacing was probably overkill for this fabric - unless you’re sewing with a very light and/or shifty cloth, l’d leave the interfacing out on the cuffs.
All in all...
I'm so glad I tried this pattern. It's a great dopamine hit of a shirt - a quick sew that doesn't suck up a whole lot of fabric with plenty of room for personalisation. My second one (using this Hokkoh linen/cotton) is already on the way!
Buttons are our 12mm Corozo Shirt buttons in natural.
- Fiona xx