I was going through draft blog posts & came across this, which I started a very long time ago. It’s a review of the Sew Over It Intro to Sewing Shirts: Ultimate Shirt & Hackney Shirt, which came with patterns for the Hackney (for men) and the Ultimate (for women). I was not paid to write this review, I paid for the class myself.
There are separate classes for the men’s and women’s shirts. This review refers to the Hackney shirt lessons as that’s what I made first, and that’s all I’ve watched so far. My comments may not apply to the Ultimate Shirt lessons. Although I’ve done a lot of sewing for myself I had never made a shirt before so I thought this would be good for a complete shirt-making novice.
General observations: I got really fed up of of being called “guys” all the way through. Each lesson is very, very short.
In some sections there isn’t enough detail – e.g “press it over to this side” without explaining what “this side” is. Sometimes it doesn’t matter that you don’t know what “this” is, but sometimes it really does! Sometimes you can work out what “this” is by watching, and re-watching (multiple times), the video clip but sometimes you can’t.
In other sections it explains the detail but not the big picture: e.g. which sleeve placket goes with which sleeve? Which way up do you put them together? It isn’t explained and you have to watch very closely as there’s one shot of it on screen for a few seconds so you could easily miss it. The PDF booklet doesn’t really fill in the gaps either. I read a review by someone else who said you only need the booklet or the videos & I suspect that’s probably true. I referred to Google far more than I feel I should have done, just to fill in the gaps.
The instructions say 1.5 cm seam allowance “unless otherwise stated”. But stated where? On the pattern pieces? In the booklet? Note to self for future reference: collar/neckline/collar stand/cuffs all 1 cm.
When setting the sleeve in, she explains it with both sleeve & body of shirt facing up, then when she sets it in I believe she turns the sleeve the other way up – so if you’re not watching really carefully you could get it wrong.
I had never done flat fell seams before & I thought the method for the armscye was over-complicated but I subsequently found that it’s the way Peter Lappin does it, although he does not trim down the neckline edge after folding over the top of the sleeve. Peter Lappin is a true guru for making shirts & his blog is an entertaining read, too! I only discovered him after I’d bought this class.
In summary: do I think this class is good for a complete novice to shirt-making? Sadly, no, at least not for the Hackney shirt. Perhaps if you start with the Ultimate Shirt your mileage may vary, as they say? Do I think this was good value for money? Despite an overall quite negative review, I bought the class when it was discounted so when you take into account the fact that it included 2 patterns then yes, I do feel it was. I did learn from it, just not enough to complete the shirt from this class alone.
I’m obviously no expert on shirts but I feel the Hackney pattern is well drafted & will be a good basis for ‘tweaking’. I don’t know if the same could be said of the Ultimate as I haven’t even printed that out yet.
I did eventually make a shirt for my son with this class but had measured incorrectly & it was too short! Not the fault of the class of course . . . . but I thought it might explain the lack of pictures to accompany this review!
Note: The class has moved to Sew Over It’s Stitch School since I bought it. Just a different format, no change to class content (as you would expect) & at time of publishing this post it is £30.