We’re here at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop to teach you how to sew a button-up shirt. We’ll be using the Classic Oxford pattern from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop for this tutorial. The classic oxford includes options for short sleeves, long sleeves, and convertible sleeves with a button tab. This shirt is great for playing or dressing up.
Alright, this isn’t too hard so let’s get started:
Classic Oxford Sew-Along | How to Sew a Button-Up Shirt
Step 1: Choosing the Proper Size shirts
Be sure to measure your child to choose what size to sew. Measure your child’s chest, how long their arm is from shoulder to wrist, and their torso from shoulder to wear you like the hem of the shirt to hit. When measuring the chest, you want your child relaxed with their arms at their side. Don’t pull the tape really snugly. You want it comfortable around the chest.
After you have the chest size determined, look at the finished length of the shirt body and sleeve and compare those to your child’s torso and arm measurements. Blend sizes to get the proper fit for you child.
Step 2: Picking your shirts fabric
The Classic Oxford is a great pattern for that woven collection you may have sitting on your shelf. Woven cotton fabric, chambray, shirting, flannel, and what is commonly known as “quilter’s cotton” are all great fabrics. A solid fabric gives a gorgeous traditional button-up look perfect for dressier occasions. A Classic Oxford from solid fabric is my go-to for my son’s concert attire. Robert Kaufman chambray makes a gorgeous classic shirt.
Take a look at the Woven Fabric section at KnitFabric.com for inspiration.
Of course, you can always do a fun print for a more casual style. Who doesn’t love a classic flannel shirt? Flannel is great for the classic oxford. It’s wonderful for layering in the chillier months.
Step 3: Get Your Interfacing
Interfacing is a necessity when creating a professional-looking oxford button-up shirt. There are many types of interfacing available. Go with something lighter weight. You want a comfortable shirt! I prefer to use SF101. It gives a nice amount of stability, but doesn’t make the fabric stiff. Once you have your size determined and have your fabric picked out, cut out your pattern pieces.
Step 4: Applying the Interfacing and Sewing Button Holes
Don’t skip the interfacing! Apply your interfacing to your shirt where indicated in the pattern. After your interfacing is applied, create the button placket as instructed. I like to use some 1/4″ hem tape to keep the first 1/4″ fold in place.
When you do your topstitching, lengthen your stitch length slightly. I use a 3.6 for wovens on my machine. Go slowly and keep an eye on your guide, not the needle. Because it was an 1 inch fold, if you keep your fabric just to the side of the 1′ guide on your machine, you are guaranteed to catch the fold on the underside of your fabric.
Time to mark our button holes. I like to lay out my buttons to get a visual of how far apart I want them. This tends to vary for me depending on the size of the button. This time, I am spacing them 2.5″ apart. Measure this space to make sure you are accurate and mark it with an appropriate marker. I like tailor’s chalk, personally. I mark the bottom of my button holes. It’s important to be consistent with how you mark your buttons, otherwise, you end up with a buttonhole where you don’t intend to!
Most machines come with a buttonhole foot. Read your machine’s manual to find out how to use one with your machine. Most work the same. Put the button you will be using into the back end of the buttonhole foot. This tells your machine what size buttonhole you need.
Select your buttonhole stitch. My machine happens to have several options. Number 16 is the stitch style most machines use.
There is usually a lever to pull down. This lever tells your machine how far to stitch before changing directions. It MUST be fully engaged to get the proper size buttonhole. PRACTICE making a few buttonholes on some scraps of fabric. It’s best to use the same fabric and interfacing you are using for your project.
Place the button placket under the buttonhole foot. Line up the mark you made with the tooth of the foot and make sure the foot is centered on the placket. My machine makes the BOTTOM of the buttonhole first. Your machine may do the stitch differently.
Now, stitch your buttonhole. And repeat. 🙂
To open up my buttonholes, I like to press my rotary cutter into the center of each buttonhole to open it. Then I take my scissors and clip them closer to the end if needed. You can also use a seam ripper. Placing a needle across the opposite end will keep you from ripping open the end of your buttonhole.
Step 5: Attaching buttons to your shirt
Did you know you can use your sewing machine for this step? You can!! Using a zig-zag stitch width that matches the thread holes of the button, set your machine to either a 0 stitch length, or drop the feed dogs if your machine allows. Tape the button into place if needed and position it under the presser foot. Lower it carefully to not disrupt the button’s position. Crank your machine by hand for the first few stitches to ensure the needle is positioned correctly. Then sew your button in place! Easy!
Step 6: How to Sew a Shirt Yoke / Burrito Method
Now we are going to learn how to sew the shirt yoke using the burrito method.
First, Create the pleat. I like to mark the pleat markings on my fabric with pins. The pink pin marks the center of the pattern. The white pins mark the pleat line closest to the center on the pattern piece and the yellow mark the line farthest away from the center.
Fold the wrong side together at the white pin and press.
Without opening that fold, open the fabric along the yellow pin and press again. The yellow pin should right next to the pink pin.
Repeat for the other side without unfolding the first side. Baste in place.
Now for the shoulder seam assembly, or aka, the burrito roll method. Click on the video below to watch how this is done.
Step 7: How to Sew a Sleeve Placket on a Button-Up
So far we’ve prepared our patterns, cut out the pattern pieces, applied the interfacing to the pattern pieces, created the button placket, and we assembled the back by creating the box pleat and learned how to do the burrito roll method to assemble the shoulder seams.
Next is a video on doing the sleeve placket. Click on the video below to learn how to assemble the sleeve placket.
After you have your sleeve plackets assembled, attach your sleeves and sew the side seams as directed in the pattern.
Step 8: How to Sew a Button-Up Shirt Collar
Alright, now it’s time to show you how to sew a shirt collar. Here’s my Video on How to Do It. Amy also made a video on sewing the shirt collar so check it out HERE. My video clips off right at the end. (Technology isn’t always my friend! I ran out of space on my camera.) Finish topstitching the collar stand all the way around. That’s all we missed.
After you have your collar attached, complete the rest of the pattern. That’s it! You have a Classic Oxford!!
Thanks for joining us to learn how to sew a button-up shirt. The classic oxford is a stylish button-up to add to your child’s wardrobe. Be sure to share your shirts in the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Facebook Group and on Instagram. Also, take a look at some of our other tutorials:
I am planning on making the Oxford Button-up in a lightweight cotton as a Christmas shirt for my nephew (I only have girls so used to making dresses etc), I am wondering if the interfacing in the collar is crucial for this style or whether I can get away with not having it for a more relaxed looking collar?