the Willamette shirt

Every time I finish something new and it turns out well, I can’t help but think it’s my new favorite make. It’s hyperbolic and time is a better test – but you guys, this pattern is a real joy to sew and wear.

I had no plans to make this top in the near future, but when I spotted this beautiful striped linen at my local Joann store (while shopping for another project) – I could not resist buying a yard and a half. Elise Joy and Heidi from Handmade Frenzy recently made such beautiful versions of this pattern – that this project & fabric instantly jumped to the top of my queue.

I try to purchase fabric independently – but Joann’s is really killing with their linen game right now.

When I left the store I really thought that a yard and a half of fabric would be plenty to make myself a nice top, but upon purchasing and printing the pattern pieces I was surprised to discover that the Willamette shirt called for 2.5 yards of fabric! At this point I was committed, however, and therefore had another round of fabric tetris ahead of me.

Luckily I was better prepared this time, and opted to trace all of my pattern pieces to be cut on a single layer. This meant that for pieces designed to be cut on the fold, I traced a new piece that was mirrored with a center line instead of a fold line. For pieces meant to be cut twice, I went ahead and traced a second piece.

Original collar piece at the top – “Cut 2 on the fold”. Instead (bottom) I mirrored the other side and created two separate pattern pieces.

Ultimately this meant that when I layed my fabric out on a single layer, I had a pattern piece for every single piece that needed to be cut, and didn’t have to make any guesses as to where to place each piece.

Apologies for the bad lighting (that 5 pm sunlight was comin’ in FIERCE) – but look how nicely I was able to fit all my pieces!

This obviously required some more time on the front end of the pattern cutting process – but it was 1000% worth it!! Actually laying out the pieces and cutting my fabric was sooooo much easier than my Joni dress.


Once again I found myself with the most adorable tiny scrap pile.

Because my Anna dress was such a journey, I did not opt to make a muslin or do any fitting adjustments prior to sewing this up. The design is meant to be a little over-sized, so I was fairly confident that it would turn out fine without much fuss. I love a long and involved project – but sometimes it’s nice to have a spacer and work on something that’s fairly quick and easy.

As for the pattern itself, it’s fantastic. These are possibly the best set of instructions I’ve encountered yet, and I really loved every step of the project. This is the first time I’ve sewn together a proper front and back yoke, and the process was explained beautifully. If you have never sewn a collared shirt before – I highly recommend this pattern as a starting point.

Finally, I loved sewing with this linen. It’s beautiful. It’s easy to work with. And ooooh it presses so nicely. I cannot wait to wear this as the days continue to get warmer over the next few months. I was reminded of how much I love sewing a collared shirt, and the Fairfield button-up I’ve been promising my husband for months has jumped straight to the top of my sewing queue.

The Details:

  • Fabric: 100% Striped Linen from Joann Stores (1.5 yards, but pattern calls for 2.5)
  • Pattern: Willamette Shirt by Hey June Handmade
  • Size: 2
    • View C w/cuffs
  • Adjustments:
    • Raised the center front stitch line 1″
  • Total Cost: ~ $33
    • $10 for the pattern
    • $23 for the fabric