The Frida Shirt

It’s a pleasure to introduce your first project of the 6 Month Capsule Course!
I wanted to start this course with an achievable garment but also something that demands attention to detail and a professional approach. I could have started with an easier piece - a jersey pattern for example - but I wanted to set the bar high from the word go.
I think the Frida Shirt is a lovely piece to sew; it has the structured approach of shirt making but with easier techniques and some feminine features.
This email will be the starting point of your project. I've detailed everything I can think of that might be helpful but if you're left with any questions please hit reply to this email or post your question on our forum.
At the bottom of the email you'll find a link to the private course blog where all the projects will be saved to refer back to. You'll also find an invitation link to join the forum if you haven't done so already.
Have a good read and I can't wait to see some Frida Shirts shared to the forum board in the near future!


When it came to planning this capsule I knew I wanted to use this french style printed fabric. I love the intricate pattern design and it’s unlike anything I’ve sewn before. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to do a tutorial on pattern matching which is ideal to do at the start of the 6 month course.
As this fabric is white it means it's slightly transparent so I used a plain white cotton for the inside back yoke panel. This makes sure that the printed fabric is showing just the right side of the print and not a murky under layer due to transparency. If you're using a printed fabric that isn't transparent you'll be fine to use the self fabric on the inner yoke for any shirt.
I have a small stash of buttons that I rotate on a regular basis so to choose my pairing I laid everything out together along with some thread options. The little wooden buttons paired with the printed fabric made me think of a piece of furniture which I oddly really liked the look of.
I hadn’t visualised using a contrast thread for this piece but I found an exact matching thread colour in my box so it felt rude not to. Although the thread perfectly matches the blue it still feels like a contrast colour as it will draw attention to the stitching on the white parts of the fabric.
In terms of sizing, I’m 5ft 10 with a 88cm bust, 80cm waist and 91cm hip. I usually take a size 10 in my patterns but I opted for a size 12 for this piece. I know I’ll be wearing this top in the height of summer and I think a bit of extra room in warmer months is nice to allow for airflow between the fabric and the body.
Making Process
Overall this was quite a seamless making process. For me this is a very familiar piece to make so I can easily get lost in the process.
In terms of modifications the only one to note is the shortened sleeve length. The finished length is 29cm with a 2cm hem. If you’d like to shorten your sleeve I recommend cutting it much longer than you think you need. You can then try the shirt on and fold the piece where you’d like it to finish and trim from there, leaving 4cm for a 2cm + 2cm hem allowance.
Stitching details
The only other very small change I made was to add some topstitching detailing to the shoulders, back yoke, button stand and hems. I started this process by adding a 1mm line of stitching down the edge of the button stand. I felt the linear quality of the stitching helped to balance out the very fussy print. I then followed this through on the shoulders, yoke and hem to have continuation throughout the garment.
The photo above shows two subtle features:
1. Additional topstitching on the button stand and hem, 1mm from the edge
2. Pattern matching across the button stand and front pocket
Read Up
If you like the idea of using stitching to add design details to your pieces you might like to check out a past blog post - The Art of Topstitching. In this blog I used red thread and decorative topstitching on a white Frida Shirt to change the whole character of the garment (shown below).

Extra guidance & tips
It wouldn’t be a course without some extra guidance and tips! My new assistant and I have been busy putting together some videos to provide extra content throughout this course.
There are a couple of making methods on my piece that aren’t covered in the written instructions or the online tutorials so we’ve made a couple of short videos to fill in the gaps.
Pattern Matching
This mini tutorial will show you how to cut your fabric if you’ve got a patterned fabric. It will help you to make sure the pattern flows across the button stand from left to right with no interruption to the pattern design.
French Seam a Sleeve Head
This is easier than it sounds! If you’d like to create your Frida Shirt with 100% enclosed seams (that’s right, no overlocking) then have a watch of this tutorial. It takes a little bit longer than overlocking a sleeve head but it looks so lovely when it’s finished I think it’s worth the effort.
Sew Buttons… Quickly!
If sewing your buttons on takes you hours this tutorial is for you. This is a quick and easy method to sew on your buttons which is usually the last (and most boring) task of making your garment.