Thursday, March 13, 2014

Simplicity 2339

I finished the shirt.  Iris got out of school early and we had lunch by the beach on the way home from school.

Click to embiggen and see the final button selection.  In the light of morning, I realized that the top two button types have color variations.  I went with the darkest 4 of the second color and am quite pleased with how it looks.

After I pulled it out of the dryer--while still damp--I let it hang dry a bit.  The fabric has a no-iron finish and the batik trim has enough body that it doesn't wrinkle.

I put in back darts but omitted the front ones.
This is Simplicity 2339, but with the center front opening placket from page 74 of David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking book.  I made View A, in size 14A, with a few tweaks like shortening the sleeves and changing the straight hem to a gentle elliptical shape.

I really like patterns that give different pattern pieces for each cup size. This one also comes with 1" seam allowances to adjust the width of the sleeve and torso. The rest of the SAs are 5/8", including at the neckline. I wish it was 3/8" or 1/4" SA there but I can trim that myself next time.

I sewed with a 1" SA down the sleeves and sides, tapering to 5/8" at the hips. In a stretch shirting, that would have been fine. For this non-stretch fabric, I wish I had used 5/8" seams for a bit more mobility.

I eked out this shirt from a 3/4 yard piece left over after making a robe (Butterick 5452). When I purchased this fabric at Fabrix during SF PR Weekend 2013, I thought it was cotton. After making the robe, I thought it might be cotton/poly due to the lack of wrinkling and difficulty getting it to take a press. A subsequent burn test and the itchiness factor suggests that this is pure cotton with a non-iron resin finish.

That resin drives my skin crazy. How do people stand it?  And that resin sure makes the cotton more flammable.  This is one shirt you don't want to wear near bunsen burners.

Anyway, I exercised my shirt-making muscles after a long hiatus. I have a gorgeous piece of cotton shirting from Britex (also purchased in SF at PR Weekend) and some coordinating poplin for trim from The Fabric Store. I'm hoping that the resin will wash out and become tolerable.

The beach photograph shows a peek of Jalie 3243, a very sleek pull-on elastic pants/shorts pattern.  If you lack the time or skill to put in a fly zip, this is a great alternative.


I did some research on non-iron fabric finishes and why they make my skin itch.  The fabric is impregnated with a resin that releases formaldehyde.  For most people, that is not a huge problem.  But, for sensitized people, it can cause itching and contact dermatitis.

I recall becoming sensitized to formaldehyde in high school biology class.  It was so bad, we had to find somewhere else for me to perform my lab work.

Thanks to Little Hunting Creek's suggestion, I searched for ways to remove the resin.  Synthrapol, aka Dyer's detergent, removes fabric coatings.  It doesn't do a complete job, but it helped.


  1. Cute shirt-I like the contrast placket and buttons. What would help the resin to wash out faster? Fabric softener? Vinegar? I'm not sure, as I've never bought treated fabric.
    You should make one in some Cotton-silk, it feels so nice on

    1. It sounds like I need some industrial solvent.

      I became sensitized to formaldehyde in HS biology and college O chem lab. Non-iron resin finishes release formaldehyde and cause my skin to itch.

      No wonder the coated fabric burns so readily! It's impregnated with a flammable chemical.

    2. Also read this:

  2. Now that I know this I will never buy treated fabric; like you I am sensitive to formaldehyde. Synthrapol is handy to have around. I will have to get some

    1. Synthrapol has strong solvents, too. But it takes a strong solvent to remove resin. Dharma sells something less chemically, but they claim is just as effective. I'll buy that after I finish using the synthrapol in my stash.

  3. Anonymous11:25

    Thanks for the tips on how to wash wrinkle-free clothes if you are sensitive to formaldehyde. I became sensitive to latex through years of wearing gloves during high school, college, and my PhD in chemistry - I had to switch to nitrile for the end of my PhD and my postdoc. I know that I am really sensitive to bags and shoes and things like that that off gas. I've given away perfectly good items because I can smell something on them that no one else seems to mind. I wonder if I just don't have any wrinkle-free shirts of my own? I must though, right?...

    1. I heard from an immunologist that people that are sensitized to chemicals (and have some genetic variations)) can have functional groups of solvents poking out of their macrophages.

      In effect, we are allergic to chemicals at several orders of magnitude lower than 'toxic' levels for the general populace.

      My immunologist says that has been seen repeatedly in research.

      We are the canaries in the gold mine.

      It's good for the general population to have people who can tell them to stay way from bad things by sensing something is wrong way before others get sick.

      But, it sucks to be the canary.

      It's even worse when people don't believe the canary.

      My PhD helps convince people I am not loony.


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