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Built By Wendy Shirt, Simplicity 4112


Hey there people! I’ve been sewing boat loads lately – but, alas, not much blogging. Much of it is experiments in historical sewing. Perhaps one of these days when I make a complete outfit it’ll appear on the blog.

I’ve also been traveling! These surprisingly decent cell phone pics were taken in Ohio while visiting family.

The Goal: When not sewing costumes or doing pattern testing I’ve been trying to stash bust. I have to admit I’ve grown a substantial stash over the past year. Oddly, I seem to have about a dozen kinds of solid white fabric for some reason – cotton, linen, rayon, silk, twill, batiste, satin – you name it, but I don’t even remember why or when I bought some of it. Where did it all come from!? Well, I wanted to use some of my (non-white) stash so that’s where this shirt comes in.

The Pattern: An old Built by Wendy pattern from Simplicity, #4112. Remember those? Back in 2007/2008 designer Wendy Mulin released a handful of patterns (and later a few books) and I was immediately drawn to her cool, hip style. Really, these patterns are what inspired me to sew more garments. I didn’t know about indie designers at the time and Wendy’s offerings were much more fun and “me” than the plain boring patterns that the rest of the Big 4 were producing.


I made this pattern once before, almost four years ago and I still wear it often! (Wow, looking at that old post really brings back some memories…) It’s been one of my most worn shirts and it’s held up well but the fabric is getting a little thin in places. I needed a new one – or at least another one. 😉


The Fabric: This is a butterfly print voile from The Cloth Pocket (right down the street from me!). Not sure of the brand. I love the springtime colors and voile is the perfect fabric for hot summers.


The Changes: I made the sleeves slightly narrower. They’re pretty big. Not Colette Taffy big but still very full. One thing I’ve noticed over the years with my old version of this shirt – the need for more buttons. The six or so buttons on the original are just not enough and if I unbutton the top button the shirt opens pretty wide. So, way more buttons on the new shirt1


Oh, and somehow I used the wrong pattern piece to cut out the belt so it’s, um, shorter than it ought to be but that’s fine, it makes a cute little bow.


The Results: Already in heavy rotation (and I love the colors with my gold mini skirt, makes a perfect pair). The flutter sleeves and light fabric make it perfect for hot summers. I can wear it with a belt like this or tucked in (there are no darts and no real shaping to the design, it’s actually pretty boxy) and I love the curved hem. I tried using my new narrow hem foot but I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of it. If you use one of those feet do you have any tips?

So, are there other Wendy lovers out there?

Comments (24) for post “Built By Wendy Shirt, Simplicity 4112”

  • The fabric is by Anna Maria Horner, ‘Sinister Swarm’ voile from the Field Study range. I
    Iove Built by Wendy patterns, I might have to go searching for this shirt pattern

  • My TNT pant pattern is a Built by Wendy pattern (simplicity 3850). I’ve actually cut another pair out recently but pant syles are a bit higher waisted now, so I will have to make some changes.

  • Built by Wendy. Now that’s a place from the past. Is it throwback Thursday?

    Narrow hem feet are tricky because it’s hard to pass the fabric through if there’s a seam. The best solution I’ve come up with is to hem the pattern pieces prior to sewing the side seams (or any seam that intersects). Otherwise, I simply do a 1/4″ double turnback.

    Is this the skirt that you’ll be releasing a pattern for? I’ve actually been thinking about it lately. Maybe even dreaming 🙂

  • Thanks, I’ve had the same issue going over seams. Also trying to start and stop the hem has been giving me problems. I always end up just re-folding my messy hem and sewing a narrow hem over it.

    Yeah, that’s my pattern skirt. Ugh, one of these days I’ll finish with it! lol

  • I think I have that pattern… yep, I do! And I’ve made it a couple times. I should give it another shot because my last pair ended up too big. And yes, it’s very low waisted.

  • Thank you! Should have known it was Horner, she makes great prints. You can find the BbW patterns on Etsy occasionally. They’re surprisingly collectable these days and some of them are pretty expensive.

  • I love the Built by Wendy series of patterns, I own them all and I wish I had the books as well. I make some of them over and over, they are wonderful.

    I might even do another version of this style after seeing your lovely make.

  • Gaaawwwwd I miss those Built By Wendy patterns!! I’m kicking myself for not snatching up every single one of them! Although that would have been some incredible foresight considering they were discontinued before I even started sewing! Ha! But she’s really to blame for bringing sewing for myself to my consciousness – hence I bought both of her books back in my presewing days.
    Anyway! Love this pattern, love the fabric, and love the finished shirt! The whole look has such a cool, casual, almost 70’s feel to it. Maybe it’s those colors.

  • When using a narrow hem foot, I find it helpful to sew a line of stay stitching 1/4″ from the hem, that way I know exactly how far to tuck my fabric edge into that roll. This also might help keep your seam allowances from flopping all over the place. When starting the hem I find it helpful to manually hem just a little bit, a half inch even, this gets the fabric in the mood to roll for you 😉 I think I watched a YouTube video about this by Bernina that was really helpful when I first learned how to use that little gadget, it also helped better explain how to feed the fabric into the foot correctly. But even knowing this stuff I think it just requires a lot of practice to get the hang of it!

  • I noticed the BbW site was recently updated with a new collection but the last collection listed was from 2012. I don’t know what happened to her for a couple years but I’m glad she’s back with new stuff.

  • Thanks! One of these days I’m going to collect the few remaining patterns of hers that I don’t have. There’s a coat pattern that regularly goes for $35 online, crazy!

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