Genra shirt by Daughter Judy

I need another button up shirt pattern about as much as I need more fabric in my stash (reader, I have plenty of both), but I could not resist the latest pattern from Daughter Judy, the Genra shirt and dress. The design is what drew me in: it’s the neckline and collar paired with the oversized silhouette that was so irresistible. The result is modern, season-less garment that feels much more elegant than any other button up I’ve made to date.

Design and Fit

Genra is designed to be an oversized button up shirt with a deep V-neck and a notched collar. It has a deep shirttail hem in both the shirt and dress versions for a dramatic silhouette. The design is meant to be an everyday piece that can anchor a wardrobe anytime of the year.

Genra has 10-12 inches of ease at the chest in every size. Accordingly, Genra also features a dropped shoulder, which is typical of oversized designs and gives Genra its everyday, casual style.

The notched collar deserves a special mention, because it is by far my favorite notched collar that I’ve encountered on a home sewing pattern. There are many popular notched collar patterns out there, but the Genra stands out for me.

Above, I’m comparing Genra to the Gilbert and the newly released Donny top. There are surprising number of differences: The lower part of the collar on Gilbert and Donny is larger and wider, while Genra is smaller and thinner. Gilbert and Donny also have a slightly wider neckline, sitting away from the neck whereas the Genra sits right up against the neck. Obviously, Gilbert and Donny are short sleeved tops, and when combined with the larger proportions of the collar, these features make both patterns lean more toward the “camp” style.

Genra wouldn’t work as well with the collar from Gilbert or Donny. The larger, campier collar combined with the volume in the body and sleeve would look too oversized and unbalanced. So we get a slimmer, more elegant notched collar to balance the fullness everywhere else. The deep, plunging V neckline is also a nice detail that contrasts the volume with a little slice of skin. This is the kind of attention to design and proportion that I love to see in a pattern.

Genra has no bust darts, so if you have a larger chest, you may want to add them to prevent the Genra from kicking out in the front. I’m between a C and a D cup in home sewing patterns, and I didn’t find that I needed a dart, although the shirt does pitch forward ever so slightly on. me. This may be because of my bust, or it may be because the rear shirttail is adding a little bit of extra weight to the back of the shirt. It doesn’t bother me, so I didn’t change it.

Finally, Genra has a bound button placket for the sleeve cuff, which is very deep, almost 6 inches long. It’s almost twice the length of the bound placket on the Archer shirt, which is 3 inches long:

The depth of this opening likely has to do with the amount of volume in the shirt sleeve; Genra has more than Archer. I love to fold up my shirt sleeve cuffs when I’m wearing an oversized shirt like this, and Genra’s placket opens up so wide that it doesn’t hold the folded sleeve very well. I may add another button in the middle of the placket to cinch down that opening a little .


The instructions for the Genra are clear and easy to follow, but they are not exhaustive like some beginner-level patterns. Since it is an intermediate pattern, there are a few places where the Genra instructions assume some previous knowledge of shirt construction. For example, adding a bust dart or using the burrito method to attach the yoke. There are also details in the illustrations that may not be explicitly called out in the text, like aligning the collar notches with shoulder seams.

I’ve you’ve never assembled a notched shirt collar with a facing before, it’s a bit like constructing a set-in sleeve. At several points, you must match up two curved pieces that don’t immediately look like they fit together neatly. Some of the steps are a bit awkward, so I took a few process photos in case they are helpful:

1. Attaching the collar to the shirt.
2. Collar fully pinned and ready to baste.
3. Shirt + collar
4. Matching the back yoke and front facing (on top) to shirt + collar (underneath)
5. Lifting the back yoke (top layer in previous photo) to reveal the sandwiched collar in between both yokes
6. Finished collar

The only place where I deviated from the Genra instructions was along the side seams. Genra instructs you to finish the side seam edges separately, sew them together, and then press open. Instead, I pressed the SA open and then folded the edges under and edge stitched from the shirt cuff, down along the sleeve and side seam, and finally connecting with the turned hem. I reinforced the area where the side seam meets the hem with some decorative hand stitching to prevent tearing.

My chosen method is more challenging to sew than what the instructions suggest, but I didn’t want flappy 5/8-inch seam allowances inside my shirt, and I’m not planning on ironing this shirt regularly. I’m very pleased with the neat and tidy results.

Final thoughts

You might think that the proportions of a notched collar or the ratio of neckline depth to garment ease is a fairly minor consideration when buying a shirt pattern, especially if you already have a dozen similar patterns in your collection. But these are the kinds of things I look for now when I’m choosing patterns, and they make all the difference (to me) between a boring garment and a beautiful one.

I’m looking forward to sewing a few more Genras. This first version used a lightweight linen, but I think the pattern might take on a slightly different character in silk or cotton, so I would like to try both. Similarly, the dress view is tempting as a transitional piece for spring or fall, and even though I don’t wear dresses often, I keep thinking about this one. I suppose that’s just one more hallmark of a great design.

4 thoughts on “Genra shirt by Daughter Judy”

  1. I do love the collar on this shirt. It sits against the neck as it should. I think the other two patterns are just bad drafting..from a pattern makers perspective (me). Maria

    Sent from my iPad



  2. You’ve written a thoughtful analysis: no surprise !! I agree with all your points, and particularly enjoy the narrowness of the V created by the collar that gives the shirt beautiful structure. I’ve used two slightly heavier fabrics and also struggled with a good finish for this side seams, since I don’t like a serger seam when I roll my sleeves My next Genra will be lightweight and I think I’ll French seam and use the YouTube tutorial I found for French seams with a split hem.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: