May the 4th be with you

It’s just a star wars thing we share.

Mr V got his wife-made shirt a few years ago using a vintage Vogue pattern. He loves his BBQ shirt and only wears it on special occasions, like today.

Yes he looks uncomfortable because I asked him to cross his arms. Some women are so pushy!

Two days ago I realised today is a Friday and I really wanted to wear my own Stormtrooper shirt.

So I grabbed McCalls 5433 and made my own Stormtrooper shirt to wear ‘business casual’.

Oh dear. That’s just us.
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Liberty love

This Strawberry thief print was a remnant from my previous White Tree Fabrics dress. It’s too lovely to let languish in the fabric stash so it’s now a shirt (McCalls 5433).

Work look

The original plan was to make a short-sleeved shirt, but there was enough for a basic long-sleeved shirt. I can always roll up the sleeves when I wear this shirt to work.


I had a couple of hours one morning with no power at home, so in desperation to do something, I cut out two shirts. I don’t like wasting time but I wasn’t going to do the housework as a substitute to sewing.



When I work with prints, there’s always the issue of print placement and do I add piping or not. Thankfully this pattern has a folded button band at the front so I can play with print placement and button placement.


Heading out to drinks look

This year one of our local retailers sold Liberty print shirts and when I saw the retail price I decided to make my own shirt from the remnant fabric.


The fun part of using such a dominant print like this was to line up the birds across the shirt body and sleeves. Originally I thought I might only have fabric left for cap sleeves but there was enough for long sleeves using a mock cuff.

I love the darkness of this colourway of this print and I wear plenty of blue to work and on weekends so it made sense to apply blue piping on the collar and button band and use blue buttons between the bird print.


I know we’re in the middle of a blisteringly hot Australian Summer but the cotton in this fabric breathes well and is a lovely weight for this shirt. With the prospect of wearing this shirt a lot, I applied French seams and folded over the armhole seams so this shirt will survive many, many washes because it’s going to be worn a lot.

Piping and machine feet:
I started with store bought piping so I used the cording foot on my machine to prep the piping.
Then I used the zipper foot to sew the piping on the collar and front seam.
When I sewed up the collar, I used the piping stitching to guide my sewing. Yes, there were some instances where I had to resew part of these seams just to get the piping to sit neatly.
back view

Work or weekend?

Clothes for work and weekends sit separately in my closet. I do this to keep these too aspects of my life separate. But this shirt might just throw me off kilter.

Best news of is I now have my very own Liberty shirt!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Shirt or blouse?

When is a blouse not a shirt? Uhm. I’m not too sure but I can say this shirt/blouse got me through PR’s Sewing Bee for Round 1.
Can you see the stress on my face? I avoid contests where possible.

This fabric from White Tree Fabrics UK, was originally earmarked for a wrap blouse, until Round 1 was announced. So I put the brakes on that project and grabbed McCalls 5433 and decided on making View A with all the sleeve bells and whistles of Views B/D.

I was really, really lucky MyHung Parramatta had matching buttons.
What was my challenge?
  •   Picking the style for this fabric
  •   Using the fabric to highlight its print
  •   Not this shirt look like a PJ shirt
  •   Making it fit me again
  •   Picking the seam finishes because this shirt is going to be inspected inside and out!

I’ve been working with Liberty prints lately so I cut out each body pieces separately and tried to match the print lines. They run diagonally.

Top Left clockwise: buttons on cuff; collar on shirt; two part collar; cutting front bodice

However there’s a button tab so I decided to cut this piece a wee bit longer to accommodate matching or not matching the print. My plan was to place the shirt buttons on the flowers of the print.


So technically, this is a shirt.  But I still can’t tell you when a blouse is not a shirt.
An inside view
The inside of the back.

The seams are French seams. I machine felled the sleeve seam allowances to the shirt.

The collar, collar band, button tabs, cuffs and sleeve band are interfaced.
This progress shot showed me I was on the right pattern placement track.

Fit adjustments

Roll shoulder on the shoulder seams and sleeve curve. I left the sleeve length long so I can roll it up to bracelet length when I need to.
This already had a centre back seam to accommodate my sway back.


To make sure I could size this up at the hips, I cut a 12 at the hips.

A back view shot for fit.

Long story short, once I finished this shirt and took the photos I wore the shirt the next day at work. Well I felt it was too loose at the front, I before work I sewed the front dart in by 1cm and it fit a whole lot better but there were no ripples.

So I tried to smile but ‘sheesh’, this is stressful.

The ladies at work love my shirt. The roll up sleeves were just what I needed to work at my desk and I did not dirty my sleeves. I hate cleaning cuffs on business shirts and I don’t intend on ruining this shirt simply because I love wearing it.

Sue and Yoshimi got through to Round 2 with over 40 others who burnt the candle at both ends to get through. There were 116 of us who were judged in Round 1.

Tech notes: Equestrian tail coat blouse

Here’s the Equestrian tail coat blouse that I wanted to create for my February Minerva make.

I decided to use a basic McCalls blouse pattern as the basis instead of finding the exact pattern.
So the test version above confirmed the fit and then I did a rough redraft of the neckline based on my line drawing.
Line drawings are not my forte but they help plan projects

I’ve folded the neckline to a v, then drafted new facings

There are no sleeves on the equestrian blouse, so bias made from the same polycotton fabric was used to finish the armholes.

These are the strips for the ruffle and pin tuck trims. The trim width was a ‘guestimate’.

Then I had to create the ruffle and pin tuck trim. 

The trim edging was roll-hemmed.

The trims took 3 hours to make. There was a lot of thinking and testing time involved.
The final hurdle was figuring out how/when to add these trims to the actual shirt. 

I’ve laid the trim over the test shirt above to get an idea of trim length required.


It’s all part of the fun:)

Above is the work in progress blouse. 

The toughest part wasn’t pinning the hem up for the hip detailing. The hardest decision was how to sew on the ruffle and pin tuck trim.


You’ll see the finished pieces later this week. 

Apologies to my dear IG peeps. You’ve already seen this blouse in the making. #Thursday!

Spring shirt – McCalls 5433

This blouse is sitting on top of its sister shirt dress.
Most of my tops are knits and now I’ve gone back to making blouses using wovens and adding sewing techniques I’ve learnt y’all in the online sewing community and Peggy Sagers webcasts. She’s been doing free sewing webcast since December 2010 and I sew my collars using her method.
I still wear my green skinny jeans a lot.

This blouse has cap sleeves from Butterick 5328 but they were widened to sit out from my shoulders.


Butterick 5328 cap sleeve version

The cap sleeves on this blouse was tight fitting but not anymore. I’ve used french seam finishes and bias binding on the sleeve seams.

‘How do you do’ pose.

Did I tell you this fabric has a 2-way print? There was a two-way arrow sticker on the fabric and I couldn’t tell which was the right way on this print no matter which way I looked the fabric.

The nice thing about this pattern is that it has the dress extension on the main pattern pieces so you don’t have to cut out two bodices for the dress and the shirt versions. Thanks for asking the question Rebecca. I’m flattered when I see others pick up ideas that I’ve used. I pick up ideas from sewing bloggers all the time.

Resisting fairy floss at the Easter Show.

You should see all the great fitted blouse entries on Pattern Review! This is the final week of the contest that I’m managing. The contest closes on 31 March.

This view convinced me that I need to shorten the blouse and I have. See below. I took it up by 3cm.


I’ve now entered this blouse into Faye’s 2013 essential top sew along.

The story about these Purple Pins is to come…

Spring shirtdress – McCalls 5433

This print fabric has strong colours and reminded me of the orchids in Singapore. I bought the fabric locally and it was the first shirt dress I made this month, before the vintage military dress.

Shirtdress:
This blue work version made earlier is worn to work (a lot) so I had to make it again. The original plan was to simply make just the shirt.

Well, I ended up making this floral dress instead. What can I say. My planning skills are fluid.

This little floral number was lined with stash fabric and because the lining peeks through at the collar, I added a super quick facing from leftover floral fabric.


 














The close up shot below shows a hint of flowers on the inside at the neckline. The last minute facing worked. Every seam is either french seamed or self-made bias bound. And I added the purple bias for colour and a vertical line. We petites know why.
Notice the cap sleeves. This sleeve pattern was traced from Butterick 5328. When I originally used this cap sleeve, it was tight so I widened it by 2.5cm for more movement.
Here’s a ‘lean against the wall’ shot. The cap sleeve does peek over my shoulders – just as I wanted. It’s really cool to wear on hot days.

And the ‘yes it covers my caboose’ shot – not flattering. Back to the gym I go.

 
There is a shirt version in this fabric but I’m working on the deep purple skinny jeans to go with it. That might sound like tos much colour but you can let me know when I show you the final ensemble.

Fitted blouse contest on PR

PR is running a fitted blouse contest that I’m managing from 1 – 31 March.

Contest Theme: Cut, sew, model and review a fitted blouse to showcase fitting skills.”

Pattern magic collar on Butterick 5538

So while there are some key elements your blouse needs to meet to qualify for this contest, if you already have a fitted blouse pattern in your stash that needs tweaking, consider making it in March.

Here’s a link to the fitting workshop I attended last year to get this blouse fitted right.

Pattern magic collar on Butterick 5538

As this contest runs from March 1 – 31, there’s more time to sew up your blouse than you would have had in February.

McCalls 5433 after tweaking it for size

There are 5 weekends in March to get your fitted blouse made.

Butterick 5328

These are a few of my fitted blouses that I prepared earlier. Does that sound cheesy enough?



Butterick 4985



Butterick 4985
Butterick 5328
One of the contest criteria is to provide a photo with you wearing the blouse to showcase your fitting skills, so my pictures showing the blouse on a dressmakers dummy would not qualify. As a manager I don’t qualify either but I do enjoy helping others sewers share their knowledge and extend their skills.

Convinced yet to sew a fitted blouse?