Sew Must Go On: Forgiving Floral Shirt

Soon after the birth of the munchkins I realised that I needed many more button down shirts for quick nursing access.  Also all those cute little nursing for discreet breastfeeding weren’t really going to work with the twin feeding that was taking up most of my time.  As much as I like my pattern for the Lesley blouse, I figured, I needed something that was a bit more forgiving and hid some of the mamma ‘magic’ that was still sitting around my waist. And so the Forgiving Floral Shirt was born.

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The pattern is an adaptation of my Lesley Blouse: I left out the waist darts, made the sleeves less fitted and the cuffs not as wide (more normal!). Everything else is pretty much the same but I used quite a light interfacing for the collar and the lightweight fun floral makes a whole shirt much more casual.

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Needless to say, it took quite a while to come together and even longer to photograph and upload here but I think it came out pretty well and I enjoy wearing it.  The photos above makes it looks like the bottom doesn’t line up properly but I think that’s a function of not properly ironing the shirt (who has time to IRON??!!) rather than a terrible sewing faux pas – although it’s highly likely it doesn’t line up 100%. The other thing I don’t really like about the finished product is the button holes: I tried to forego interfacing on the button stand and instead fold over the front piece fabric to create some stiffness. But I think the fabric is too light for that and my button holes don’t look amazing. They work but they look a bit home-made…if you know what I mean?

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The fabric was a piece given to me that initially I thought was Liberty of London but I think it’s just pretending to be such high class!

Fun shirt…that I hope to wear more this winter.

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Pattern: My own Lesley Blouse pattern with a few key alterations

Fabric: Lightweight Floral cotton from the fairy godmother stash. Thought it was Liberty but actually think it’s just wanna be Liberty

Alterations: No waist darts, re-drew the cuffs to be narrower, less fitted; Double checked the shirt was long enough and the shaping at the bottom provided enough slit on the side.

Do it again: Perhaps…but watch out for the non-interfaced button stands if using lightweight fabric.

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The Lesley Blouse

This fitted blouse was a long time in the making (and even longer time in the blogging!) and is named after my sewing buddy Lesley.

Lesley blouse_frontThe pattern is a self drafted pattern based on my fitted bodice block from my very first pattern making class at Studio Faro. But it took me a while to get my head around collars and cuffs and all the bits and pieces that go into making a button down shirt.  This is where Lesley came into her own, sending me online tutorials for various parts of the shirt and tricks of the trade.  We had a pattern making session together where we went through some of the more tricky bits.  I don’t think I would’ve endeavoured to the end without the encouragment from a fellow sewist.

Lesley blouse_backI made this first version out of an Italian cotton with a little stretch from Remnant Warehouse and a contrast quilting cotton under the collar, the inner collar stand and in the cuffs.  I went with a fairly standard collar, a simple button stand (just folded over section of the two front pieces rather than a separate button stand) and kept all of the waist darts as per the pattern block – that’s 4 in the front and 4 in the back!

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I decided on long cuffs for a more retro look but somehow miscalculated the cuff width and ended up with VERY tight cuffs.  Luckily I can still do up the buttons but I can’t slip my hands through without undoing the buttons.  Oops! I was considering doing sleeve plackets (Lesley had a good block for that too) but decided that I needed to keep it simple for version 1 otherwise it would never get made.  Next time I’ll have to tackle the placket.

Lesley blouse_untuckedI made the shirt extra long to accommodate my long body and so that it doesn’t get untucked when I raise my arms.  I like that alteration although I may need to make it wider at the bottom to get over my hips.

All in all, not a bad little attempt at my first blouse pattern.  I’d love to make it in a fun Liberty fabric or something.  But I’ll have to stay skinny to fit into it with all those unforgiving waist darts!

Pattern: My own Lesley Blouse pattern

Fabric: Italian cotton from Remnant Warehouse and quilting cotton for the contrasts

Alterations: Specific design decisions this time was the long cuff and extra length.  Next time I’ll stick with the extra length (wider over the hips), have short and WIDER cuffs and I might have a go at the sleeve placket.

Do it again: Yup… but maybe not for summer

Kimono Style dressing gown

I found this cotton at Ikea and with it’s Japanese style print and dual tone colour scheme it was just crying out to be a Kimono Style dressing gown.  So that’s what I did.

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For the pattern I took guidance from Erin’s knit robe for bridal shower presents.  I also looked at To Be Continued and another one that I can’t find now! In the end the pattern was a combination of multiple patterns plus looking at my own winter dressing gown.

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The whole thing came together pretty quickly (yay for overlocker on most of the seams!) and I like how the contrast fabric works with the colar band.  The sleeves are pretty wide but it sort of goes with the Kimono-esque design.

IMG_6441I also added slits up the side for ease of walking. I’m hoping to get lots of wear out of it this summer.

I am pretty happy with how it came out.  The one thing that is a little disappointing is that the fabric is quite stiff and I was hoping for a softer cotton feel.  Hopefully after a few washes it will be better.

Any thoughts on how to make cotton more supple and soft?

Pattern: A combination of a bunch of online tutorials

Fabric: Fish and Fan printed cotton from Ikea

Alterations: First version of my own patter

Do it again: Maybe…but I’m not sure how many gowns a girl can have!  Next time definitely pick a really soft fabric

Fairy Godmother Fabric Stash Raid

In August last year, my husband and I got to visit San Francisco and Sonoma Valley for a friend’s wedding, meeting up with some great people and a bit of R ‘n R after a rough July. While in SF, we stayed with my wonderfully energetic godmother and her family. We talked big plans, great designs and of course sewing!

My ‘fairy godmother’ is in the process of downsizing her fabric stash so, of course, I had to raid it and take advantage of the beautiful, silky fabrics that she has stored up over the years.  Oh the colours! And the textures… A bit of Liberty cotton, some cheapo colourful satins and some gorgeous high-end fabrics that I would never consider buying.

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So I ended up leaving San Fransciso with a bag that was distinctly bulging with yet-to-be-made clothes!

I love this one:

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And of course this one (which you would’ve seen as a final product):

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You would think that a girl would have had her fill with all these gorgeous bits, but my fabric appetite seemed insatiable.  So we also hit the beautiful little fabric store, Satin Moon, and its neighbour store on Clement St to add these fun ones the collection.

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