Ogden Camis ( and hacks) for summer

What would summer be without the Ogden cami?
This pattern is one of my most used – and once again it’s come out for a few quick summer makes.

Ogden cami for me

A quick make to take on holiday using up scraps from fabric used to make trousers for my daughter in law. I can never resist the challenge of using those scraps! There really was barely enough fabric left even for an ogden , so it has some piecing together of fabric on the front panel. ( I managed to pattern match to get a pin almost invisible join)

And the border pattern layout has created an interesting look ( which I love)



Two Ogden camis for my daughter in law. Both last minute makes for the beach after she saw mine!

Again both were made with scraps ( no time to acquire fabric 2 days before a holiday). I only have photos of one – the other was made from left over fabric from her Zadie maxi dress. ( see previous blog post)


Ogden Hack

Lastly I wanted a beach dress – something I could wear to walk to and from the beach. I had already created a long straight Ogden from a sarong a few years ago, but decided this time to go for a short dress with a ruffle hem. Not only is this on trend at the moment, but the scraps I had weren’t long enough for a straight dress. This was fashioned by simply elongating the ogden cami and then cutting the ruffle to 1.5 times the length of the lengthened cami’s hem , gathering and attaching it

The hat I’m wearing was also me – made.

The photos were all taken on the beautiful Greek island of Lemnos where my son and daughter got married 2 years ago .

Zadie jumpsuit dress hacks

If you recently took part in The Sewing Weekender you may have seen the session on how to hack the well loved Zadie jumpsuit pattern into a wrap dress. Bizarrely a little while earlier I had decided to do this myself – and decided that for the weekend itself I was going to make another one….

The first hack was the result of a request from my daughter in law for a maxi dress based on the following RTW inspiration

So the search was on – a fabric which had a border print and plenty of drape plus a pattern for a wrap dress.

The fabric I found was from The Textile Brothers. They had a number of suitable options . Nikki chose the one she wanted, and I of course weakened and bought some for myself too…

I spent some time looking though my pattern stash but a lot of the wrap dress patterns were for a knit fabric, or didn’t have the grown on sleeves I wanted. Plus I knew I needed a simple skirt to utilise the border print. I also wanted the pattern to be easy to adjust for sizing. ( Nikki is very petite )

Which is when I thought of the Zadie jumpsuit I had made myself one sometime ago so had an idea how to adjust sizing (the bodice is loose fitting so no complicated armhole adjustments/darts etc) and I could see no reason not to attach a simple set of gathered rectangles to make the border skirt.

I redrafted the bodice to take it down in size slightly, using the indications of where it was sized down for larger sizes as indicators of where to remove volume/ adjust sizing. I also changed the front neckline slightly to make this straighter as I wanted to use the border print along the front bodice wrap as a feature.

I toiled and trialed the fit on Nikki, adjusting the placement of the front bodice pleats to sit correctly.

The skirt was cut as 3 rectangles with the width being 1.5 times the width of the waist piece of the bodice and then simply gathered to fit the waist .And I added in seam pockets.

As you an see the placement of the pattern across the bodice, the hem and the tips of the ties worked well.

Following the success of the hack, I decided to make myself a midi version too during The SewingWeekender. I decided to use some stash fabric for this one – a satiny feel polyester border print purchased in January 2018 from Adam Ross Fabrics ( now Pound Fabrics) for the princely sum of £3 for 3 metres on a sale.

The process was identical, wIth one exception.I made a mistake cutting out the front bodice pieces. My mistake – the pattern piece I had drafted wasn’t quite long enough on the sleeve ( lack of paper ) and in the interim I forgot about the requirement to add a bit on when cutting ( lesson – write the instructions on the pattern piece in future) . To solve this I have added a cuff- which I actually love! It gives the sleeve a bit of weight which helps it fall well.

I haven’t used the border on the bodice this time as experimenting with some draping convinced me that it was just a bit much with this particular pattern.

I got a fair way along with making the dress on the weekend – enough that I could put it on the Sunday . The sun was shining brightly which makes the dress look a lot brighter yellow than it is in real life!

Since then I have finished all the hems etc so here is the final version without the bright sunlight !


Victory Patterns Chloe dress replacement

I originally made the Victory Patterns Chloe dress about 5 years ago

My first version was a navy blue with small white and fuschia flowers cotton sleeveless dress with contrast fuschia neck and armhole binding, pocket flaps and added piping in the front and back vertical seams.

The dress has been worn and worn. It has travelled Europe. It has that wonderful combination of feeling well dressed but not too smart and loose enough ( no waist seam) to be both cool and comfortable ( plenty of room for gelato)

As the fabric has begun to look more and more worn , I decided the only option was to recreate the dress as closely as possible.

Of course it wasn’t possible to buy the same fabric, but after some time searching I found the cotton below which has the same colours and is also floral.

I have tried to copy the arm sync and fit as closely as possible to the original ( I have a purple version of the dress where the armholes aren’t quite as comfortable).

And here is the result


It has been worn once, and I hope will have as much wear as the original

My thoughts are that my piping is neater second time around , but the best armhole sync is still the original oneThe question remains, can I bear to part with my first make. I have already begun muttering that it will be ideal for the garden…..

Jacket and Shorts continued

It’s been a while since I’ve written up my sewing…so this is the start of a catch up. Both quantity of sewing and blogging has been low – I think it’s the Covid effect.

I have finally completed the jacket and shorts started for my son’s fiancé back in February . At the last stage I had just posted off the wearable toile of the shorts and a sheet toile of the jacket. Report back on the sizing was that the jacket was perfect ( well it was a boxy one so I hoped required fitting would be minimal) , and the shorts were wearable, but a little bit big round the waist , and ideally a higher waist band would be preferred. The shorts were tried on over zoom to give an idea of the fit

The green wearable toile was worn almost immediately .

So it was on to the actual make. As the fabric was a loose knit it needed to be stabilised and lined .


The jacket actually went together fairly quickly and easily.




Of course the shorts, with a side zip, took longer. I tried to make them similar to the original cotton sheet toile, but slightly smaller on the waist and higher. In the end I decided to treat the side seams as one piece of fabric rather than an outer and lining – just in case I needed to alter the sizing.


Both items were posted off to Manchester. The initial response was that the jacket fitted , but that the shorts were a bit big ! I don’t think 5 months of running training for a half marathon had helped my attempts to fit at a distance!!!! Whilst the claim was they would be wearable, I decided immediately that alterations sounded necessary if they were to be worn.

Revised fitting was helped by a visit to Manchester – a visit planned for when lockdown restrictions were lifted. Seeing the shorts on made life so much easier – and confirmed my suspicion that they needed altering . I was also asked to put some darts into the back of the jacket to create a more fitted waist, and to add a button to the top to hold the jacket closed.

The alterations were turned around in a day once I got home. The jacket again was the easiest – unpick lining side seam, add fisheye darts and resew lining back together. And chose a button from the button tin.


Fdart


The shorts were not much fun. I was really glad I had just sewn up the side seams , but there was still much unpicking, including taking out the side spoil and setting it back in – and much muttering under the breath before the resizing was completed.

And this is when I realise I forgot to take any pictures of the remade shorts before sending them back to Manchester……. Well to be honest, they didn’t look much different from the original ones- and a photo probably wouldn’t show the size difference anyway!

I haven’t seen a picture of Nat in the outfit yet – but I am told the fit is now good.

Jacket and Shorts Stage 1



My next project is going to be a lengthy one, so I’m doing more than one post as it develops.

It’s also going to be a challenge as the make isn’t for me – it’s for my son’s fiancé who’s is about 250 miles away, which would present fitting problems even without the current U.K. lockdown!
The request was for a spring / summer shorts and jacket suit, with the RTW pictures below supplied for inspiration.

Nat is particularly interested in having a pair of shorts that fit her – she has a lovely hourglass figure which is very unlike my straight rectangular frame. I am used to my issue in RTW / pattern alterations which is if the hips fit, the waist is too small, and of course if the waist fits the hips stick out bizarrely! ( if anyone is interested I find that the Japanese Uniqlo RTW trousers are generally good for this shape!)

For Nat I need to do the exact opposite – reduce the waist size. As I am afraid the whole process may be a disaster, my one requirement is to make sure the cost ( fabric, patterns etc) is minimal so that it’s not a. Expensive mistake if it all ends up in the bin…..

So stage 1 – choosing patterns

Luckily I have a lot of patterns ! After a extensive review I found the following:

Seamwork Iris shorts. These have a nice shaped waistband , fitted hips and the looser leg Nat wants.

For the jacket I found a pattern in one of my Burdastyle magazines ( March 2017)

So 2 patterns with no additional cash outlay.

Stage 2 – fabric hunting

Nat lives within walking distance of an Abakhans and found a piece of fabric there which she likes. At £6 it seemed worth the risk, although it is not boucle ( as the RTW suits) and with the level of stretch plus a very loose weave it will require lining.

Nat also had a small amount of fabric left over from a dress she had made. It’s a pale green medium weight poly of some sort which she also posted down to me as I had said I would try making a wearable toile of the shorts first. So zero cost on that fabric.

Of course, having bought the cream fabric , what pops up on one of the fabric sellers I follow? …… very reasonably priced boucle. With some concern over the stretch in the cream fabric I decided 15. For 3 metres the peach boucle was a good buy.

Stage 3 – toiles and fitting

The first toile – shorts made in cotton sheeting – was completed at the very start of this year, and felt tip lines drawn for alterations


Marked waist adjustment

The changes have been transferred to the wearable toile and made up into pale green shorts.


Fingers are very firmly crossed that these might fit! I have left the hem of the shorts unfinished as I am unsure about length required.

A first sheeting toile has also been made of the jacket. Seam allowances have been added only where seams were required for toile purposes ( ie shoulder seams, armhole seams and side seams) for fitting purposes.



Stage 4

The green shorts and the jacket toile will now be posted to Nat. A zoom call will be set up to assess fit and I think I’m going to have to get my son involved with a felt tip pen to mark up alterations to the jacket! I can then hopefully use the toile to set about cutting out from the intended fabric. The next post will cover how well the items fitted and the next stages.


Birthday dress

Close to my birthday I decided a new dress to wear would be a great idea. I wear dresses a lot in the summer, but have very few winter ones

My thoughts were – long sleeves for warmth, not evening wear and importantly to try to use fabric and a pattern from my stash.
Looking on lone there seem to be some definite trends. Midi length dresses are everywhere. And three styles seem to dominate – wrap, shirt dresses and dresses with a gathered peplum / frill. Sleeves also remain a point of interest.

Pinterest board RTW dresses

I went through my pattern stash first . My gut feel was that a fitted shirt dress would take a little too long to make ( all those button holes) . I had a number of wrap dress patterns, mostly for jersey fabrics. I had a number of sleeve options on various patterns but no dresses with a gathered frill ( although I knew this would not be a difficult hack)

A quick look at the fabric stash and I settled on a medium weight fabric. I have no idea what it is! It is soft , with drape and is woven. I think I bought it in the late 80s, or may have acquired it from my Mum! I liked the autumnal colours and it felt right for my project. This of course knocked out the jersey wrap dress option.

Based on fabric ( woven) and the RTW styles , here is the sketch of the dress I decided to try to create

The design of the dress is based on New Look K6723 pattern – with a number of modifications / hacks. I have kept the princess seam bodice much as the original pattern making fit adjustments. These included grading the waist up a little, reducing the bodice length and adding two darts into the back bodice neckline to reduce gape. I also decided not to line the bodice, so I cut a neck facing to finish the neckline.


The sleeves were modified to increase their width and to add a frill and elasticated cuff.


I used the width of New Look 6524 as a guideline for the sleeve fullness as I had used this sleeve before when hacking a top and had been pleased with the results. No changes were made to the sleeve head ensuring that it still fitted well into the bodice armhole.

The skirt had two modifications. Firstly I added pockets using the pattern pieces from the Moneta pattern. Secondly I added the deep frill to the bottom of the skirt ensuring the skirt would be a midi length. I looked at pictures of dresses and worked out roughly where the top of the skirt frill fell on the models. I then adjusted the length of all skirt pattern pieces to be this plus seam allowance. I measured around the new bottom of the pattern piece and calculated what length the frill piece needed to be to give a circumference of approximately 1.5 times to allow for gathers and the required depth to allow for a seam allowance onto the skirt plus a hem.

And here is the finished dress

I wore it out to a beautiful local hotel for afternoon tea( a birthday present)

Afternoon tea – with scones of course

Papercut Patterns Stacker Jacket

Planning for this project started in 2019 when there was a flurry of great jacket patterns being launched and I decided it would be useful to own a smarter jacket for spring / autumn wear which was still reasonably casual enough to fit in with my wardrobe.

After eyeing up the many lovely options I finally decided on the Papercut Patterns Stacker jacket

As you can see most of the jackets I liked are a similar silhouette but I was drawn to the big pockets,yoke and collar of the Papercut Patterns Stacker Jacket. Plus I wanted a corduroy jacket which the model was helpfully wearing ( I also saw some great versions on line)

I bought the fabric and notions in one go at the Knitting and Stitching show in autumn 2019. It always helps if I have a focused purchase intention when I go to these shows as it helps curtail ( but doesn’t entirely stop!) numerous random purchases to add to the stash.

I already had a fairly clear of the required fabric – a wide whale corduroy in a neurotransmitter colour footprint maximum flexibility. The taupe corduroy I found was perfect. I then bought a mauve lining fabric, perfectly matched mauve buttons ( from the Button Queen) and finally some lightweight thin wadding / batting. I bought this from what I think was probably a patchwork supply stall. My idea was to make the jacket slightly warmer by using this.

After cutting out the jacket and lining , I cut out an additional lining from the wadding and attached it to the lining just inside the seam line so that the wadding and lining could be handled as one layer in the construction process.

You can see the wadding and lining in the photo below ( front of jacket)


One of my biggest fears in construction was that my sewing machine would not cope with the multiple layers. The collar construction required sewing through 3 layers of corduroy,2 interfacing, 1 lining and 1 wadding

Attaching the collar

Thankfully it copes at this point


It was when the jacket was almost finished that I hit my only problem

Towards end of construction modelled by Ariel

I will admit I was concerned about the buttonholes ! So much so that I decided to trial one on scrap fabric – which confirmed that I had a problem. The machine struggled with the thickness, and I think the corduroy ribbing, and would not run smoothly using my automated button hole maker. It just seems to get stuck part way through. So I tried using paper between the lesser foot and the fabric, which seemed to help to create a successful sample button hole.

So on to the garment, and of course the first button hole completely messed up about three quarters of the way through. I have no photos of this – I think I was too distressed to operate the iPhone!

There followed a long agonising and careful unpicking of the stitching ( I didn’t want to ruin the front of my almost finished jacket). I’m sure many of you have been there, done that!!!

Luckily there was no major damage – but I still needed a solution to buttonholes / fastening.

So my solution has been to use giant poppers and then just sew the buttons on for decorative purposes.

If any of you have any suggestions of other routes I could have gone – let me know in the comments. Always useful for next time!


I love this jacket. It’s turned out just as I had pictured it ( well without the buttonholes!) and despite the restrictions of 2020 it’s already had a few outings.

Where did the summer go?


I haven’t written many blog posts this year and realising that I decided to look at when I last posted something  and realised it was June.

So what happened to July and August? I’m calling it the Covid factor – days , weeks and even months seem to merge  into one another. It seems the sudden change of weather and the noticeably more autumnal mornings have signalled that time is passing though. And a realisation that I haven’t written up any of my more recent makes

So this post focuses on the first of a couple of summer makes – shorts. Whilst I normally wear lots of dresses and skirts when it’s warmer, the changes in routine during this summer – less going out, more walking- has changed which clothes I have been wearing. So more shorts.

The first pair I made were the   Angelia shorts from Itch To Stitch, view B

The fabric – a Poly Cotton drill – was bought on line and turned out to be an ideal weight for shorts.

I made a number of adjustments to the pattern.

I cut the waist slightly larger than my measured hip size as I am more of a rectangle than an  hourglass shape.  I also lengthened the shorts as I find the knee length cargo shorts I have bought really useful for walking and general wear when not on a beach or holiday situation. I added a turn up and a second inner leg tab which enables me to lengthen the shorts [ copied from a RTW pair).

Finally I omitted the coin pocket

Most of the instructions are really clear. I took time doing lots of top stitching to get a crisp finished look.

And so to the part that I had the most trouble with – the fly. I have not made many trousers or garments with flies so I tried to follow the instructions carefully. First attempt just didn’t line up and had to be unpicked.

Second attempt better, but not quite correct

I resorted to looking for video tutorial and found link on Itch to Stitch website to a tutorial which did help.

I am still not 100% convinced I have completely nailed the fly, but it looks ok and functions – and there are only so many times I can unpick and redo .

I vowed at the time to use some scrap fabric and try / practise this method again- but of course this hasn’t happened yet!

The finished shorts are great looking – but I will admit are slightly more fitted on the waist than I usually wear mine. As the fabric has no stretch this makes them a little more restricting ( no big scone lunches and not so great for climbing over stiles)


Would I make this pattern again? Yes – it is beautifully detailed and well drafted. I enjoyed doing all the top stitching . But next time I need to master the fly first, and would size the waist up further to give a bit more ease . Then I just might get my perfect pair of walking shorts

Legs looking very short…..

Sewing Weekender Make and Thoughts

FC76DA45-66C1-484C-9479-9C7F8B3F7712I signed up for the on line Sewing Weekender 2020 as soon as it advertised. Although I missed out on getting a ticket last year, I was lucky enough to have attended the weekends in a Cambridge in 2017 and 2018. It was great that Charlotte, Kate and Rachel   Managed to organise an alternative to cheer us all up , and even more amazing that they managed to raise so much money for charity .
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As I didn’t need to travel, had all my sewing room facilities to hand and knew I wouldn’t be heavily distracted by talking to loads of sewists, I did not pre prepare my project as I had in the past. So my first job on Saturday was to prep the pattern and cut out,

I put the You Tube videos up on the TV to listen to and started.
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I had decided to make Kwik Sew 4154. I have been wanting to make a dress with waist ties like these for a while, and this pattern seemed versatile as it can be made in knit or woven fabric.

My chosen fabric was a knit purchased fromThe Fabric Manon Etsy ( I bought a number of pieces of fabric and all were good)
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The pattern specified a back seam zip which I thought may be unnecessary with a knit. So I posted on Instagram to see if anyone else had made the pattern and could confirm this.
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I contuued preparing pattern and started cutting out….and that’s when I got responses on Instagram. As well as general agreement with not needing a zip, I got a response from the always helpful ( and extremely knowledgable) Susan Young. She had made this pattern and was kind enough to share her experience ( and picture to demonstrate. The back of the dress did not fall in a flattering way, but created a humped bunch. She had tried to rectify this by moving the zip to the side, but this had not worked. However she said the skirt was lovely.

And that was when I fell lucky- I had started cutting out, but had only actually cut the skirt!

So rethink…..

I was wearing one of my Moneta dresses ( I have made 3). By the 3rd I had achieved a good fit knit bodice- so I decided to adapt the Moneta bodice to reflect the features I wanted from the Kwik Sew pattern.

I copied the Moneta bodice pattern onto newspaper ( I didn’t have any drafting paper). I then changed the back bodice neckline to create the higher neck line.

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Next I copied the Kwik Sew front neckline to the front bodice piece.

And then widened the waistline of the front bodice ( copying the Kwik Sew pattern) to allow for gathers.

Finally I drafted the back and front neck line facings As used in he Kwik Sew pattern.

I used the Moneta sleeve pattern and also decided to add pockets – because we all love pockets- to the skirt ( again I used the Moneta pockets)

This all took up a considerable amount of time – the whole morning – but it went by very quickly listening to the Videos .
As I went out walking in the afternoon I missed the end of day Zoom

Day 2

…and I actually got some sewing done.
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The  most challenging bit here was how to construct the waistline. I wanted to stabilise it at the back, but the Moneta method of using elastic to gather the skirt ( and thus stabilise to some extent) was not required for a circle skirt.
In the end I created a channel in the back of the bodice and sewed in 1cm wide elastic

Construction  was also different from the Moneta, which joins a completed skirt to a completed bodice. Due to the need to insert the ties into the sides of the dress overlapping the bodice and skirt, the front top and skirt and the back top and skirt had to be joined first before sewing the side seams.

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Once I had sorted all this out in my mind, the dress came together Reasonably quickly.

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Dress in progress

Again I was entertained during the morning by listening to the videos. This time I listened in to the Zoom session, but did not have anywhere enough of a finished garment to share.

The dress – and the videos- were completed in odd moments over the week after the Sewing Weekender . I am very pleased with the results, and very grateful to Susan for her advice.

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and YES the skirt is lovely.
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So finally, what did I think of my Sewing Weekender digital experience?

Well  of course it was very different from a weekend away. There were elements that were “easier” – having all my things to hand, no 2 hour car drive are the major pluses, anyone and everyone could attendBut I did miss the social element. I love chatting to people about what they are wearing, admiring the fabric, guessing the pattern etc etc. The videos were really great in creating an atmosphere / chatty background to help get some way towards this – so well done to everyone who contributed to those. And we did still all get a Goodie Bag ( which I hope will help any shops who have been struggling)

Personally  I would love to see any future digital format include opportunities for small scale meetings ( Zoom rooms) which could be used to meet new people / chat during the day for those of us who don’t have an established network of sewing pals. Maybe themed? Eg  at specific times  #Sewover50 chat room, a room for anyone making jeans / TAB / whatever the latest popular indie pattern is. what do others think?

So, very well done to all for organising this digital get together. You really did a great job of re defining the Sewing Weekender to make the best of current constraints. I hope in the future we will see BOTH experiences again- a summer weekend away maybe and a winter digital weekend? The best of both worlds – a chance to physically meet and immerse if you can but also if you can’t travel or get a ticket the opportunity to be included ( with the addition of winter weather so I don’t mind staying indoors all weekend)

 

 

 

Making Shirts

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I have just finished making my second man’s shirt  – I just never got round to posting the first, so time to rectify , and cover both shirts in one post.
Originally  this was one of those “ challenge myself” projects . A shirt just seemed a really difficult thing to get right but I had seen some beautiful one in blogs ( can’t believe the stunning ones made by malepatternboldness ) and wanted to give it a try.
In order to give me some scope for creativity I decided to make one for my son, not my husband! I felt the former might be a little more adventurous in what he would wear.

I looked at loads of patterns, and came close to buying a few ( still think maybe MimiGStyle  have been a good pick). In the end I bought  Simplicity 1544 because I felt it was traditional enough, but would walk me through some of the little touches of contrast fabric( view A)

My son lives over 300 miles away, and I wanted to make the shirt as a Christmas present so I resorted to using an old Shirt for a size guide. Key thing he said was to make the body fitted / not too loose.

For the first shirt I sourced fabric from the internet – ( Doughtys) a fairly traditional shirting cotton.

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but I paired it with something more flamboyant – an off cut picked up at a swap  , a lovely quality cotton lawn ( I think) with flamingos on it

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Pocket construction

I also took time to read up on and source some interfacing for the collar in order to get a really good crisp collar, I ended up buying this from William Gee on line

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Construction of yoke. Back tab was removed as my son did not like it

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I was pleased with the final result. It’s not perfect . In particular the collar does not sit correctly when buttoned right to the top – but as my son doesn’t wear a tie, this isn’t an issue.

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Son was impressed.
His only comment was that the sleeves were a bit wider than he would ideally like.

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Well the proof of liking was when he handed me some fabric late last year. He and his girlfriend had bought it thinking she might try making him a shirt, but with starting work this never happened .

This is a very different fabric. An interesting colour choice ( not one I would have guessed at for him) and quite heavy. More like a linen than a cotton.( you can see the texture in the photo collage below)

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The  lockdown finally got me started on making the shirt. That and a few subtle hints like “ where is my shirt you said you would make?”

So it was very much a repeat process. I adjusted the width of the shirt body as before using the old shirt as a guide. I reduced the width of the sleeves following comments from the first shirt.

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Same interfacing used in collar .I used standard heavyweight interfacing in other areas.

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Found scrap fabric to use for contrast, but used in slightly fewer places

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All seams are flat felled finish ( as was the first shirt

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The  sleeve placket  – I forgot to take photos of this for the first shirt

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And due to lockdown a rummage through my button box to find buttons – settled on a dark grey which I think works well.

 

I took extra care with the collar to ensure it buttoned this time

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It was definitely easier making this a second time, even though there was quite a gap between makes.

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The finished shirt

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I have waited to publish this as the shirt was sent to him for his birthday last weekend. So the update is that he wants white buttons – but his girlfriend will go to Abakhans to get some and do the replacement.

I’m still tempted to try a different pattern for a future make. Anyone got any recommendations? It needs to be slim fitted on the body and ideally with a narrow sleeve, suitable for slim late 20s man.