Well, the weather finally seems to be getting gradually cooler here in London. Most people are wearing jackets and coats on the morning commute, and I’ve even spied a couple of people wearing hats and gloves. Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I’m not ashamed to say that I spend the whole summer just wishing it away. I mean, it’s hot, stuffy, sticky and sweaty. The Northern Line (and indeed all trains and public transport in general) becomes an oven, and you’re tired all the time because you can’t sleep. Because it’s TOO DAMN HOT. I know the majority of the world LIVES for summer, but I ain’t ever been one to follow the crowd ?
I live for the autumn. Possibly – in some way, I dunno – because I’m an autumn child, born in October. Is that a thing? The husband was born in November and he loves summer, so maybe it’s not a thing ??A bright blue sky just doesn’t have the same effect on me as a golden light on a beautiful fiery-orange tree. It’s funny how that translates into my sewing as well, making me gravitate towards earthy autumnal tones ??
I’m definitely one for coziness, and would much prefer a blanket and a cup of tea over sitting in the sun wiping the sweat out of my eyes and swatting the wasps away ??♀️?
ANYWAY. I digress. I know a lot of you are mourning the passing of summer and dreading the winter. (The husbeast is firmly in that category). To ease the transition, and partly because our previous alarm clock was 20 years and broken, we bought one of those alarm clocks that wake you up gradually with light and ‘natural sounds’. This week has been the first trial – and it actually seems to be OK. Sometimes I’m fooled into genuinely thinking it’s light when I wake up – but it’s not, it’s the clock beaming it’s rays of spectrum-specific happiness. Either way, it’s definitely nicer to wake up to plinky-plonky chimes and bird song rather than a harsh alarm sounding impending doom. I do feel much more tired though this week – which has left me wondering just how much adrenaline was pumping through my systems all the time from being woken up by a siren each morning ?
Ok so I digressed again ? ON TO THE SEWING NOW I PROMISE.
The summer projects are dwindling off now, and autumn sewing is underway (YAS ??), but I managed to sneak this shirt in before it got too chilly. Although the Vogue V8759 is my BFF in short sleeve shirt patterns, I wanted to mix it up a bit. It’s good to keep your options open, right? Try new things?
The husband has a couple of open-collared (flat collared? I dunno what you call them??♀️) shirts in his wardrobe so I thought I’d have a bash at making him one. The inspiration for the shirt was a navy and dark purple floral number by Dries Van Noten which was scored in the Selfridges sale a couple of years ago at a ridiculously marked down price. The shirt below isn’t the exact one, but it’s the same style and print – so if you can imagine it without the embroidery, and in navy and purple rather than navy and brown, you’re there ??
The pattern I chose was New Look 6197, and some Liberty lawn from Minerva Crafts, because you can’t go wrong with Liberty for a shirt in my eyes (yes – total fan girl. Not ashamed.) The fact that the flowers on the fabric are pink and purple, and therefore matchy-matchy with my hair, may or may not have influenced my purchasing decision ? ?
I’ve only sewn a couple of New Look patterns before – perhaps actually just one – because something about them puts me off using them. I’m not sure what it is. The style of their packaging? The unfashionable fabrics they use? I dunno. But they don’t really… appeal to me. They don’t inspire me. But they had the style of shirt I was after, and the pattern was a reasonable price, so I decided to give ’em a shot.
What annoyed me about the pattern (and I bought it despite this) is that the men’s shirt is sized as XS/S/M/L rather than chest size. And each size covers two sizes of chest (30-32 for the XS, 34-36 for the S and so on – you get it), so you know you’re never gonna get a good fit unless you’re lucky. The husband measures a 34, so he’s at the lower end of the size S – I did debate making the XS but was worried it would be TOO small and he wouldn’t be able to wear it ?
Now I’ve made a bucket loads of shirts over the last couple of years, so I’m pretty confident with plackets, collars and collar stands. But with this one, I couldn’t fathom the instructions for the collar or picture how everything was going together. I had to unpick the collar after realising I’d done it wrong, and even when I’d got it on right, the inside of the facing didn’t meet the edge of the collar exactly as it was meant to. So there’s a bit of a gap, and a couple of raw edges showing where they shouldn’t be, and a few seams which should be matchy-matchy that aren’t.
All that lot left me a bit meh over the whole thing, and didn’t do anything to convince me that New Look patterns were actually any good and I needed them in my life.
The other thing (aside from the sizing which I’ll come back to in a minute) that I didn’t like was that you were instructed to understitch the facing – which I realised (too late, well after I’d done it) shows on the outside of the shirt once you turn the collar out. I defo do NOT like this ?
So back to the fit… you know that nothing that’s sized S/M/L is gonna turn out amazing. No account is taken of body proportions – everything just gets wider and longer as you move up through the sizes. I don’t know whether it’s the white fabric (does white have the opposite effect of ‘slimming’ black – making you look larger?), but I’m not sure this shirt is flattering. I’d say the husband doesn’t wear white that often and maybe I’m not used to it, but he has some white t-shirts so I don’t think that’s the case. I’m pretty sure it’s the fit. It’s just so… oversized. I feel like it just needs to be slimmed down a bit… especially those sleeves. They’re just a bit sticky-outy for my liking.
I did at least finish the insides nicely with some bias tape, which made me happy even if I wasn’t thrilled with the shirt overall ?
I realise that it’s meant to be a summer, loose-fitting shirt, and therefore maybe it’s MEANT to fit like that… but perhaps I should have used a drapy-er rayon rather than a cotton lawn. Either way I’m pretty sure that not all of that excess-ness is down to the fabric, I’m confident that some culling of a few centimetres here and there would improve things.
Oh, and just for lolz, I tried that thread-collar-turning trick AGAIN – and failed AGAIN ? Basically you sew a loop of thread through the corner of your collar seam, and then pull it from the right side, creating a corner point that is, well – on point. But the two times I’ve tried it, that thread just slides right on out ?? I’ve just found a tutorial on the Closet Case website which gives different instructions from the (very confusing) ones I tried to follow, so I might give their method a try next time. If *that* doesn’t work I’m giving up.
I’m not writing off the pattern as such – I’m willing to give it another go (next summer now, though) and see if I can improve the fit as I think it would actually be a nice shirt if it could be made into a slim-fit.
This was a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post, and has actually been chosen to feature in next month’s issue of Love Sewing magazine so even if the shirt ain’t that great, at least there’s some eye candy to make up for it ??
You can head over to the Minerva crafts blog here to check out the full post and get your hands on the pattern and materials used – in the meantime I’ll be sitting here *not* having my usual Sunday-Runday (yep, still injured – but healing slowly ??) but instead continuing to speed-sew ALL THE THINGS for my NYC trip in Oct ✂️✂️ I’m currently researching all the best fabric shops to go to (Mood, obvs) but if you know of any haberdasheries, hidden gems or knitting shops in Manhattan that I mustn’t miss, lemme know!
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… I’m revealing some of the fabrics that I’ve bought over the last few months, and my plans for them ✂️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!??