Every Rose Has Its Thorn

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 ??

Victory Patterns Madeline Skirt and V1462 Liberty Vogue DKNY Shirt

Red Leopard wool Republique Du Chiffon Charlotte Skirt

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!??


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  1. September 2, 2018 / 7:31 am

    I am with you about the autumn, had enough of the summer!. Winter clothes have more style

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 7:47 am

      YES! I love a good coat… and really enjoy making them. I just wish I had more time for knitting, I would make ALL THE SWEATERS ???

  2. Cindy
    September 2, 2018 / 8:22 am

    I’m just astonished again on your quality of finish etc, you say your ” husbeast is amazeballs” I think that’s correct, but hey my love you are too and don’t forget it, I told my 26 year old daughter who sadly has cancer of the spine that she was “amazeballs” when she was sad, and her answer was ” mum …whats the book your reading called?” I told her it wasn’t a book but my ” cyber friend” and at 60 +++ she added ” mum get with the grouve”….
    You are my guilty pleasure on a Sunday morning, COFFEE , toast and your news, but may try next week with g and t at noon, just to ring the changes and keep “in the grouve”….take care and sew lots xxx
    Cindy x

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 7:53 am

      Hi Cindy!
      Thanks so much for your lovely comments ?
      So sorry to hear about your daughter, I hope she knows she most definitely IS amazeballs! And I’d be so proud of my Mum if she was making cyber sewing friends! I think you well and truly are in the groove ??
      Ooh yes mix it up a little, have the G&T. Because why the hell not ?

  3. Janey
    September 2, 2018 / 8:34 am

    Am wel jel of your upcoming trip! Spandexworld is a total mind blowing place not just for spandex but stretch lace, jersey, stretch leather or pleather probs! Also Purl Soho but give your credit card to someone else for the duration as it’s soooo easy to want to buy ALL the things! If you have time to venture out of Manhattan there is also Brooklyn Stitchery. I think Cashmerette wrote a blog post about shopping in the garment district too! Enjoy!

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 7:55 am

      Ooh, thanks Janey for the tips! I’m defo going to have a look for that blog post too! Purl soho is on the list already, and is spandex world different to spandex house or are they the same place?! ??‍♀️ I literally couldn’t be more excited for this trip ???

  4. September 2, 2018 / 9:13 am

    Hi Sarah, we got one of those alarm clocks last year and the light has made such a difference (ours is set to cow-bells) whereas before we were woken up to a siren. It definitely takes the stress out of our mornings not feeling at 700 revs before we even got out of bed.
    I have got the same fabric in two colour ways (didn’t know it was a Liberty lawn) and have been hesitant because it seems a bit see-trough but your photos have put my worries at ease. The NewLook 6197 pattern isn’t very shapely but some people prefer their clothes to be loose fitting. I am still sitting on the fence because my physical body has next to no waist.
    Have a fabulous day

  5. September 2, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Like your spirited idea of G&T for Sunday lunch time. A little bit of what you fancy …. And I am sorry to hear about your daughters condition, my thoughts are with you both xxx

  6. September 2, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Nice shirt…but I’m with you on those sleeves! Understitching on bits that turn out- wait for it…is best done by hand. I’d never have considered understitching [or topstitching] by hand til Kate [Fabrickated] showed what’s what. It really is a lovely couture touch, and bearing in mind your love of detail and finesse, you need to get over it lol
    By hand, you can not only get into all those tricksy corners or narrow places, but at the crucial point, you can switch your stitching to the other face of the garment, and just continue. Very quick and simple. I did it to great effect on the wife’s fab coat I no doubt did a post on it, but it was a while back now!]
    For sizing- most of the old-school pattern companies print the finished garment measurements on the actual pattern pieces which saves on faffing about measuring…

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 7:58 am

      Aha, I’d never thought of doing the understitching by hand! Definitely not averse to giving that a go, will read the Fabrikated blog post and will see if I can find your post too ?
      Oh yes I forgot that they print the finished measurements on the tissue don’t they ???

  7. September 2, 2018 / 10:14 am

    PS love this post…but that apostrophe in the title makes me cringe…every rose has IT IS thorn? oh dear. Blame my old-school schooling lol

  8. September 2, 2018 / 10:30 am

    I’m with you 100% re summer coming to an end – September spells relief to me too! I think you’re brave taking on the sewing of shirts for the husband. That is way over my comfort zone but for the sake of saving THAT amount of money for a shirt I might be tempted 🙂 I think once you’ve tweaked this pattern to a fit you (he?) is more content with you’ll have something pretty great to use with many different types of fabrics. I’m on the hunt for the perfect pinafore/jumper. I’ve tried 3 patterns and so far not happy. I’m just working now on the Sew Me Something Pinafore so we’ll see. It looks maybe a little too boxy but we’ll see once I’ve done an FBA and fiddled with it a bit.

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Ahh, I have a love/hate relationship with jumpers and pinafores. I love the look of them on the hanger, but because they tend to lack a defined waist, they look bloody awful on me ? I do have a vintage 70s pattern for one, which is the pinafore bit attached to a high-waisted skirt, and I keep thinking that it COULD work for me… but then I get distracted with 100 other patterns I want to sew ? which are the three patterns that have been unsuccessful?
      I’m glad I’m not the only one that can’t wait for summer to be over! ??

  9. Alison
    September 2, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    Thank you for posting about doing undrrstitching by hand, I’d never have thought of that! I’m off to google Fabrickated and her top tips!

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 8:08 am

      Yes I’m going off to read that as well! ??

  10. Jill D
    September 2, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    Once you have tweaked the shirt sleeves to your satisfaction, I think you will feel much happier. Have to agree New Look patterns aren’t the most inspiring but I think you’ve done a fantastic job/first version. Love your colourful blog and appreciate your humour and honesty!

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 5:12 pm

      Ahh thanks Jill, really glad you enjoy the blog! ??? yes I think I will be happy with the shirt once the fit has been tweaked… I might compare the pattern pieces to the other shirt pattern that I make for him and know fits, just to see where the differences are ?

  11. September 2, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    You have made the most beautiful shirt possible with this pattern. I am afraid that the pattern is not the most beautiful. You are so right with the understitching, the Dementedfairy already gave good advice. I would change the sleeves and I guess that the shirt will then be beautiful. As pattern for a slim fitting shirt, I can recommend V8889.

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      Ah, thank you I will look at V8889! Yes I think the sleeves need to be shortened/slimmed and then maybe I will like it much better ?

  12. September 2, 2018 / 11:47 pm

    Hey, Lady! I love your fabric choice, as usual, and agree about fall/autumn being the best season (November baby here).

    I wonder if the issue that makes the sleeves and shirt look too big is that the sleeves are relatively long for the length of the shirt. Have you tried folding or rolling them up an inch or two to see if that makes things a bit more balanced?

    I am a huge New Look fan, but mostly because I prefer non-trendy clothes with classic (read: boring) lines and I rarely follow pattern instructions beyond just the recommended order of assembly – and sometimes not even that. I am actually in the process of sewing a New Look wrap dress and I am definitely doing it my way.

    – Julia

    • Sarah
      September 3, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Hey Julia!
      Not long for us to wait until the beautiful autumn arrives ?????
      Yeah, those sleeves are really something aren’t they… I also wonder whether the top of the sleeve seam is too far in/out and that’s affecting the way they hang, making them stick out.
      I think some New Look patterns can turn out really well, if you can look past the envelope stylings! I think maybe they just need an update ?

  13. September 3, 2018 / 7:00 am

    I know what you mean about those new look sleeves, I’ve taken a few good wedges out of some of them (regretting it now I can’t get my plastercast through ??) but the shirt looks great ?
    I wake up to Joni Mitchell singing Chelsea Morning – not a bad start to the day! It’s weird if I hear it anywhere else though!
    I can’t wait to hear about New York! ????

    • Sarah
      September 17, 2018 / 7:40 am

      They are crazy huge aren’t they! I’ve just bought a Japanese shirt book, so will try that out. Hopefully it will produce better fitting shirts, as Japanese men tend to be more similar in height/build to the husband ??
      Ahh that is a good way to start the day ?? I’m soooooo excited for NYC – not long now!!

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