Total Eclipse of the Heart

So I know I said that last week’s post (the Kielo dress, in case ya missed it) was my final summer make – I guess that was a lie. Well, it wasn’t really a lie – this shirt that I’ve made for the husbeast could kind of be called a ‘summer’ make I suppose, but for me, it also counts as an autumn and winter make because he can wear a jumper over it for work 🤷🏻‍♀️ Yes, I realise I’m clutching at straws here. Don’t care. IT COUNTS 🤣

I’m not sure what the weather is doing in your part of the world, but here in London, we are fo sho well into autumn. We get the occasional hour of sunshine, but on the whole, it’s windy, rainy, and *definitely* sweater weather. I’m kind of looking forward to this change in season – not just because Autumn is my fave time of year – but because it’s time to pack away the warmer weather clothing and get out my knits, woollens and tights. I’ll be using this as an opportunity to really cleanse the wardrobe of things that I got out at the start of summer but didn’t wear, because it’s such a waste of time for these items to revolve between hanging rail and storage and never make it on to my body 🤷🏻‍♀️ The aim is to get to a point where I have less clothing (I know, contradictory to having sewing for a hobby but hear me out) but when I look at the rail each morning to choose my outfit I want it to be difficult because I want to wear EVERYTHING. I don’t want to scroll along the hangers thinking ‘meh’. I’ve got those shirts-that-are-too-tight-at-the-bust, jeans-that-are-too-baggy-around-the-waist, top-that’s-in-a-bit-of-a-depressing-print – you know the score. I’m also starting to remember that cycling makes my clothes tight around the upper arms – all that gripping of the handlebars seems to do something for the ol’ triceps and biceps 😳

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So yeah, I’ll be having a good clear out, and only pieces that got worn this year and will defo get worn again next year are going to get the privilege of remaining. I think that’s going to leave me with like three pairs of jeans, but when I think about it, they’re the only three I tend to wear anyway so 🤷🏻‍♀️ The rest will go to charity, in the hope that they find a new forever home.

Annnnnyways, back to this shirt… I made the husbeast a thing! Such a good wife 💁🏻‍♀️

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Ever since I made my Heart of Darkness Bleuet dress, the husbeast has been hankering after something made from that same fabric. I had a little bit left over from my dress, but not enough to make a shirt, so I bought a couple of extra metres from the Spring K&S show so that I knew I could definitely get the pattern placement I wanted on the front.

This shirt has marked a turning point in my short-sleeve-shirt-making-journey. When I first started sewing clothing, I wanted to make things for the husbeast as well as myself, and I figured that a shirt would be a good place to start. I’d literally only made one pencil skirt (which I hashed up the zip on royally) and maybe one dress for me before I decided I wanted to make a men’s shirt. I was full of enthusiasm, the husbeast less so. The pattern of choice was Vogue 8759, because at the time I didn’t even realise that indie pattern companies (or indeed, anything outside of Vogue) existed. I bought a couple of metres of Liberty lawn (yes, really – I still don’t make muslins and go straight for the good stuff 🤣) and steamed right in.

VOGUE 8759

That first shirt was a total shambles, of course, because I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, it was wearable, but it was all over the gaff. So I made another. And another. And then some more, just for good measure. I still even have a half-finished one draped over the dress form. I never really thought about using a different pattern, it was almost like I was on a mission to perfect that one before I moved on. But then last year the husbeast wanted a western shirt, and I found the perfect pattern for it – the Folkwear Frontier Shirt.

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I deviated from my Vogue pattern to make this one for him.

The shirt was a complete success – it’s bloody awesome, to be honest. The fit is really good, and the sleeve is a one-piece which allows for you to sew the seam as a French seam. That was my one annoyance with the Vogue pattern – the way the placket was constructed didn’t allow for a tidy finish on the seam. I’m ALL ABOUT the neatness on the inside and I get nervous sweats and heart palpitations when I have to leave things at a sub-par level of finished-ness.

The Folkwear shirt is responsible for luring me away from the Vogue pattern – I don’t think I’ll ever go back to it now. V8759 was a really good pattern to build my shirt making skills – and believe me I’ve learned a LOT and come on leaps and bounds in my shirtmaking – but I’ve found a better pattern in the Frontier shirt. It’s hard to look past the pattern envelope that is so very, very western and imagine that you could get a ‘regular’ shirt from it, but you absolutely can.

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The Folkwear shirt doesn’t have a short sleeve option in the pattern, so I did the very quick and dirty option of holding the paper piece against the husbeast’s arm and marking roughly where we’d like the shirt to finish. I didn’t add anything on for seam allowance because I finish the edge with bias tape and that only takes up about half a centimetre, so I didn’t think it was worth bothering about 🤷🏻‍♀️ (It turned out fine).

The Vogue shirt has a fold-over placket that’s part of the main shirt body whereas the Frontier shirt has a sewn-on placket – this makes it totes difficult to get pattern matching across the front on the Folkwear shirt because you’re trying to match three things and that’s WAY extra. So I don’t bother 🤣

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I have no idea why my collar pieces overlap at centre front – a problem I had with almost EVERY version of a Vogue shirt (made for both me and the husbeast) is that the collar pieces don’t quite meet in the middle. Not only do they not meet, but some versions have a chasm worthy of the Mines of Moria 😨 So having the collar edges overlap is something very new to me – still just as annoying though, mind you. I need to figure out why it’s doing this, as there are no actual markings on the collar stand to indicate just where exactly the collar should finish…. perhaps I’ll go along, mark the seam lines, and then mark centre fronts, and hopefully be able to do the sums and work out exactly where that collar should be stopping in order to match up perfectly 🤓

(or, more likely, is that I’ll forget and make the shirt again and the same thing will happen and then I’ll remember that I wanted to put the markings on the pieces and we’ll be right back here where we started. Welcome to groundhog day, folks 🤦🏻‍♀️)

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I had a request to make the hip curve less dramatic, so I lowered it from the pattern markings and redrew the curve – copying it from the existing curve on the pattern piece so it at least looked a reasonable shape. As always I hemmed it with bias tape – yes it takes longer but it’s such a nice finish and it looks way better than any fold over hem I’d be able to achieve.

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I even, for the first time ever, used fray check on the buttonholes as well. I knew this little magic fluid existed, but somehow I’d just never really gotten round to buying any. Yes, I always moaned that after about five minutes little wispy threads appeared around the buttonholes, and then got latched around the buttons when you were trying to fasten or unfasten them, but I still didn’t buy any. Now I have some, and while it doesn’t tame all those threads, it certainly improves the rage levels.

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I really love how this shirt turned out – the fabric totally suits him, and the blagged sleeve length worked out well. Its a more casual fit than the Vogue short sleeve pattern, which seems to be a hit with the husbeast – we have no need for formal shirts in our lives, and we’re at that age where comfort has become way more important than it used to be 🤣

There’s still some of this fabric left over, which I’m gonna use for a Makers Tote for him to hold all of his beading supplies (double good wifey points for me 💁🏻‍♀️). He started out making me a single bracelet (which he designed himself) and it’s progressed on from there – I’ve now got a couple of really awesome bracelets and beading allows him to indulge his love of all things sparkly and shiny 🤩

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One of the husbeast’s favourite shirts that I’ve made for him so far is this one in the Liberty ‘Atlas’ print, which is made from the Vogue pattern and doesn’t really fit him anymore (and isn’t one of my best makes, technically, anyway). Everywhere online had sold out of this particular colourway, and I even tried to score a couple of metres from Shaukat but they cancelled my order after it had gone through saying that actually, they were out of stock as well 😩 So when I saw a bolt of this on the Fabrics Galore stand at the Spring Knitting and Stitching show earlier in the year, I went for it and held onto it for dear life. I bought two metres to make him the replacement shirt, from the Frontier pattern this time. I’m also looking forward to buying some better buttons for the next one because I bought them off eBay before I’d really discovered the haberdasheries of London 🧐 They look a bit crap, if I’m honest 🤷🏻‍♀️

Oh, and I defo need to make sure I don’t get such awful twinning on the front of the shirt next time 👀 I think this was before I’d really got the hang of pattern matching!

V8759 Vogue Mens Shirt pattern Liberty Atlas Fabric

So the last remaining question to be asked is… who wore it better?!

(yes, a leather collar would have looked awesome on the husbeast’s shirt, but I felt that was a little *too* into the realms of matchy-matchyness 🤔)

Deer and Doe Bleuet Dress Alexander Henry Heart of Darkness Fabric

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Next week on the blog… something a little different – I got a Cricut machine! 👀 All the deets and the full lowdown on this contraption can be delivered straight to your inbox via the box below👇🏻

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10 Comments

  1. Potimarron
    October 20, 2019 / 8:15 am

    The placement of that hand on the back yoke is brilliant! Did you insert the sleeves on the flat or ease them in after doing the side seams?

    • Sarah
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 6:32 pm

      Always in the flat! Ever since I discovered that its, like, a BAZILLION times easier to put a shirt sleeve in flat, I’ve done it that way. I will always ignore shirt instructions that direct me otherwise! I don’t even know why they would say to do it after the side seams… it’s so bloody fiddly and it’s such a mission to get it in without any tucks of fabric 😤

  2. October 20, 2019 / 8:54 am

    This shirt looks fantastic. Of course I love the fabric, but it’s such a great fit too 👏👏👏
    I always use bias tape on my shirt hems now thanks to you! Double turning over some of those curves is a bit*h!
    👍👏🙏

    • Sarah
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 6:34 pm

      YAS! Bias tape ftw! I mean, I really don’t know why people suggest doing the double turn hem… mine always looks a right bloody state. It’s *never* even and most of the time I end up with burned fingers (note to self, turn off the steam on the iron lol). It’s just such a faff for an inferior finish. PLUS you get to use jazzy bias tape as well! 💃🏻

  3. Bren Holmes
    October 20, 2019 / 9:21 am

    Both shirts are excellent and modelled well. Nothing to choose between you ;-). I can’t wait to see what you are doing with the Cricut. I use my Scan n Cut a lot, mainly for appliques, but it’s an old model now. I know all about a wardrobe full of lightly too tight, baggy, worn or boring garments. I must do something about that. I’ve purchased a few, cheap, autumn things; a denim skirt that I embroidered, jeans, jeggings and a couple of sweaters, as I was getting desperate. I want to make some new clothes and even have some of the fabric, but time is in short supply. I have made a casual jacket (embroidered), which I’m happy with, and plan to make another – soon! I’m busy quilting and embroidering at present.

    • Sarah
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 6:37 pm

      Ah I know how you feel Bren, I really need more time!!
      Are you embroidering by hand or by machine? I’d love to make a quilt, but I don’t know when I’ll ever have the time for that lol. If I could buy a kit with the pieces pre-cut, that might work – is that a thing?!
      The Cricut is a very new world for me, but I do now have lots of ideas for it! (Not that I have time for those, lol)
      I had a mini wardrobe clear out today, got rid of a few things. Being very considerate about what gets stored for next summer – I think I chucked out about six vest tops that I wore precisely none of during the summer, I kept one black one for good measure but the rest went!

  4. October 20, 2019 / 11:05 am

    Nice one! Maybe leather BUTTONS would be a match but not mitchy-match?

    • Sarah
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Ooh, yes good shout… do you think they would be a bit too bulky for a shirt though? 🤔

  5. Fiona
    October 20, 2019 / 11:48 am

    Don’t make me choose, both of you look awesome! I am finally getting round to sewing a shirt for my son, also in alexander henry fabric – its the tale of dragons in black colourway. If it turns out half as good as yours, I’ll be happy!

    • Sarah
      Author
      October 24, 2019 / 6:40 pm

      Fiona that is an AWESOME fabric for a shirt! Is it a surprise gift or does he know it’s coming? Which pattern are you using?
      It’s going to be epic!!

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