Take Two and Three {My quest for the perfect button up shirt}

So this guy, right? Pretty close to perfect. But could I leave it alone? No.

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My only bother was the collar felt too big – both in size and circumference. So what does this dickhead do? Retraced the neckline so it’s smaller but higher. If I’d stopped to think about that for more than a second, I’d realise that it was a rookie error and would make the whole shebang move further up my neck. I did cut down the collar and stand a smidge at the same time.

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Upon realising my mistake, I unpicked the collar and stand, recut the neckline so it was lower once again and made another collar. Which gave me this baby. Aw yes, better. Now to try on…

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WTF HAPPENED WITH THOSE BUST DARTS? Is this sorcery? Did I trace them with my eyes closed? Possibly. I don’t even know, man. Also that collar in sitting weirdly to the left. Now I have beautiful vintage Lion King fabric in a poorly fitting shirt.

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Ah well. Still a better fit than RTW. Will still wear.

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Last week, I ordered some beautiful Liberty lawn. So stunning. So spenno. Another tester was in order to get this shiz right before I cut into all those $$$$. This flamingo voile from Spotlight is the perfect test fabric really. Lovely and light but also reasonably priced. This time I took about a centimetre off the centre front all the way down, making that neck circumference a bit smaller and taking out some of the excess in the front. Good. I added some to the side seams to compensate and moved those bust darts in a bit. Good. New, smaller collar remained the same. Good.

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I think this is it. I mean, the collar still feels a bit big around my neck, but I don’t really like the feeling of being choked either. So this is the one. Promise I won’t touch it again.

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Wearing this to work today like a professional. Will be back with my fancy Liberty shirt later in the week.

Over and Over and Over {sewing a gathered skirt}

webDSC_5950I sew gathered skirts all the time, pretty much always following the same basic steps. If you’re new to sewing, let me tell you a little secret – they are pretty damn easy to make. And you don’t even need a pattern. Not really.

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Gathered skirts are made up of a few parts:

  • The front skirt panel. I make mine the width of my fabric, cut on the fold.
  • Two back panels. As above, but cut down the fold (this is where we add a zip). The best part about gathering is that you can make it fit into your waistband without any maths. WIN.
  • Waistband. Mine is curved and in three pieces (one for the front, two for the back. Again, for the zip). It’s from a vintage pattern and I use it so often because I know it fits me well. You can do one big long strip if you prefer. I like curved waistbands because I have a big difference between my hip and waist. Flat waistbands tend to gape in weird places on me.
  • Pockets if you want them (you want them). You can hide them in the side seams or sew them on as patch pockets.

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Once you have the basic shape down, you can change things up a bit. Like adding buttons down the front and omitting the zip at the back.

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But howwwwwwwwwww? Well, there are a pile of excellent tutorials online, so I won’t make another.

Here’s one from By Hand London.

And this one is for kids but the process is the same. I like to sew my zips in this way.

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I made no effort to pattern match this one, but hey – look at my cool metal zip.

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After you have the basics sorted, you can move onto sewing with really cool fabric, like this Alice McCall embroidered mesh. I lined the whole thing with black cotton lawn, which sounds intimidating, but really all I did was make another skirt. Then they both get gathered into the waistband. Not hard at all.

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This is my latest, she’s pretty right? The fabric makes it next level fancy. I know you probably want to know where everything is from, so I’ll start from the top.

Rad galah fabric by Mount Vic and Me via Spoonflower.

Tulip and bunny fabric by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller (possibly out of print).

The Twits fabric is furnishing fabric found on ebay.

Alice McCall mesh from The Remnant Warehouse.

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Now go on, make some skirts.