Last October was my Dad’s 70th birthday. He was going on a cruise with my mom and my sister (and her husband). So I decided he needed a nice shirt. I totally stole this idea from Oonaballoona.
This is McCall’s 6932 which is the same pattern I used to make the Diamond Anniversary Shirts for Vanessa and Jeremy. However this is a pure linen instead of a linen blend for extra wrinkleyness!
I have always wanted to play around with hemstitching, so I tracked down a winged needle. I went into a local sewing machine shop and asked for one and they had no idea what I was talking about. So I searched through the Schmentz needles until I found it and then explained what it was used for.
My machine has 4 built in hemstitches and I tried all of them before deciding on this simple one. After I cut out the piece, I drew in 3 straight lines with washable marker and used them as my guide. I also used a lightweight thread.
I actually bought white linen, but after I finished sewing the shirt I thought about my Dad and realized that white was going to be a terrible idea. So I tea dyed it! I steeped a bunch of Lipton tea bags in a big pot and threw in some salt and the shirt. Luckily I had used all cotton thread for my sewing and embroidery! It took up dye very quickly. I was intending to have it be a little lighter than this, but I like the way it turned out.
Tea dying has some meaning too as my metz mama (my dad’s mom) used to tea dye things and it makes me think of her. I sent the shirt to my sister and asked her to give it to my Dad, but in the craziness of the baptism she forgot and they sailed away without it. So I don’t have any tropical photos of him wearing it but I’m sure he’ll get to wear it this summer!
My sister, Vanessa, and her husband, Jeremy, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary last month. A couple of weeks before that I was in Joann’s looking for some linen when I spotted this diamond print linen blend fabric. Do you know what the symbol of the 10th anniversary is… diamonds! So I picked up a few yards. The bolt was slightly short of what the pattern needed for 2 shirts, but I knew I could make it work!
I used McCall’s 6932 which is a Palmer/Pletsch unisex camp shirt pattern. I actually bought it for myself to make a 49er jacket, but I’ve made 3 shirts out of it and none were 49ers and none were for me! I got my mom to ask them for their chest measurements so I could figure out what sizes to make. Thanks Mom!
My sister is petite so I made the smallest size and took 3 inches out of the body and 2 inches out of the sleeve length and used the side vents. I made Jeremy’s shirt with no alterations.
These shirts went together very quick and easy. I was very particular about keeping the pieces separate for each shirt. That is until I swapped out the yoke linings. Eek! I didn’t notice this until after I sewed one in completely and trimmed the collar seam. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut new pieces, so I just had to make them work.
Making a camp shirt is definitely a bit different construction than a more classic shirt like Grainline Archer. There is no collar stand and it overall has a very relaxed look that definitely works with the linen fabric I used. However it still has a back pleat and lined yoke so that everything inside looks nice.
One of the interesting things about making this shirt was that I didn’t do any basting to gather in the sleeves. I used a ton of pins and eased it in. There were a couple of spots that I had to rip out and resew but overall it was neat not having to do gathers!
I didn’t get these shirts done until the day of their anniversary but I stuck them in the mail and they got them a couple of days later. I didn’t mention I was making anything so they were totally surprised! They are off to a cruise to the Bahamas with my parents next week so I know they will get to be dorky and dress alike on the ship! Good news that they fit perfectly.:)
I’ve been wanting to make an Archer for awhile, but I’ve realized that I really hate pdf patterns. They are a pain to put together and store. I was recently on Grainline Studio’s site and I noticed she had a preorder for a paper Archer pattern. Woohoo!
Around the same time MissCrayolaCreepy posted about the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge. So it seemed like a good time to sew a cat-shirt! There are a lot of cute/kitschy cat prints out there, but I’ve realized I rarely actually wear clothing I make with that sort of print. Then I came across the Cat Dream fabric from Lizzy House, which is still pretty cute but in my eyes a little more sophisticated and wearable.
So one of the big reasons I wanted to make a shirt is that I’ve never owned a button down shirt that didn’t gap around the bust. Now that I’m an FBA-pro I wanted to try my hand at getting a really well fitting shirt. I did all my pattern adjustments using the Palmer Pletsch method, which lead to a 1″ FBA. With the print on this fabric you can barely see the darts. But look…I can raise my arms and no button gap! Hallelujah!!
The rear view is pretty good too! I made no modifications. On big 4 sometime I do 3/4″ broad back adjustment.
The one thing I’m not too sure about is the shoulder width. Where is a shirt like this supposed to hit you? I have a feeling it might be a smidge to wide in the shoulders.
My only outstanding fitting issue is the sleeves. The upper arm fits fine, but the lower cuff is ridiculously wide. I didn’t check this until after I sewed the cuff on and at the point I wasn’t changing it. So I ended up sewing my cuff buttons almost 2″ over from the button marking! The sleeves are also about 2″ too long so I will make both the length and width adjustments on my next version.
None of my cat shirt + cat photos came out great, but I had to include at least one with a kitty! Here’s my little monkey named Magi. I also have a black cat names Cleo. I couldn’t find my camera remote, so I had 10 seconds to hit the shutter, grab a cat, and get in the shot. So apologies that we both look a little weird!
The pattern is by Tilly & the Buttons and it’s called Coco. The digital version costs £7.50, which is about $12.50. On a side note, this is why my British friends love coming here to shop!
Anyway, I wasn’t that interested in making this shirt when the pattern first came out especially since it appeared to be £12.50, but that was for the printed pattern. Soon after getting another Boden catalog, I realized I needed a Breton top, so I changed my mind and bought it.
My Polka Dot Coco
I did a no-dart FBA and curved out the front side seams in the bust area to accommodate my DDDs. Since I’ve never done a no-dart FBA before, I made a test top using some leftover knit fabric to ensure this fit properly. I was very happy with the fit in the bust area. I also took the sleeves into make them more fitted.
My final garment was made using this fab black and white polka dot jersey I found at Mill End Fabrics. Since I was sure about the fit, I did the entire thing on my serger except for finishing the hems and neckline. I sewed those on my sewing machine using a double needle for a professional looking finish.
Overall I really like this pattern and I can see using it as a base pattern for my own variations. However I had a couple of problems with it. First and foremost is that the amount of fabric required is specified inaccurately in the Supplies section of the pattern. It says you need 2 1⁄4 yards x 60in wide, but this is the amount you need to make a dress. You have to go to the layout page to see the amount needed just for a top (1 3/4 yds). And I think that is still inaccurate since I was able to make my larger sized top and still have over a yard leftover. I think the pattern should at least specify in the supplies section where you need to look for proper fabric amounts.
My second issue is that the instructions tell you to do a lot of your hem and neckline finishes using zig zag stitch. Nothing screams homemade to me like zig zag. If you make this top I would definitely recommend using a double needle as it provides a great looking finishing seam that also stretches. I wore this top today and and no one in my craft group had any idea it was homemade. That’s sounds like success to me!
The good news is about my extra polka dot fabric is I can pair it up with some to-be-purchased striped fabric and make one of these Boden Breton tops I love!
I kept getting the stellastarr* song My Coco stuck in my head while making this top. Here it is for you to enjoy, too.