Fashion Sketching (And Other Amusements)

Are you surprised? Another post so soon after the last one! What is that old damselfly up to? Well, just for starters the unbelievable high heat broke finally so I don’t feel like I’m imminently going to melt into a pile of goo! The brains work again even if the body, at least the foot, doesn’t. Things are looking up! And I have plenty of time on my hands right now. Heh.

Last post I started to (badly) show the sketch of an idea for a jumpsuit that I was thinking about making. I used a printout of my personal fashion template that I recently purchased from My Body Model an app that uses your own measurements to create a shape that more closely resembles the real you. What I especially like about it is that you can mess with the results until you are completely happy with it before you fork out any money! When you pay (there’s a system of “credits”) you have the choice of a basic PDF package of page layouts or one with more options. I just got the basic one and it works fine for the kinds of things I want to do. You also get a plain PDF file that you can use in a drawing program if you want. I prefer an excuse to buy more brush pens! Just to show you how accurate the My Body Model croquis is, here’s a comparison of my sketch from 4 years ago made from a photograph and my personal MBM template.

The Real Me!

MBM’s feet are a little small (and I don’t have big feet!) and the hips look a little wider because the hip measurement is distributed around the whole shape rather than just in front where I carry my weight. Otherwise it looks pretty close particularly when I draw hair and glasses on her. It definitely looks better than the usual fashion croquis that makes a body ridiculously out of proportion to reality. Nobody is actually 9 heads tall, are they? If you don’t feel like you’re very good at drawing there’s lots of tutorials (both free and paid) available to learn some easy ways to put clothes on your template. I had great fun designing a jumper dress based on a York Pinafore hack for a gathered skirt version.

Plaid York Jumper Sketch

And when I was finished sewing, I dressed up like the sketch.

The Real Plaid York Jumper
Back View

Looks pretty similar, doesn’t it? The fabric is a “100% unknown fibre“ brushed back twill in an asymmetrical plaid that’s been in my stash for eons. It’s actually quite nice feeling for a synthetic but a burn test wasn’t definitive. I’d have thought polyester but it didn’t melt away from the flame and wasn’t self-extinguishing. It seemed to react more like acrylic which I’ve only experienced as yarn. Weird. Anyway, I love the colours and I’m sure I would have used it up long ago except for the fact that it’s very lightweight and clingy. In order to foil the cling factor I decided to fully line it with some coordinating cotton/poly shirting that I had also in stash without a clue where it came from.

I used the burrito technique to line the bodice and then attached the skirts (main and lining) each to its own layer so there’s no seams visible inside. I also added in-seam pockets because…pockets. Skirt and lining were hemmed individually also and I’ve worn this a lot since I finished it. Obviously a successful make! Here’s an interior view of the bodice so you can see the topstitching and lining fabric. My new tag went nicely too don’t you think?

Interior Detail

So you can see how being able to sketch out your ideas can be very helpful in visualizing how they will look in reality. You can “try on” garments and change the proportions or plan outfits and capsule wardrobes easily before you commit actual fabric to the project. It also allows you to look at your own body with some detachment so your judgement isn’t as laden with so much personal baggage. It’s just paper dolls! And yes, if you’re like me and loved playing with paper dolls as a kid, you can make your own personal “paper you” all ready for your wardrobes of fabulous clothes. Anyway I’m sold. I have more My Body Models to show you but right now I’ll just leave you with this Hipstamatic photo of my backyard. I got a new “lens” and “film” pack: Moab. Couldn’t resist since I’ve actually been there! I should remember to play with this app more often now that I have a better camera in Thom’s old iPhone, huh? It’s nearly impossible to take a bad shot. So artsy.

May-Bee

Busy-busy! It’s been a lot of work out in the garden but it’s looking pretty darn lush out there, isn’t it?

The Back 40 (Feet not Acres)

It’s all planted now and all that’s left to do is weed, water, weed, water… Oh, and harvest! A photo of our front garden (with the flowers and shrubs, not the veggies or the dye plants) was recently featured in an article in the local weekly newspaper so I guess other people have noticed and appreciated all our hard work. (Hint: Ours is the one labelled Mount Pleasant though we’re actually a few blocks further south in Riley Park. Also I disagree strongly with the “church-going seniors” epithet. Definitely not.) Anyhow, Thom’s elbow is quite a lot better now happily although we both have to pace ourselves carefully. It’s just too enjoyable being outside in the warm sunshine pulling weeds and deadheading flowers! Here’s an excellent article on why gardening is good for you in so many ways. Just don’t be tempted to overdo it. Ask me how I know!

Please pay special notice to our new extreme fence in the above photo. Not our idea at all. This was part of a grand backyard landscaping project by our next-door neighbours and it was A Major Pain In The Patootie TM! The workmen promised faithfully to be careful of our garden but they trampled flowers, broke raspberry canes, toppled bamboo and left footprints in my cabbages and kale. There’s still wooden pallets squashed up against the bent and broken blackberry branches on the outside of our back fence. They aren’t done yet either after more than a month of running backhoes, saws and nail guns. Ugh. Our neighbours keep apologising for the delays and the mess and to be fair they did include completely finishing in the fence on our side too thinking it would look nicer for us. Just glad I’m not paying for any of it. On the upside, the workmanship is not too bad considering the lack of skills training these young guys actually get. It’ll be interesting to see the effect when their yard is finished: deck, water feature, mini-golf (not kidding!), pathways etc. Please note that theirs is actually quite a bit smaller than ours. A regular city lot. And their house is considerably bigger. No accounting for how some people spend their money I guess. Hope they will actually use their outdoor playground more than they have up until now.

On our side, we’ve been upgrading a few of our lawn and patio furnishings. For starters the slap-dash wooden hammock stand Thom made a couple of years ago is really too heavy and awkward for us. (We will not mention that I’ve already fallen off the new one, will we? Too embarrassing. Though the bruise is coming along nicely.) Plus we needed a new bistro table (on order) and another sun umbrella that we don’t have to keep moving around. We spend a lot of time in our outdoor space so why not make it a little more comfortable. I would love a comfy couch or chaise longue but feel that our plastic resin chairs are good enough. Being on a corner lot with a completely see-through fence on the public side we’ve been reluctant to spend money on fancy outdoor living rooms in case they tempt someone to take them walkabout. It’s been known to happen. Anyway, we are definitely getting prepared for a return to family gatherings. Very soon now. The two older grandbeasties are next on the list for their Covid shots in a couple of weeks. That just leaves the Littlest Grandbeastie, who at 10 hasn’t been okayed for the vaccines yet. And of course none of us, not even 93-year-old Nana, has had a second dose either. So slow.

In crafty news, I finished a couple more sewing projects. These ones are all for me-me-me. First up, the first test version of Muna and Broad’s Sculthorpe Pants. Again, Leila and Jess have created the perfect pants pattern for me. I’m already wearing these to death!

Sculthorpe Pants

Obviously I took this photo before the cucumbers got planted. I’m encouraging them. The tomatoes are twice that size now! But I digress. I really like the lines of these tapered elastic-waisted pants with the extra side panels and the generous V-shaped pockets. It’s an opportunity for lots of topstitching and maybe opposing directional prints or colour-blocking. The fabric was the hemp canvas that I talked about dyeing teal blue with Procion in my last post. I’m wearing them here with my 4-year-old sweater (a much-modified James by Amy Miller) in oatmeal coloured yarn that I dyed with rhubarb root to this gorgeous golden yellow.

These Sculthorpes are the third M&B pants pattern I’ve tried and they needed NO mods for fit. None. I mean, really, good fitting pants are the Holy Grail for sewists, amiright? I like the way these work for me the way I like without any fuss. I’ve also tried the Glebe (wide-legged) and the Willandra (curved seam, flat-front) pants and they are also fabulous. Next I want to sew the Birchgrove (tapered, slash-pocket) pants though I don’t think I have any suitable fabric right now. The only ones I’m not likely to go for are the Noice Jeans since (unlike most people) I don’t wear jeans at all.

Muna and Broad have done really well in the short time (just over a year) that they’ve been in business. Leila in Canada does the pattern drafting and Jess in New Zealand does the web, social media etc. They create well-fitting, easy to sew garment patterns for that neglected category of sewists, the larger woman. When I bought my first pattern (Glebes) from them I was in the smallest size. Since then they’ve expanded down a couple more sizes so that it’s possible that their tops might also fit me now though I haven’t tried them, except for the Banksia Bralette which I love. This is the total opposite of most pattern lines! In bottoms my waist and hip measurements usually put me in anything from a 16 to a 20 depending on the company. M&B patterns go up to a 64″ bust and 71.5″ hip and promise that if you are larger than that, they will draft up for you. I mean, what service, eh? Who else offers that? Nobody. Obviously there was a glaring gap in the market and they filled it very nicely with easy stylish patterns and they continue to come up with new ideas. The most recent one is classic pajamas. But what works so well for me, at least, are the pants that already have all the fit mods built in: scooped crotch, tummy room, butt room (though I don’t need that so much any more), and a comfy wide elastic waist. What’s not to love?

There’s been quite a lot of controversy in the online sewing community about pattern sizing, especially in the upper ranges. There are those who will go so far as to boycott a pattern company that only caters to the usual smaller/straight/regular/whatever-euphemism-you-prefer body shape. As the owner of a non-standard body that straddles size ranges, I’m kind of reluctant to wade too far into the discussion. I don’t even know if I can call myself “fat” even though I definitely am carrying a lot of fat in my middle section. A “small fat” maybe? Who knew there were categories of “fat”? I do know that the subject is completely loaded with heavy political and emotional meaning. And for absolutely valid reasons. The public pressure put on the pattern companies in the past couple of years has definitely had some positive effects and many have expanded their ranges to include more body sizes. However, I personally feel that expecting a very small company (many indie pattern companies are only one or two people) to immediately cater to everyone of every shape and size is unrealistic. You just might have to do some of the work of fitting your own body yourself! Shockingly, even most thinner people need to make adjustments! It’s a normal part of sewing and one that I don’t think is emphasized enough. On the other hand, being able to at least start with something that is closer to your own body measurements can make a good fit so much easier to accomplish. Maybe my trouble is that I’m such a Betweenie that I see all sides of this subject and empathize with everyone?

Back to the sewing machine. My next finished garment is the cropped version of the Pona Jacket.

Canyon Jacket

I’m calling this one the Canyon Jacket because the colour of the heavy linen canvas dyed in madder and cutch reminds me of the rocks of the American Southwest. (Which I totally adore and miss visiting terribly!) The fabric is another choice for this pattern from Helen’s Closet that is heavier than recommended but, like the plaid denim long jacket, turned out just fine. This one has quite a lot more drape than the denim though. I used Janny, the heavy-duty Janome machine to sew it because I remembered how much trouble I had making Thom some shorts out of another piece of this fabric (dyed a much lighter pale sand) with my late lamented Pfaff. I broke so many needles! This time I used the Janome purple-tip 90/14 cobra-head needles which, even though this application isn’t specified in the written specs, were recommended by my dealer and they worked really well. Even better than a jeans needle. I wore one out but I didn’t break any this time. And Janny didn’t have any trouble sewing through the layers, though she did make a few rude noises! The seams are finished with Hong Kong binding that I cut from a vintage floral cotton scrap from deepest stash. I think I made a dress or something about 40 years ago for my darling daughter? Can’t quite remember now but she might know. I made the bias from a 24″ square and only had a very few yards left. A good stash, or collection if you prefer, is a valuable resource.

Pona Insides

You can see I used my new name tag which matched the fabric nicely! You can see the canvas weave structure clearly in this photo too. It’s a lot softer than it looks but still heavy enough to be warm to wear. Also a pretty good dye job if I do say so myself! (And yes, I actually wove the placemat that just shows in the top of the picture. It’s in a Summer & Winter weave though, not canvas weave. Heh.) I’m wearing the jacket with my soft green sleeveless Farrow and brown self-drafted T-shirt and leggings. Also naturally dyed handknit socks and my good old Birkies. Apparently showing garments in a seated pose is helpful for sewists who are disabled (or sewing for the disabled) to judge better how the fit works in that position.

Shown Seated

This is a great easy to fit and easy to sew jacket that would be perfect for a more beginner level sewist. No buttonholes or set-in sleeves to worry about and as always with this company the instructions are very good. I didn’t crop the sleeves to a 3/4 length but left them long so I can turn them up. I thought that would be more versatile in styling and for extra warmth if I need it. One thing I didn’t like though are the pockets on this cropped version. They are slightly awkwardly placed and I ended up moving them more towards the centre front. But they still aren’t comfortable to put your hands into even though my ubiquitous hankie and iPhone fit fine. If/when I make another (from a lighter-weight fabric next time) I’ll experiment with pocket shapes and placements to see whether I can solve this. FYI the pockets actually hold the extra-wide front facings in place since they’re sewn through them as a last step. I like that. Floppy facings are my nemesis!

And last but not least I finished one more garment this month, the Lichen Duster from Sew Liberated.

Lichen Duster
Lichen Duster Back

Pardon the fact that I’m not sashaying about in this swishy garment for your delectation! It’s raining and dreary and I didn’t feel like modelling. Debbie Double is my stand-in but note that she has somewhat wider shoulders than I do. (Must fix that one day!) Anyway, this fabric is the rayon/linen that I dyed in Procion on the same day that I dyed the teal hemp for the Sculthorpes. (I was on a roll.) You might be able to see the “broken” patterning that turned out when the dyes split into their component colours. It’s more accurate (at least on my screen) than my original photo last post. The fabric is one of my favourites and I’m still working on the last several yards of a 50 yard bolt I had given to me nearly 14 years ago. It’s drapey but substantial, very fun to dye, takes a very nice pressing but of course wrinkles a lot, and is super easy to sew.

This pattern was less trouble to fit than I thought it would be. I printed a combination of a 12/14/16 but ended up just going with the 12 on the upper chest and shoulders and the 14 from the underarm down. There was enough ease to still overlap a few inches on the front. I didn’t want too much fabric flapping about! I did do some fairly major modifying of the shoulder/armhole area and recut the sleeve for my droopy shoulders and skinny arms. Hmmm…that doesn’t sound very nice, does it? Swanlike shoulders and svelte arms? <Snicker!> I just traced from another pattern that I’ve already fit the way I like so that wasn’t as big a deal as it sounds. Worked very well indeed and I can still fit a reasonable layer or two underneath.

I think the pattern is quite well-drafted and reminded me of a Tilton with all the pieces that you have to assemble. Though these are at least symmetrical and fit together quite closely on the fabric when cutting out. I was somewhat annoyed with the pattern instructions however. In a bid to support more beginner sewists, there was far too much verbiage with the seam finishing and admonishments and extra cautions and…blah, blah. As a very experienced sewist I actually found it ridiculously hard to follow just what to do next. As I usually do, I had printed the instructions in booklet format and the text turned out very teeny and the illustrations not especially clear or helpful. I ended up sitting down with my magnifier lamp and underlining just the pertinent information. Also making notes in the margins as I went in case I ever want to do this again. There may be only room for one Lichen in my life however. It’s a very lovely pattern but for me it’s quite formal? Okay, not really formal but somewhat more dressy than my normal mucking-about lifestyle dictates anyway. We’ll see how much wear it actually gets.

I did have much fun doing reverse flat-fell seams everywhere I possibly could. The armscyes are finished with faux French seams which are a bit lumpy but the seam was too curved for flat-fell. I hand-stitched the back neck facing down with a catch-stitch and it looks pretty good but now I’m wondering if I need to go all the way down the very long front facings too. The jury is still out. I was going to wear it awhile before deciding if it needs it. But you know how I feel about floppy facings, right? Nemesis. Me and Lichen and a needle and thread may be spending some quality time together.

So I guess that’s enough blathering for now. It’s been fairly sunny but not too warm for days and days so it seems odd to have a full day of rain today. It was lovely to see it anyhow, saving me from having to water the garden. Unfortunately it’s a bit chilly with a high of only 15C just as my beans are all unfolding themselves from the soil. Poor babies. They’re one of the few things I actually plant directly without growing them as seedlings first. Peas are the other one. No flowers yet but I’m hopeful soon. I wait all year for fresh snap and snow peas and for fresh green (or yellow or burgundy or purple-splotched) beans. The ones in the stores are awful.

Oh and if you live where it’s going to be visible, there’s a Super Blood Flower Moon Eclipse tomorrow night! Or actually early Wednesday morning. It’s probably going to be too cloudy to see here. I’m so disappointed because we’re in the path of the full blood eclipse on the west coast. I was nearly ready to get up at Oh-Dark-Thirty to see it but meh. Rain clouds. Sad face. We caught the Super Blood Wolf Moon back in 2019 and it was amazing. Magical. Oh well, it’ll happen anyway even if I don’t get to see it! The Real Universe is like that. It goes on with or without me.

Happy Year of the Ox!

Hmmm…nearly two months of dead silence. Not that I didn’t think of writing a bunch of posts in my head but never actually sat down to do it! What’s with that? I’d blame the Pandemic but that’s such a cliché these days, isn’t it? Dunno. Let’s just carry on from here, shall we?

I did finish a few things whilst I wasn’t blogging. Some new face coverings using a different pattern, this one from the Japanese Sewing Books website called the Contoured 3D Face Mask.

Yet more face masks

These ones seem to be more comfortable than the venerable Dhurata Davies pattern. Instead of ties or elastics I used narrow crosswise strips of nylon/spandex fabric pulled into a tube. They are softer than elastic on your ears and easier to get on and off than ties. I also discovered that my glasses fog up badly in the cold but wearing them over the mask as far down on my nose as possible helps. Somehow it leaves more space for evaporation of the moisture. Or something. I also interfaced the lining on these with some crappy lightweight non-woven fusible and I think it not only gives them a stiffer shape to help them keep away from my mouth but perhaps adds a bit of extra germ filtering. There are several sizes: L fits me well, XXL fits the Bearded One, and M fits his tiny mom.

Mom’s masks

I’ve lost track of how many masks I’ve made so far (not gazillions like some sewists though!) but I’m sure we’re still going to need these things for the foreseeable future. It’s a challenge choosing scraps from the stash and even though these have a little more sewing they’re actually very easy and entertaining to make. We have enough for now anyway. Moving right along.

I got plenty of good opportunities to use my new sewing machines while the Janome was in the shop. I made quite a few t-shirts and a couple of pairs of leggings but don’t have any great photos to show. They’re boring light grey, dark grey and brown! The coverstitch machine does have a bit of a learning curve though the threading is easy. Much easier than a serger anyway. Luckily if it goes wonky the stitches are easy-peasy to pull out when you start from the end of the seam. I got lots of practice with it on the tees and I still haven’t finished sewing all the ones I cut out last autumn.

I did finally finish sewing the Grainline Felix dress that I started way back in 2018. I ended up having to do some fixing to make it fit properly – the reason I got annoyed with it in the first place. Sitting in the Naughty Corner for a long while gave me some patience and perspective and now I really love it!

Felix Dress

Unfortunately I nicked the bodice with the serger which is something I’ve only done less than a handful of times in the decades since I’ve owned one. Grrr…

Holey Crap!

I repaired it with Fray-Chek and a piece of fusible interfacing on the back. This rayon/poly fabric frays a lot though so it’s not invisible. Sigh. Now I have no excuse to save this dress for good! I can wear the heck out of it. Heh.

The rest of this fabric was calling me to use it up so I cut out a Tessuti Helga Shirt from the leftover piece. I made some changes since the silver grey test version that I made last year, adding a collar and pockets and reducing the fullness of the sleeve cap. I also lengthened it an inch. Much better!

Helga Shirt

The pockets are not large but will at least hold a phone or hankie. I quite like the collar.

Self-Drafted Collar

It lies so much nicer than the original band collar, which I discovered has too much curve in it. Again I added 5 smaller buttons rather than 4 big ones because that’s what was available in stash.

One last sewing project finished is the Allspice Apron from Hey June, offered as a free pattern download. I printed out a size M which turned out to be too skimpy on my current rotund shape so I slashed from hem to armhole and added 4″ to the width. I also raised the underarm a little for more coverage and raised the pocket height (maybe a little too far but hey, Team T-Rex Arms here). I had a great time deciding which fabric to use for the million miles of bias tape needed to finish the mobius-like edges, ending up with a bright batik.

Apron Binding
Apron Front
Apron Back

Don’t know whether the straps are going to stay put on my slippery sloping shoulders but only time will tell. The pattern just fit and used up most of a vintage cotton tablecloth that is such a dark navy that I actually thought it was black! This apron is a bit of a challenge to get into but I think it will get used a lot. Next time however I might use the larger side pockets from the York Pinafore since I love them the best.

So I forgot to mention that I rescued Janny the Janome HD5000 machine from the shop in December but all of the above were sewn using my new Brother cs6000i machine. I really love BeeBee! I’m becoming very enamoured of some of the computerised sewing machine’s tricks. I had fun using the walking foot (included!) on the knits and the buttonhole and button feet on the Helga Shirt. It was even fine with sewing the heavier cotton crepe of the apron, though I had some issues with the bartacks I tried to make on the pocket. That was just a bit much for the poor thing and it wouldn’t feed properly on the thick folded top edges. The centre bartack was passable however because that area hadn’t as many layers. I wouldn’t want to sew heavy denim or upholstery on this little guy though.

I have so many machines now that I had trouble keeping track of what needles were in what machine so I made a very quick-and-dirty needle chart out of a piece of closed-cell foam.

Needle Organiser

These are all used needles that still (hopefully) have some life left in them. The 4 button pins correspond to my 4 machines, one colour for each. I put a pin in the chart to show what needle(s) are currently in that machine. It also helps me to remember what size and type the needles these spare ones are since they don’t all have colour-coded markings. I really should make a better version of this organiser but this one works okay for now. I pinned it to the cork board on the wall right behind the sewing machines.

Well. I was going to count up my 2020 makes for the year but this is already getting rather long. So for now here’s saying a very firm good-bye to 2020 and wishing everyone a much better 2021! Stay safe and healthy and keep on keeping on. Hopefully it won’t be so long until I post again. Hopefully…

Kalle Take Two

I wasn’t especially happy with the fit of my first Closet Core Kalle, the cropped version that I showed in the last post. I decided more work was necessary at the shoulders as well as going up one size in the upper chest area front and back for just a wee bit more wiggle room. It was quite an involved process since I was combining several adjustments at the same time: sloped shoulder, forward shoulder and high round back. All this changed the shape of the back yoke quite a lot and also took a large wedge out of the front shoulder seam. I took a little more from the back armhole by nibbling another wedge out of the back bodice at the armhole edge. In order to counteract some of the narrowing that all this caused on the sleeve, I lowered the underarm where it curves from the sleeve into the body of the garment. All this in turn necessitated remeasuring the cuff pieces. I had to add to the back cuff and take a little bit away from the front one. Whew! In the end though, the fit is a whole lot better.

Kalle Dress Version
Kalle Dress Back

This time I decided to make the dress version of the pattern with the pop-over button placket, collar and inverted pleat. I used the narrower band collar piece for the collar stand and shaved 3/8″ off the collar to match because I thought the original collar was a bit too oversized. I also added 2 pockets instead of one because otherwise this dress has no pockets. Should have put inseam pockets in, shouldn’t I? Next time for sure. The fabric is a narrow handwoven, tie-dyed and batiked cotton from deepest stash. Must have been lurking there for at least 25 years! Bright and cheerful enough for you? Even though the patterning is completely funky and there was no matching anything anyhow, the fabric was quite lovely to work with and pressed and sewed like a champ. The buttons were little turquoise plastic ones salvaged off something ages ago and they matched very nicely.

The fit on this second Kalle is very much improved! As well as the shoulder changes, it grades from a size 12 at the neck to a 14 at the bust, 16 at the waist and 18 at the hip. Four sizes is quite a large range, eh? Also this is the dress pattern as drafted for 5’6″ and I’m only 5’3-1/2″ and it’s still quite short, although I suspect some of the extreme hi-lo hem curve has been removed since the pattern photos. Anyhow, all my adjustments worked like a dream even though they had me scratching my head whether or not I did it all correctly. Yay! Now I have another good pattern to add to my collection. I may succumb to a tunic version yet! I wouldn’t mind experimenting with long sleeves as well but don’t think I’ll be buying the expansion pack that Closet Core has available. A simple sleeve, tower placket and cuff shouldn’t be hard to draft myself and save the cost (which comes to over $9 CAD) to put towards something else. I’d still have to adjust the upper edge for my revised sleeve opening and shorten the length as usual for my T-rex arms anyway plus I already have a tower placket pattern so why not DIY?

So then there were about 2 yards left of the fabric so I decided to make another wearable muslin, this time for Thom. I tried out the Wardrobe By Me Tropical Shirt. The only fit adjustment that I made was to straighten out the waist curve because he’s pretty much the same measurement at chest, waist and hip. (Unlike me!) I did debate with Christina from WBM about her pattern sizing for men which I have found rather confusing but haven’t really gotten a satisfactory answer apart from “European sizing is different” and “Euro men are smaller”. Uh-huh. Thom’s 40″ chest which is a size M practically everywhere else is an XL in WBM sizing. The largest size offered, 3XL, is only a 45″ chest which seems a rather limited range to me, at least on the top end, whatever you label it. Anyway the finished measurements were what he expected so that’s what I made. And was just able to squeeze it out of the remnant piece.

Tropical Shirt
Tropical Shirt Back

There was no way to choose where the patterns ended up since there was so little fabric to work with. My friend Melanie says he has owl eyes! Hah. Now you can’t unsee that, can you? Instead of the pocket pattern I used a spare one that I’d cut out for the Kalle and decided that it wasn’t looking right there. It works fine here. There’s only tiny fabric scraps left, which is what you want, right? Thom is quite happy with his new shirt and it’s now dubbed the Aloha Shirt. He says he will wear it while holidaying in Las Livingroom and Puerta Backyarda! There will be more, especially as his collection of short-sleeved summer shirts start to wear out. Some are upwards of 15-20 years old now and the best ones are linen, ramie or a linen/cotton blend. He wears them all the time when it’s warmer, preferring them over t-shirts because not only are shirts cooler, he can keep his glasses in the pocket.

One change I might make to this pattern in future is to add to the 1cm (3/8″) seam allowances at the side-seams and the top of the sleeve so I can sew flat-fell seams instead of having to overlock them. So much nicer inside and more durable for shirts. I used flat-fells on my Kalle which was easy because it started with 5/8″ seam allowances. On the dress the seam finish was even flexible enough to accommodate the curve under the arm where the body morphs into the sleeve but I did have to clip a little into the seam allowances underneath the top of the folded layer before stitching it down to get it to lie flat.

So what’s next? I seem to be on a bit of a sewing roll! I suddenly decided to use my lac-dyed linen/rayon for a longer version of the Peppermint/In The Folds Button-Up Dress. More on this one soon. I’ve made a few changes to it since I made the first version (which does look suspiciously like a copy of the pattern photo). I wear it a lot but it’s short and I hate the facings. I hate ALL facings! They never cooperate and lie flat or stay put. Give me bias binding over facings any day. There will be bias. Okay, I’m done!

Next Project

Take good care, everyone! Wash your hands, stay 6 feet/2 metres apart and wear your damn mask! It’s the least we can do.