Monday, July 27, 2015

Project 46: Japanese Print Aloha Shirt

Remember the post about Doug's splendid aloha shirt that I made with fabric we bought while on Maui? Well, I bought some fabric for myself that day also, and now just three years later I've gotten around to making my shirt!

It's a beautiful medium weight 100% cotton poplin and the manufacturer's website describes the print as: "A metallic gold lined dreamscape of patterned fans, Japanese yew, Iris and crane silhouettes flow diagonally over a solid ground." I loved it instantly.

I used the same pattern as my Old Glory shirt, but corrected a pattern drafting error in the original; the stand collar was about a half an inch too big for the neck.

The pattern matching went pretty well, though I did wind up abandoning a completed set of right and left side fronts because I realized I had matched the pattern at the facing fold line instead of the center front. Luckily, I usually buy more fabric than I need because I make these kinds of mistakes.

There is one chuckle-worthy mistake in the whole garment and the first person to figure it out and leave it in a comment gets a big gold star.

I kind of like the big, retro collar.

Nailed the box pleat.
Can you see the pocket?
Enjoy the view as I stroll away.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Project 45: Old Glory Shirt

We have some friends here in Vancouver, who each independently found Doug and I for help working on their Scottish Gaelic. They are both musicians; Robyn is a professional music teacher and singer and Daibhidh is an ardent practitioner of rap and is becoming a fabulous singer also. We introduced them to each other and a natural alliance emerged. They formed a band called Can Cala and are working on their first recording project as I write this.

Earlier this year, they asked me if I would be interested in opening a gig for them at Skinny Fat Jack's and I accepted enthusiastically. The best date that was available, however, was Saturday, July 4th. What a delicious bit of irony, I thought to myself. Go to Canada to sing Scottish Gaelic songs on U.S. Independence Day. How to make it even better? Transform into Taigh Sheumais Fashions and get sewing!

Box pleat preserves stripe pattern
Initially I thought I would make myself a casual shirt out of some fabric with a US flag design on it, so when I got an e-mail from Pacific Fabrics announcing a sale on patriotic themed fabrics, I headed right in. What I found on the rack, though, inspired a new design. There were two different prints by the same textile artist. One was white stars on a blue field, and the other was red and white stripes. What was really appealing about it to me, though, was that they weren't exact matches to the flag. The red and white stripes were mottled, and the white was really more of a parchment color which also invokes the thought of the founding documents to me. The blue field behind the stars is also mottled and the stars themselves are askew rather than on a grid.

Facing enclosed by yoke shoulder seam
I got out my McCalls M4399 to use as a base and started drafting the pattern pieces. Stand collar, yoke with center box pleat, and short sleeves. Fronts back and yoke out of the stripes, collar, sleeves and pocket out of the stars. Two new tricks in construction; first, when constructing the collar, I left the two ends of the collar stand unfinished until I had fit it to the neck opening to be sure the end of the band would match perfectly. Second, I folded the front facing into place and basted at the neck so that when I attached front pieces to the yoke on the back, the raw edges of the facing were enclosed in the yoke shoulder seam. So much tidier than hand stitching them in place later!

Now I just need to get a Canadian flag lapel pin so I don't get killed on stage tomorrow night.