14 August 2013

tie-up shirt

When I used to dream about being able to draft my own patterns, I fantasised about producing tailored shirts. And as I mentioned in my previous post, I absolutely love crop tops. Crop top + tailored shirt = sleeveless tie up shirt. It was a gentle introduction to drafting/ making a shirt without the fiddle of sleeves and cuffs.


I bought the sheer, floral embroidered fabric on a whim a couple of months ago and had thought about using it for a ball dress by backing it with a nude fabric to make a bodice that would blend into a bias-cut, white, crepe-backed-satin skirt... but that was 1. very complicated without a dress form to drape the skirt on; 2. brilliant white is not a sensible choice where greasy food, alcohol and muddy ground are involved; and 3. in white there's always the risk of looking a bit desperate for a proposal. And anxious singleton is yet to find its sexy angle.


Instead, the fabric has had a more modest outing as contrast front and back yokes on the tie-up shirt. I really like the way it frames the collar and the satisfying contrast it makes with the block of white of the button stand.

I adore self-covered buttons. If I ran the world only self-covered buttons would be permitted.
Because the yokes are sheer, I had to do a lot of handstitiching. Usually I'd be happy to have my bias binding sit a millimetre or two beyond the stitching line on the inside, stitch in the ditch on the front, and catch the binding on the inside. But when the fabric is sheer you don't want to see the clothing equivalent of an underbite. And same goes for the collar. I had to pick up my humble needle and thimble, and face my fears.

The origins of my sewing endeavours were in textiles class at school where our teacher was an ex factory machinist then pattern cutter for an Italian tailoring company and she put a big emphasis on sewing the industrial way: 'Mass production techniques only, girls!' Hand-sewing was for wimps and amateurs. When I contemplate sewing something by hand I see my textiles teacher shaking her head with a face that says, 'Only dinosaurs still sew by hand!' and I am flooded by a sense of inadequacy and shame. Slowly I have been coming to accept the presence of hand sewing as a mark of pedigree in a garment. Making the tie-up shirt I realised hand-sewing is one of the luxuries of making your own clothes. But enough of my guilt-assuaging aside!


Shameless self-aggrandising moment: check out the topstitching on that collar!

I love this shirt so much that I am considering making a non tie-up, proper shirt-length version. I am even prepared to do more handsewing.

Alix x

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