This weeks Crafty Bloggers Club post is from Dani, you can find more of her makes on Instagram @pocketortwo and on her blog pocketortwo.blogspot.com
When I was asked to choose the fabric for my next blog post I couldn’t resist the Lady McElroy cobra corsage viscose. I had seen the design before and love the fact that it’s a floral with a twist – firstly, it’s on a black base, which gives a nod to 17th and 18th century dark still life paintings and, secondly, when you look more closely the print includes snakes, beetles and moths amongst the flowers. Those of you who follow my sewing will know that I am not usually attracted to ‘floral’ fabrics but this is a great way for me to include flowers without it being too much. Once I had spotted the fabric I decided that I wanted to make a shirt as I make a lot of shirts (they are one of my favourite things to sew) and realised that I hadn’t yet shared one on the Crafty Blog.
I chose to sew the I Am Patterns Lucienne shirt. I made a version in a double-gauze for summer that I wasn’t entirely happy with (and I’m still not sure why!) Rather than give up on the pattern, I thought that a change of fabric type might help (spoiler alert: it did!) The shirt is a simple shirt pattern: there are no cuffs, no extra placket pieces and no collar stand. The collar is a really straightforward sew and great for someone new to shirt sewing. The pattern itself is an oversized shirt with rolled-up sleeves (although I have later discovered that there is now a free add-on for sleeves with cuffs).
The viscose has a small amount of stretch in it which gives it the most incredibly, bouncy drape. I found that, for an oversized shirt pattern, this is great as it gives the fabric some weight which means that it hangs just right. It’s hard to explain, but I am hoping the photos will help to illustrate this point. Despite being a more ‘slinky’ fabric, I didn't have a problem cutting the pattern out. I used my pattern weights and rotary cutter, as usual. In terms of sewing the fabric, I used a 70 needle and a shorter stitch (around 2.4), and pins that are made for lightweight fabrics.
Although I cut the same size as before (as the pattern pieces were already cut out), I made a couple of adjustments. The first thing that I did was sew the side splits up. I will confess that I did this by accident but, when I realised, I decided that I liked how it looked so kept them sewn up. The second thing that I did was, rather than leave the sleeve longer to turn up, I folded back the sleeve to my wrist, pinned and sewed it up. I did this because the wrong side of this fabric is white, so I wanted the rolled up sleeves to be the same as the right side of the fabric.
When I sew buttonholes I always use my Simflex gauge (which I bought from Crafty Sew and Sew a few years ago) to measure the distance between them and ‘fray stop’ on the buttonholes before I cut them. After slicing through a collar buttonhole when making a shirt, I always use a buttonhole cutter rather than a seam ripper now to cut the holes. I finished it off with buttons from my stash and a Pink Coat Club ‘Contains Dog Hairs’ label. Which reminds me, I sewed the label into the black bias binding that I used to finish the collar seam where it joins the neck. This is suggested in the pattern but not an essential step. I think that it looks a bit more finished than an exposed overlocked seam. Because I was using a drapey viscose (and also because I took the Lucienne along to the Manchester Sewing Bee meet-up and didn’t want to take my overlocker as well as my machine on the tram!) I decided to French seam the majority of the seams which gives a neat finish to the insides of the garment.
Overall, I’m very happy with this make. I think that it will get lots of wear – it’s great for work and also for an evening out. The fabric choice has really made this Lucienne for me: it hangs beautifully and is a really lovely shirt to wear!
Thanks for reading,
“Crafty Bloggers Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”