Saturday, April 25, 2015

Paisley and poplin: Simplicity shirt with a difference

Another week, another shirt. I have resisted adding more dresses to my overflowing wardrobe and made another shirt using Simplicity 2339. This shirt was completed about two weeks ago and I haven't had a chance to post since - although happily I did wear it twice. The fabric is a nice weight of cotton poplin with a touch of lycra. I confess I mostly reach for woven items that have lycra these days, whether pants, shirts or skirts, that lycra makes them so comfortable and reduces the wrinkling to an amazing degree.

Today will be a very lazy day, as I have just returned from a business trip to Philadelphia (2nd time there in 4 months) and brought back with me a very severe cold and sore throat. Anyone else dread the airplane germ?  I am likely to get sick after airplane travel - probably about 20% of the time. Not a tragedy on the return trip but so aggravating on the outbound direction, I have sniffled through a tropical vacay and frequented the various European pharmacies seeking all kinds of over the counter remedies. Anyway - it is raining today (!!! my garden is so happy) so it's a good day to lay on the couch, catch up on my tivo recordings and do some sewing planning and organization. I have been woefully slow with a new Pattern Whisperer post. What should I tackle now that spring is here? Dresses? Perhaps knit tops? I think I will put both in the works.

paisley shirt on form

This fabric might be too much for those of you who shy away from wild prints or colors but it fits into my bright wardrobe. Now that it is complete I see that I need a turquoise denim skirt and have a scrap remaining from another project that is hopefully just enough for Vogue 1247.

At this point I don't have too much to say about this pattern. It is a basic collared shirt that is adaptable to a variety of fabrics. A Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern which means it comes with the various cup sizes although it is not very fitted. Most times I change the hem to a curved shirttail hem, and change up the placket. In fact I have never made it as the pattern comes, with the sewn on button placket. First time in silk charmeuse I made a hidden buttonhole placket and then the other times I have made what I call a "one-piece cut-on placket. Which is a name I made up, not sure if it has an official title, but the shirt front is extended at the center front line to incorporate the fabric that would be in the placket, folded back to make the stitched tuck where the edge of the fabric is enclosed. I keep planning to show how I do this. It involves some measuring and three-dimensional thinking (what else is new in sewing, right?) but the result is a super clean finish with no bulk. Very ready-to-wear which is actually how I had the idea.

enclosed seam on placket

Do you like that crisp collar and stand? I think this is my most Pinterest-ed post from this blog, the method to do the collar and stand.  I use this every time and really like the way it turns out, plus the juncture of the shirt top and the bottom of the collar stand is not bulky as it can be using other methods.
Another change in this shirt is that I rotated the side bust dart into shoulder gathers. In cottons or silk this turns out so well and would be great for a plaid so that you don't have to worry about difficulty in matching on the side seams. Last year I watched the Craftsy class, One Pattern, Many Looks: Blouses and I highly recommend it. The instructor has a very good teaching style, I got a lot of new-to-me tips and if you are interested in pattern drafting but don't want to start from the sloper but instead see how to manipulate existing patterns this is a great class. I did this Craftsy post last summer on the dart manipulation.

collar 1

paisley shirt on me 2

this is probably how I will wear this shirt, with sleeves rolled up.

paisley sleeves rolled_edt

Play spot the difference in this photo above. (Ok I will tell you, the garden lights which are on a timer came on as I was taking pictures, and thus reminded me that clock leap forward means they need to be adjusted)

Sleeve placket

For that reason I like to make the tower placket a bit long, or as least as long as the cuff so that it is easy to roll up. And in this instance I finally shortened the sleeves, which were too long in my last version of this shirt. However I might have taken away too much (two inches) so I had to make a slightly bigger cuff. Note for next time!

Ok and now a final view - what a dork! Why am I standing like that?  and the shirt is buttoned slightly wonky so the bottom is uneven. But it matches my new pants perfectly :) Purchased pants - oh how happy buying pants makes me - no fitting required. But always hemming.

paisley shirt on me_edt

So that's the latest around here. Feast your eyes on all that greenery, my lovely roses are in full bloom, the pink jasmine is wafting a gorgeous scent across the yard and a few tulips are still blooming. I just bought some more drought tolerant plants yesterday so hopefully things will keep looking good through the dry months ahead.

Time to curl up on the couch with my box of kleenex and another cup of coffee. I always think the idea of tea sounds so nice, especially when you are sick, but I confess, to my tastebuds, tea is yuck!
Coffee is my beverage of choice, and in any mode, candy, ice cream, cookies, whatever. Coffee is as essential as water to me.

Up next, finish the New Look dress mentioned a few weeks ago and then I will start in on some of the new patterns I have accumulated. I even bought one yesterday, Vogue 1448 . The pattern suggests silk, voile, matte jersey so a lot of possibilities. I does take 3 or 4 yards which is quite a bit for a sleeveless knee length dress so time to dive into my fabric closet and see what is available.

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

By the way, if you would like to see the other versions of this pattern I have sewn here are the links.

Silk charmeuse
Cotton voile
Plaid flannel
Interlock knit


  1. I, too, use (and love) the "one piece cut on placket" for button up shirts. I discovered it when I deconstructed one of my DH's RTW shirts. Slick!

    I look forward to reading your tutorial on doing it - I tried showing it to my ASG group using a piece of paper, but I just confused everyone. It is easy to do but apparently hard to explain. (I also tried to do a step-by-step written explanation, and that turned out to be even more confusing!)

    And, thanks for the link to the collar/collarband construction tip. I've been struggling with lumpy collarbands on my shirts for DH and DS, so I will definitely give this method a try.

  2. Nice shirt.

    I took a shirt-making class 20 years ago. The teacher and I bonded over our mutual love of sewing and that we both majored in pure math w/ no idea what we would do after college. I had dinner at her house last weekend and her husband was wearing one of the shirts she made for him (as usual).

    She taught us how to alter home sewing patterns to the cut-on placket. She bought the interfacing for the shirt plackets (std widths) in 100 yd rolls and sold it to us in shorter lengths. I still have a little bit left. I obvs need to make shirts more often. ;-)

  3. Oh, I forgot to mention that a typically healthy person has about a 20-25% chance of getting ill after a long airplane flight. The dry air can cause ruptures in your sinus and throat membranes that allow viruses easy entry. The sleep disruption that often accompanies travel also lowers your immunity.

    You can reduce the odds by wearing a surgical mask during the flight and using a saline nose spray every 30 minutes or so.

    The mask and spray keep your membranes moist. The mask also prevents you from touching your face.

    I'm immunosuppressed and used to get sick nearly 100% of the time after flying. With the surgical mask, I can fly with no more danger than going into the office.

    The cheap masks get hot and uncomfortable. Get the 3M Nexcare micropore ear loop ones. A lot of pharmacies stock them or will special order them for you. They are also available at

  4. I love your blog. I appreciate the construction details. Beautiful shirt!

  5. Gorgeous shirt and so well fitted! The fabric is perfect for a Spring to Summer transition and the colors would work with so many other shades and hues. Love your explanations and close-up photos too. The garden looks so happy. sorry to hear you brought home some bugs...if you can get some sittin' in the sunshine time that will help too. Thanks for posting even when you are not at your best, Beth!

  6. I hope you get better very soon! Take a good rest, Beth! Your shirt is very pretty and I love it as always. I too love the hidden placket edge, and I try to plan it especially when I make shirts for others. Great post!

  7. Stunning blouse and as always you look marvelous. Hope you feel better soon.

  8. Great top! It fits so beautifully and the color is so pretty on you.

    I flew back from FL with an ear infection. Not fun. I am not a fan of flying for many reasons, germs being one of them. But you go and get it over with. Hope you feel better soon.

  9. Great shirt Beth. I must read your collar construction post properly! Hope you get over your cold soon.

  10. Very pretty. And I sympathize on the travel liability of colds and miscellaneous maladies. I travelled for business for 30 years and had to find pharmacies or clinics in all my destinations! And airports - a lot of them have very decent pharmacies in foreign destinations. Not like our U.S. airport bookstore/aspirin/ear plug shops! Your garden looks gorgeous as always. Like you, I welcome rain. Be well, and hope you enjoy that day of downtime.

  11. Great blouse -- the print and colors are wonderful. Hope you get well soon.

  12. I love the collar stand! I did my first shirt with a very crisp collar stand and I wasn't sure I liked it -- but it wears extremely well -- and I love your pattern. Great job! I did my from the Craftsy class too with lots of help from books!

  13. "... a very severe cold and sore throat." Greetings from Pleasant Hill, where i am just crawling out of a month-long bug. Bugs on top of allergies, everyone around here is miserable! Take care a feel better quick!

    Gorgeous blouse, simply phenomenal on you! Brilliant as you could wear it anytime you'd reach for a chambray blouse, but so much more flattering and stylish. Enjoy looking so chic!

  14. That is beautiful! Great fabric and technique.

    Yes, the scariest part of air travel for me is the germs. I hope it passes soon.

  15. This is a beautiful blouse! Beautiful color and print. I keep saying that it's time to really learn how to make a shirt. I haven't made one in years, but I keep buying fabric to make shirts! Maybe this year.

  16. Very pretty! Paisley is my favourite pattern :)