Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Shirt placket experiment - the wearable test version

For someone who doesn't really wear button up shirts all that regularly I seem to sew a lot of them! Actually sewing shirts is very rewarding. Maybe it is all that precision, and the fact that a shirt is a lot of components so it lends itself to sewing when time permits. Collar and stand in one session, sewing the sleeves and cuffs at another time when I have a spare minute, and before you know it is all done.

So I got the idea to try and make the popover version which seems everywhere now. (I have seen in ready-to-wear a lot lately) Do you get the Land's End catalog? I wouldn't say they are on the cutting edge of style but they do have some nice basics and since I don't sew everything I order once in a while from them. So I saw the popover shirt in their catalog. I have strangely good luck with some of their shoes, and I know a lot of people who swear by their swimsuits. I think I have one two-piece swimsuit but since I can't stand a one-piece swimsuit their selection is lacking for me.

Anyway -  the popover is just like a button front shirt except the button band does not continue all the way down so the shirt has to go over your head. No particular need, I just thought it was kind of cute. And after my success with the hidden buttonhole placket this one was next on my to-do list.

Plus I will be doing a how-to post which will be on the Craftsy blog, so I will link when that posts over there.

aquatop front view

This is the weirdest fabric ever! Or maybe not.... I got it at a Bay Area Sewists group meet up where we swapped fabric. Not sure why I took it, it was about 1.3 yards and it has a significant stretch although it is not a knit. And that print - kind of mesmerizing.  (wait a few weeks - I am working on another item with an even weirder print).  And also the fabric is very lightweight, almost floaty. On the negative side it has a strange feel, maybe because of all the lycra content? But perfect for a test version of a top. I wanted to do a contrast placket - mostly so I could see what I was doing while working out the measurements but also thought it would look good. So I rummaged in my fabric stash and scraps and almost gave up until I found this scrap of quilting cotton which I had used a while ago for some other post. Bingo! on the color match.

The pattern is the same one I have used for all my button front shirts, Simplicity 2339 with various modifications. The bust darts are rotated to shoulder gathers which I really like.

aquatop3 closeup

Next version I will shorten the placket about 6-7 inches. It is not necessary to have it be as long as I made it - I was just playing around with the concept on this one.

aquatop back view

Back view - no changes to the shirt pattern here.
Although for a sleeveless version I moved the top of the armhole in considerably. Something I do after I sew it up, so I can see how it looks on me and get the edge right where I want it on my shoulder. So I try it on, mark with pins where I want the edge to be on either side, then measure and take the average. Note my thread trace, I am a big thread marker - it is just so much easier than putting in a pin which will probably fall out before I get to that part. So I just run a little thread at the spot and then I can put the project down and come back to it without any problems. The thread is marking the final edge, so I removed some portion but left enough of a seam allowance. And tapered to nothing at about 4 inches down.

aquatop shoulder width change

Placket inside - I am really happy with how it turned out and perhaps I will use this on a tunic top as well. The most difficult part of this redesign is finding the center front of the shirt front when there is a sewn on button band - but completely do-able.

aquatop inside placket

For the inside yoke I use some white cotton batiste as I thought the pattern might show through. The armholes have bias binding, which I rarely do but it seems just right on this type of shirt. And some side slits at the hem.

aquatop side view

So that's the latest on my wearable muslin popover top. Originally I took this early morning photo but it was too bright so you can't really see the top - but as the I was standing there I was being buzzed by hummingbirds. Photobombed by a hummingbird :) One evening the sprinklers were on around dusk (back when we watered with abandon!) and I watched a hummingbird fly in place for what seemed like 5 minutes, bobbing up and down in the air above the falling water, taking a shower. They are so fascinating. I keep trying to find a nest but I think they are well hidden.

aqua top with bird

Up next - I am still working in bits and pieces on an outfit for my friend Heather using her Mood fabric boucle - mixed with some wool double knit for a hopefully versatile business and more outfit. Plus I have been given a ton of fabrics by friends who just don't want them in their house anymore - yes please to fabric (after all that was the inspiration for my tri-color coat)

And making a summer shift dress to use as an example dress this weekend when I teach a class at Sips N Sews sewing studio in San Francisco. If you are interested you can still sign up.

Happy Sewing, Beth

Today's garden photo is this blue iris, I kind of forgot that I even planted these bulbs and had blooms from maybe half of the bag - both yellow and blue. What a color!

April flowers


  1. That's a beautiful shirt. That will be next on my sewing list.

  2. I'm looking forward to your post on the placket - managing the bottom tab part is something that always makes me a little nuts.
    Beautiful iris too!

  3. Lovely summery top and seeing I don't like buttoned shirts this part placket might just work for me. Looking forward to your post as like Jen L getting that bottom part right can be very frustrating.

  4. Very cute. The fabric is lovely, no doubt due to having the contrast fabric. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Great fabric and contrast! I look forward to seeing your how-to for the placket. I'd love to learn how to make mine as nice as yours.

  6. Cute top - I think you max'ed out the print, can't imagine it being used any other way :-) I'm with you on thread tracing and fitting shoulders after construction. And I like that you suggest these things, sensible techniques that are tried and true and good for everyone.

  7. Your placket looks perfect. Those are SO HARD for me to get to work that I actively avoid buying patterns that have them. I bought a few Lands End bathing suits to try on about a month ago and they were an awful fit so I guess I just don't have the right body type for them. I do love their tote bags, though.

  8. Just perfect! Looks so cool & summery. Thank you for your tips & top notch sewing!

  9. Just perfect! Looks so cool & summery. Thank you for your tips & top notch sewing!

  10. Popover tops are my favorite. I like the contrast. I think I'll have to try that sometime.

  11. What a wonderful shirt! Sort of a cross between a tunic and a shirt.

  12. I absolutely love this shirt! The pattern is very mesmerizing, and the contrasting fabric is perfect. I love hummingbirds, too. Ours were gone for the winter, and then I forgot to fill the feeder for a while. One day we were outside and saw a bug that looked like a tiny hummingbird...that reminded me to fill the feeder, and since then we've had at least 3 regular visitors, plus that "bug" that I see shadowing one of the hummingbirds...pretty sure it's a baby! So exciting!! I was happy that my granddaughters were visiting and able to join in the excitement of watching them through the living room window!