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Jul 25, 2017

Sewing with Linen and Liberty of London


Long-time readers of this blog will know that I'm a big fan of combining contrasting fabrics in my shirt projects, especially coordinating prints (or stripes with prints).


Sometimes it's easy to find two print fabrics that work well together and sometimes it isn't.  I looked high and low for a summery print that would work well with this red and white striped linen.  I decided to use a Liberty of London floral fabric scrap I had in my stash.  If you look closely you'll notice that the reds don't match perfectly, but from a distance they work well together.


To make my shirt, I used a pattern that was new to me, Vogue 9617, a fitted shirt pattern from the 1970s.  I don't remember exactly, but I suspect I picked it up on eBay in a pattern lot I purchased.



I like my summer shirts a little loose.  I also like a slightly longer sleeve.  Today most short sleeve shirts end at mid bicep; I prefer mine to end just above the elbow. 


While there wasn't anything remarkable about the pattern or the process, here are two shirtmaking tips I think I've shared before but I'll share again:

1) When I use a pattern that is new to me, I always start by trimming the seam allowances of the  collar, collar stand, and neckline pieces (fronts and back yoke) in half: from 5/8" to approximately 1/4" or 1/3".  This makes sewing these pieces together and attaching the collar to the neckline so much easier.  (It's a tip I learned from an old Margaret Islander video.)  You'll also save a bit of fabric.


2) After you've sewn your collar seams together, make sure you press them open with a point presser/clapper.  Your collar edges should look clean and sharp.  Naturally, when you turn, press, and topstitch your collar, you want to make sure that there's 1/16" of the top collar showing on the underside.  You never want to see the undercollar showing from the top.  Same deal for pocket flaps (see top photo).



I wasn't going to add pockets to this shirt at all, but in the end I decided to add two, plus pocket flaps.   It's harder to make two pockets because they not only have to look good alone, they also have to match each other perfectly (and be sewn on symmetrically). 




I love this cool, linen-and-Liberty shirt, but I think Michael's going to get the most wear out of it.  It fits him better than it does me.  His shoulders are broader and he's a few inches taller, pus he already owns the matching shorts!


You can see a few more photos of the shirt over at the Mood Sewing Network here.

In closing, do you have any secrets to share when it comes to pattern mixing or do you just follow your intuition like I do?

Have a great day, everybody!

Pretty, intersecting flat-felled seams.

35 comments:

  1. Such perfect sewing. Beautiful. Love the fabrics too.
    Vancouver Barbara

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  2. Your sewing is beautiful and I love the print with the stripe. How do you finish off your seams on the inside?

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  3. Pattern-matching is entirely up to the taste of the maker, but I follow a few guidelines. 1. Patterns that are similar in scale work well together. 2. As long as two fabrics share at least one color (or "close enough" color) they can be matched. Even if one of your fabrics only shares one color with one other of multiple fabrics you are mixing, you can use it. (Think of how quilt-makers choose their fabrics.) 3. Contrast in values makes a more interesting mix. 4. It's easiest if you use fabrics of the same drape and weight, and same fiber content helps a lot. 5. I try to use a fabric on at least two places on a garment, where it shows, so that your design choice looks intentional. Even if I'm using a fabric to eke out a garment when I ran out of my first choice, I'll repeat somewhere -- sleeve band, collar stand, pocket flap, button band, or an applique somewhere on the garment. Have even done tiny Suffolk puffs to cover plastic buttons so they repeat the fabric on a garment. You can sew right through the fabric by feeling out the buttonholes with your needle.

    Other than that, you can limit yourself to only florals, or only stripes, or only novelty prints. It's fun to take a theme -- say, frogs or insects -- and look for prints that address that theme in different scales and colors. Use a garment design that has lots of places to vary the pattern mix, and use up all your scraps that fit the theme.

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  4. I think the shirt looks fabulous on you!! follow your eye when it comes to mixing, I think these patterns go together very well. I am binge sewing blouses and, yes, the pockets are the big problem.

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  5. That shirt looks really good on both of you.

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  6. Love the shirt. Looks great on both of you men. Another winnah!

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  7. What are Suffolk puffs? Pretty and cheerful Summer shirt!

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    Replies
    1. Also known as yo-yos. Circle of fabric, turn under the edges and stitch around to gather it tightly, so that it forms a little pouch. Press to flatten it. You can insert a button into the pouch before completely tightening the gathers, then pull the pouch closed. Old way to make self-fabric buttons.

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  8. Beautiful sewing Peter!
    As for mixing fabrics, I'd say you need a colour that is the same or very similar to look intentional, but at the end of the day its what makes you happy!

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  9. I am not big on mixing patterns for myself, but when I have I like mixing a floral and stripe as you've done. I love the hidden change of pattern the way you've done it here.

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  10. Such beautiful workmanship, Peter. Don't do much print mixing, but wing it when I do.
    Completely unrelated - just came across this video you and your readership might enjoy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXPGjefotjQ
    Spud

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  11. Your workmanship is such a joy to behold, Peter! I just used some splashy flowered scraps for the undersides of jacket pocket flaps, which made me ridiculously happy. When I saw your contrast flap facing for your shirt I immediately smiled. Lovely, lovely.

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  12. Your shirt tailoring is perfect. I'm envious of the flawless junction of the stand at the placket. I can never get that perfectly smooth transition. How do you do it? Secret please?!!

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  13. Gorgeous work, as usual!

    I'm really timid when it comes to pattern matching. I'm trying to improve.

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  14. Love your perfectionism. This shirt is a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. I am not as courageous as some about mixing fabrics but I like the following: 1. A print with collar, cuffs, or such in a solid that occurs in the print, 2. Same print in two different colorways, 3. Same stripe or check at different scales, 4. Two or even three made-to-go-together quilting fabrics.

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  16. Peter can you show us how you do the "turn of the cloth" when sewing your collars and flaps....or direct us to a video? It makes such a difference in the appearance of your garments.

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    Replies
    1. Will he indulge and divulge, or continue to make his vault bulge??

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    2. I'm certain that he is one who loves to share!

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    3. There's some useful info here and in the posts just before and after:

      http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.com/2014/02/fit-class-5-challenge-of-unlearning-old.html

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  17. Theses are my pattern preps when using a purchased home pattern. Trace off the pattern piece with either a tracing wheel with pattern on top of paper, or pencil trace with paper on top of pattern. I use alpha-numeric marker paper for my pattern paper. Once the tracing is completed, I add either 1/2" or 1/4" seam allowances, measurements that are easy to sew at the sewing machine . I use those SAs for my own work, but sewing contractors use 3/8" for most seams. Marker paper is a superior paper to use for pattern making; it is translucent and therefore is easy to trace with, good tear strength, so it doesn't easily rip like tissue paper, good fold strength so you can easily fold and refold and you can store it in an envelope, you can make erasures without tearing it up, you can iron it flat, it can be easily taped, and the light blue letters and numbers give you grainlines and a 1" grid (there may be more). The paper can be purchased from any number of commercial sewing supply companies in several widths and lengths. I just buy the widest width (about 60"), since I'm fortunate to have a 64" wide table. Hope these ideas can help your sewing!

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  18. Is there a brand that you would recommend? Thank you.

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  19. Since I found this blog when I was researching something about older sewing machines: the stitching is beautiful. Maybe you could post which one of your machines you are using for your projects.
    Your blog is one of the very few I read, I find it inspiring and uplifting.
    Thank you.

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  20. Nice! We make all our shirts with a contrast and Kat and I love finding contrasts and sharing our ideas. I think success is often found in two prints with different intensities and saturations but with the same background base - so white with white or cream with cream etc. And we like a bit of tension - not too matchy matchy!

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  21. I love your shirt Peter. You reminded me of a tip I read somewhere but I haven't tried yet. Perfectly matched pockets can be made by first basting them together quite precisely along the fold line (RS tog) then pressing the SAs back on ea side(as ready to topstitch to garment), then pull apart and apply to garment. Hope it helps someone!

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  22. Impressive skills Peter! Love the symmetry on detail of those pockets.

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  23. Peter what brand of sewing needles do you prefer? I just made a recent discovery about the poor quality of Singer needles that they sell at Joann's and Walmart. I have a Singer rocketeer (model 500a) and was having a hard time with skipped stitches. I tried everything to get it to sew a consistent line of stitching, but no luck. I then changed the needle from the Joann's brand to one I bought from Sew Classic and voila! My machine is sewing wonderfully!! I was on the verge of having the machine serviced before my discovery. Maybe those cheap needles work in the cheap plastic machines of today, but for vintage models they're nothing but trouble! The same goes for the Singer 66 bobbins, they don't work in many vintage models because of the protruding ring in the center.

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    Replies
    1. I have always used Organ brand needles. No complaints!

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    2. Schmetz needles are good also. Singer licenses its name to junk makers.

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    3. Its such a shame to see the greatest name in sewing machine history go down the drain!

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