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Aug 7, 2010


Good morning, ear-flapped-awake chihuahua owners and others!

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally returned to sewing after a five-day hiatus, successfully completing my plaid cotton shirt.  In addition to the sleeve slip-up already recorded, there was an ongoing problem with fabric stretching.

This loose-woven, gauze-like cotton, while light and airy and perfect for the torrid summer months they can only dream about in Melbourne, had a tendency to e-x--p---a--n-d dramatically in width, leaving me with more shirt than I had hoped for.

I managed to deal with most of the extra width by taking more in on the sides (where I used French seams; flat felled seams on the armscyes).  I was still left with roughly an extra inch at the neckline.  This shirt should be a 14 1/2" neck but came out as roughly a 15 1/2" -- this despite stay-stitching the neckline, which I do as a matter of course.

I'll probably be washing this shirt by hand and letting it air dry, so I don't know if it will shrink much.  If so, it would be most welcome.

Michael is particularly fond of this shirt despite having a lovely caftan top made from the same fabric.  I do think this is more successful as a traditional button-down shirt, don't you?

As you have probably guessed already, Troy Donahue is staying with us for a few days, so of course we had to get him in the shirt as well.  Obviously, with his movie star looks, he makes the shirt look amazing.  Are the sleeves a tad too long?

I am trying to convince Troy to return to motion pictures, perhaps in a sequel to "A Summer Place."  This until I realized that Sandra Dee has gone to the other side and I don't mean American-International Pictures.  Perhaps Tuesday Weld is available.  Like you, I would most like to see Troy reunited with "Susan Slade" co-star Connie Stevens, but Connie seems to have moved on to skincare with great success.

But back to the shirt.

Here's the back:

Side (with sleeve rolled up 1"):


(Do you see how wide the distance is from collar stand edge to actual collar?  I had to cut an extra-long collar stand to accommodate the wider neck.)


For some reason none of these pictures captures the true color of the background of the shirt, which is a rich pistachio green particularly flattering to Troy.

Friends, I hope this day is everything you've ever wished for in a Saturday -- or at least bearable.   Should we set up a Sew Emergency Hotline?

I wonder if Troy and Cathy would make a successful screen team.

When you lie in bed fantasizing, who do you see playing opposite Cathy in, say, a remake of "Send Me No Flowers"?

Like Doris, Cathy is too much woman for most leading men -- she needs a real hunk. But who's out there?  Tom Selleck?  He's a little long in the tooth, no?  Let's think outside the box on this one.  Any ideas?

Happy Saturday everyone!

Un abraccio a tutti!


  1. How long have you been sewing? This is really a great shirt. Beautifully matched and sewn. Bravo!

  2. I think we should worry about you. Case and point: "when you lie in bed fantasizing, who do you seen playing opposite Cathy in...." Maybe you should take the dogs for a shaved ice and call it a day.

  3. Cherri, in the time it took to write that snark, you could have come up with some actual possibilities.

    Is George Peppard still alive? ;)

  4. Beautiful shirt Peter!

    As for leading men... well, I thought Jason Statham was pretty hunky in The Italian Job.

    In the sewing dept. I'm finally attempting a Chanel style jacket, the muslin is cut out and I'll be sewing it up today. My plan is to splurge on some really nice fabric when I get the fit right. We'll see how long that takes.

  5. It seems to me the only real old-style hunk out there these days is Jon Hamm. We know he can do comedy, so no doubt he could fill in for Rock Hudson quite nicely. ;)

    That's one of my favorite scenes from Send Me No Flowers. "Dolores Yellowstone?"

    The shirt looks great. :)

  6. How is Sean Connery these days? Still alive and kicking? Too old for Cathy or still man enough?

    By the way, if you would have had enough fabric, would you have made a long sleeved button down shirt? Next time, please do. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but short sleeved button down shirts... I don't know. I only see little boys wearing those around here. Long sleeved button down shirts with rolled up sleeves, showing a manly underarm however... oh yeah.. nice! :-D But I must say you work looks great!

  7. Re: The sleeve length, you are the one who has to wear them, so if you think they are too long, cut them off or cuff them or something. I think the length is fine, pretty normal in fact, but my hubby is more into the "cowboy/farm hand" style clothing and so maybe those have longer short sleeves? Maybe others will have more input.

    I have no idea who to put beside you said, she needs a very strong male to offset her, and there seem to be a shortage of manly men. Unless she wants to play a role in some sort of gladiator-type movie, in which I heartily suggest Russel Crowe...give that man more roles with leather armor--PLEASE!!! *drool* ;-)

  8. Ooh! Liam Neeson? Is he too old? God I love that accent, and he looks pretty hot in a kilt...

  9. Peter, love the shirt, and the sleeve length looks fine to me, but how does it FEEL to you? I love that type of gauzy loose weave plaid, but it's growth is a mystery to me. Maybe next time, instead of just stay stitching use a stay tape as well?

    Um, a leading man for Cathy? I'm a bundle of indecision for myself, so not really much help. I do love a guy with an accent though. Hmmm....

    While you're all thinking, I'd love some opinions about some color combinations on my blog.

  10. Ewan McGregor. And the shirt is impeccable.

  11. The shirt looks great!
    Re the neckline mystery - my guess is that the back yoke has stretched as you sewed it to the collar stand, as it is loosely woven and cut on the bias - the front neck curve is also easy to stretch for the same reason. If the pattern pieces fit together, the fabric pieces will fit too, it's just that with loosely woven cloth it may feel like you are trying to ease it in!
    If it is hard to get the notches to align, try a smaller seam allowance (6-10mm) which is easier and more accurate around opposing curves. Stitching with the collar stand on top so the feed dogs 'ease' in the neckline may help too. Hope this helps for next time!

  12. Thanks for your ideas, guys. I'm still not convinced, however.

    Sherry, I think you are exactly right about that yoke. It stretched so much that I was able to cut an extra inch off each side (before attaching the inner and outer yokes to the back). It WAS cut on the bias, and course the fronts of the shirt, which are rounded, must also have stretched. If truth be told I don't usually use notches; I "eyeball" it most of the time.

  13. I like both shirt versions. The sleeves are at the length I like to wear them, but as others said, what are you comfortable with.

    As a leading man for Cathy, I choose Tommy Lee Jones, rugged adventurer and good at comedy.

  14. Have you seen the double tipped back darts the Sartorialist featured recently? Apparently that's how Italian men manage such a svelte slim cut shirt, I'm dying to try it out/watch someone else try it.


    There we are. Great shirt, by the way. You crack me up.

  16. Yes, Steph, I did see that actually. I use those on shirts sometimes -- not hard to do -- but haven't on this one. I generally prefer a little more fullness in the back.

  17. Peter -- Mr. Peppard has been gone for several years. Tuesday Weld is still alive and is someone else that should have had a bigger career.

    I think Cathy would contrast well with Daniel Craig.

    I picked up a 1959 copy of the Bishop book at Value Village today for 99 cents!!

  18. This shirt is really great. You have mastered plaid. Having seen your plaid-shirt handiwork, I'm sure it looks even better in "real life".

    However, will you be offended if I say that I like it on Troy best? But he's such a stud, he could wear a cardboard box and look hot.

  19. Zac Efron!

    Now that would be comedy gold.

  20. I think Zac might make Cathy look a little...cougar-ish. Not that she IS or anything and she has never even had Botox.

  21. Rachel, you're treading on thin ice, as usual.

  22. No botox? She is indeed a natural beauty.

    Your shirt is fantastic. The collar detail and matching of plaid all looks perfect. (Sigh ... I can but dream of the breezy summer days that match this attire ...)

  23. Oh fine. George Clooney then!

    Also, I forgot to say: nice shirt!

  24. The shirt looks great. Beautifully matched plaid.
    I second Jonathan's vote of Daniel Craig to play opposite Cathy.

  25. the shirt looks so great, can you show the yoke so we can admire you even more? sleeve length is perfect

  26. Great shirt, nice matching of the plaid. for really loose weave fabric, sometimes starching the bejesus out of the fabric will help with stability. Test on a scrap to make sure it washes out ok. As for Cathy-mates, well I'm for John Hamm. Or Daniel Craig. Or George.
    BTW Troy is ADORABLE.

  27. Shirt is great. Like the shorter sleeve length - shows off your sexy arms more.
    I offer only 2 names ~ Leo or Brad. They at least approach Cathy in the looks department.


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