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Jun 7, 2012

Border print linen shirt - Day 1



Readers, I tried to come up with a zippier title, I really did, but the best I could do was "South of the Border (Print)" which not only makes no sense, it isn't even very funny. 

My linen shirt -- my first-ever linen garment -- is coming along well.  Just to remind you, I'm making this shirt for Michael from a border print I bought on Tuesday at Fabrics for Less on 39th St., in the Garment District.  Even though I didn't have Michael's Color Me Beautiful color samples with me, I was able to pick out something that I think will flatter him.  If it doesn't, I'll take it, because this is going to be a very lovely shirt!

I ironed and started cutting out my fabric early this morning and it took a very long time.  I've never worked with a border print before.  It's challenging.  For one thing, I had to make sure the length of the shirt was right, since I can't just cut off an inch without trimming into the border.  For another, I needed to avoid the print repeating in an obvious way on either of the two front pieces. 





It took a lot of careful cutting, taking into account the folded-back facings.  Nothing repeats, and I managed to incorporate both a long stem and a shorter one.



I applied weft-weight fusible interfacing to the facings, which fold under.  The left front piece is slightly different from the right, and the left front placket (where the buttonholes will go) is formed by creating a tuck down the front, if that makes sense.  These are not separate facings that get sewn on later, which one often finds on men's shirts patterns. 



Oh, before I forget: my old iron finally died.  I was ironing my linen and walked away for a minute and I was like, What's that burning electric smell? and then I saw my iron was smoking!  I quickly unplugged it and put it on the balcony.  Fortunately, I had my new one standing by, ready to go.

I am finding linen a little shifty, but very forgiving to work with.  This is fabric you'll definitely want to stay stitch, particularly around the neck, since it's rather stretchy and loosely woven.  Before I got started, I read about linen in my copy of Claire Schaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide.  I highly recommend this book.



As this is a border print, I had to cut my main pieces perpendicular to the selvage rather than parallel.  I stretched the fabric both ways and I wasn't aware of any difference in stretch, so I don't think it made much difference.  Since the border runs parallel to the selvage, there's no other way to cut the fabric if you want your border to run along the bottom of the garment.

I used flat-felled seams on the armholes....



...and French seams for the sleeves and torso (I'll show you those tomorrow.).  You really need enclosed seams with linen, as it tends to fray.  Another option would have been to create faux flat-felled seams (serging the seam allowances and stitching them down 1/4 inch from the original seam line).

Michael tried the shirt on along the way, just to make sure everything was OK, and so far, it is.



Next up is the collar and collar stand, then the sleeve and bottom hems, and finally the buttons and buttonholes.  I think we'll be skipping pockets on this shirt -- it's busy enough.



Friends, that's all for now.  Tune in tomorrow for more shirt-making excitement!

Ever sew a garment using a border print?  How did it turn out?

Have a great day, everybody!

33 comments:

  1. Soo cute! I love the print. Great job :)

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  2. I once made a dress for one of my sisters with a border print. As I recall, it was a pretty simple dress, but with a full skirt and I was happy the border was scalloped so I didn't have to hem it.

    Loving the shirt so far. I wouldn't blame you if you decided to keep it when it's done.

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    1. Don't give him any ideas! I'm keeping this shirt.

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  3. The shirt brings out the blue in Michael'd eyes!

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  4. Oooh, scrummy fabric and the borderiness is subtle but gives it character, and even CMB would have to approve of the colours on Michael :) Love border prints to bits, it's jsut frustrating that you have to cut things on the straight with them.I suit gored dresses and skirts better. Ah well! :)

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  5. You did a fantastic job of matching the print at the front opening. When I learned to sew, my mom was nuts about doing that properly. Love the shirt!

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  6. This will be a lovely shirt. I love linen because it gets softer and softer as it ages. I've made many border print items and the trick to success is keeping the garment simple so the fabric can star

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  7. Enjoyed that. Am only a beginner nice to read about the detail and the fabric, look forward to reading the next section.

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  8. Blue eyed boys are so handsome, and this really plays up the blue eyes!

    Cecilia

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  9. Love the shirt, but I think I would add a pocket on the left chest - seems to be a bit of a blank spot there. Maybe a judiciously placed fussy cut flower on the pocket? My grandmother made me a maternity dress out of border fabric YEARS ago. One of my favorite dresses.

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  10. Looks great :) I made a formal dress with a floral border print; it went from light to dark towards the bottom, almost like an ombre. I cut out the pieces so that the top of the dress started dark, faded to light, then went back to dark on the bottom half of the skirt (I hope that description makes sense!) Anyway, the only thing I would have done differently would be to buy slightly more yardage before starting; I had to cut REALLY carefully. Border prints are fun to work with, though!

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  11. Love the print! The shirt is absolutely gorgeous and looks fantastic!

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  12. This shirt looks great already. I really like the print and I think it suits Michael very well. I have a love/hate relationship with border prints. I see so many lovely ones but my creativity must be limited because I never quite know how to use them. I have an incredible border print silk I bought in Malaysia that I really want to make into a summer dress. Border prints in knits are a nightmare because the border runs the wrong way to use it as a hem. Don't get me started on panel prints ...

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  13. My daughter once brought me a real hand-dyed border-print batik from Indonesia, royal blue paisley with gold, black, red. I kept it for years wondering what to do with it and finally made a blouse from a vintage pattern (vintage from my own youth, that is, that I had made in the '70's) with a roll collar, little flying cap sleeves, a Japanese-influenced wrap-yoke at the top front that ties closed with a little fabric tie, and contrasting pockets. I used every scrap of that fabric to get all the pieces, and they all match or contrast perfectly. It's one of my favorite things.

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  14. LOVE it...although, i'm not so sure it's Michael's "colour" despite what his colour charts say and thus you should definitely keep it for you hehe ;P

    Snap on the iron...my LauraStar ironing system needs to go in for a service; it keeps on trying to fill its tank till it overflows :( In the meantime we bought a $30 Sunbeam iron to keep us going till the LS comes back home. The Sunbeam is okay (at best)...but we have to have an iron...i'm halfway through sewing a newborn's daygown and needed one to get it finished haha

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  15. The shirt looks lovely. I'm intrigued that you find it easier to do the body first then add the collar. I like to fuss with the collar and stand with the side seams open. I make up the sleeves with plackets and cuffs first of all, then start the body with the yoke and shoulder seams, then the collar, the side seams and the sleeves. When the collar (my least favourite bit of sewing) is done, it feels like I'm nearly home. Incidentally, when do you do the buttonholes? I've always left them to last, but since they are another fiddly bit,with my last shirt (which had a placket or Chesterfield front) I did them immediately after the front facings while I could still work on a single flat front.

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    1. This is actually the first time I've ever added the collar last -- I usually do it as you describe, but I decided to mix things up a bit. ;)

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  16. Well one thing's for sure.. this is DEFINITELY Michael's color!

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  17. Love it! Great job with placing the pieces with the print.

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  18. Hi Peter!
    I have a quick question, when you do a flat felled seam on a sleeve do you baste the seam down in place before sewing? I find that if I don't I get puckering somewhere along the line. Anyone else had this experience?

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    1. Never! Not that it's a bad idea, I just don't have the patience. I will press and pin if necessary, however.

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  19. Peter,

    Please do some mechanical divulging - which machine(s) is/are you using?

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  20. I made the shirt on my Featherweight (in the table) and the buttonholes on my Singer 201 with Singer buttonholer attachment.

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  21. Wonderful shirt. You can match the fabric to add a pocket; from a distance it wont' show, and my husband likes to use his shirt pockets so you can also just wait and think about it later.

    I've sewn lots of border prints, as Indonesian batiks are my very favorite fabrics. Most of them are made in 2-meter lengths, 42" wide, with a wonderful border along one long edge and a shorter complimentary border along one short side. Very challenging for Western garments but gorgeous. Run the border up center front or back, use it across neck & shoulders, or on the hem of skirt or pants--pay careful attention when cutting. Many beautiful sari fabrics also have borders, and a wide one across the short end of 6 meters! There's a world waiting for you, Peter!

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  22. Well his color wheel is right, that color shirt really does bring out the blue in his eyes...

    You did a great job!

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  23. What pattern is this?

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    Replies
    1. Wayne, it's Butterick 4712, a vintage men's shirt pattern from the Seventies.

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    2. The best men's patterns were from that time into the eighties......I don't know what the heck happened after that! Today you can't even find classic basics at none of the major companies besides Burda and Kwik-Sew. I better get my patterns from Kwik-Sew soon before they get dropped by McCall's! Peter do some arm twisting and tell them to "wake up and smell the coffee"!!

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  24. its very good t shirts i like it so much

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