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?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!