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Dec 10, 2012

Color Block Headaches or "A Virtue of Necessity"



Good grief, readers, I had no idea color blocking was going to be so hard.

Yesterday, I finally made my design decision: the two main color "blocks" of my shirt would be cut on the diagonal (front and back).  Little did I know this was going to cause me problems in measuring (never my strong point), exacerbated by the fact that I was working with very limited amounts of fabric.



As you can see above, I was able to cut my fronts so that the diagonal lines meet in the center almost perfectly.  Unfortunately, I forgot to consider that the left side would lap over the right side roughly one inch (I had decided I would not add a front placket to keep things simple -- hah). 

Lapping left over right resulted in this -- ack!



What to do?  I thought about adding a front placket on the left and an "under-placket" extension on the right.  But that would have expanded the neckline considerably -- plus, to make a placket with a diagonal seam would cause its own headaches and I was running out of fabric.

Here's what I came up with: inspired by this vintage 1960 McCall's shirt pattern in my stash, I stitched the center seam closed from the bottom up to the middle -- basically the entire red section.





And lo and behold, I've made a caftan top!



I am still going to add a front center placket (constructed just like a sleeve placket), a collar stand and collar.  I don't think a camp collar (a style that doesn't call for a collar stand) is going to look good with this style shirt.  Please don't ask me why the sleeves are so long; I don't know.  I haven't even added the cuffs yet.

I'll say this for my printed cotton fabric: its design is quite forgiving.  There are a lot of crisscrossing seams (both in front and in back; you'll see the back later) but they've pressed flat quite neatly.



When kind MPB reader Becky showed me this photoshopped test shot she created, I assumed this was going to be a straightforward project.  (Actually, my first thought when I saw this was, "Do I still have to make the shirt?")



Friends, I must get back to work.  I intend to wear this shirt to the Pattern Review anniversary party at Elliott Berman (where I bought my fabric) on Wednesday (6:30 to 8:30 pm).  If not this one, then the solid red one.

Readers, have you every experienced color block headaches?  If so, what did you take for them?

Have a great day, everybody!

26 comments:

  1. How very festive! Nice work-around, Macguyvor!

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  2. Peter, my friend just posted this shirt to Facebook in a mocking way and I instantly thought of all your color-blocking tribulations! http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=204472670&c=10020

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  3. LOL I was going to comment on the previous post and warn you about the perils of diagonals, but I got distracted by something shiny and never got around to it. I guess you know now.

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  4. I LOVE your shirt! However long it took and any problems you had were def worth it!!!

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  5. How about a mandarin collar? No?

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  6. Good save! I find that bourbon is good for color block headaches. It may not fix the ache, but the pain is easier to bear when I think it comes from drinking rather than sewing. ;-)

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  7. with the collar and placket now attached I think its a keeper

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  8. I like! Choosing a diagonal brought the shirt from been-there-done-that to something new. Me thinks that you may have started something. I can see designer runways this next season--diagonal color-block everything.

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  9. Great solution! Very clever workaround indeed.

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  10. Like your caftan solution better than any of the original designs! Yay!

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  11. Geez man did I not tell you to concentrate on that diagonal? Lesigh. Matching patterns across shirt plackets is a 'mare, always. Unfortunately my shirt lovin' friends tend to fall for patterns requiring some sort of lining up to be done.
    I love the fix. Genius bit of lateral thinking!

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  12. I've been trying to make colour blocking work for four straight hours today. My sure fire cure is to lie on the ground and make whiny noises. You seem to be more mature than I when it comes to problem solving, ahaha.

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  13. Looks better then the original idea. Traditional shirts have been around for such a long time that its hard to do something different with them without it looking "wrong". That's how I think about it anyway. Maybe that's why you got such a large response when you first brought up the idea.

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  14. Solution for the next time: "Make the placket first BEFORE cutting out the shirt". This way you can slide up and down to match, then cut the shirt.

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  15. Great shirt! Love it! See you tomorrow!

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  16. Not only is this a fabulous save, you have also bested the best designers at their own game. Count me as a color block believer. Wonderful.

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  17. Surround yourself with solid color fabrics and your headache will disappear!

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  18. I think this shirt would look great with a band collar, you know, the no-collar look. I likie, Peter, and it looks good on you. Another sewing adventure!

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  19. Yes! Wear this shirt to the Pattern Review anniversary party at Elliott Berman.

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  20. love it! You're a genius..in more ways than one.

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  21. Excellent! I think this would look good on me too

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  22. I once made a surcote for a friend with a "gyronny" pattern (like a pinwheel, with FOUR diagonals)It was white on black; I had to underline the white linen with thin white fabric to keep it from looking "grayish", and to prevent "seam allowance show-through". I did it with that temporary spray adhesive; it was a LIFESAVER: I am sure I would have LOST MY MIND otherwise.It actually turned out pretty well; there was only ONE seam that didn't line up, and as it turned out it was covered by his sword belt so it didn't show anyway!>phew<

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