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Jun 30, 2016

Sewing On the Wrong Side: My Reverse-Print Tractor Shirt!



Readers, did you know this was even a thing?

Apparently Aloha shirts -- also known as Hawaiian shirts -- are often made with the printed side (what we sewers call the right side) on the inside.  More muted in appearance, they are often worn for business wear.  (You can read more about reverse-print Aloha shirts here).

I was only familiar with them because Michael, whose family lived in Hawaii for a few years when he was in elementary school, owned a reverse-print Aloha shirt, and he only recently gave it away.  Alas, I never thought to photograph it.

Here's a pic of one I found on Etsy:

Outside

Inside

Now let's get back to tractor prints.  I had found this vibrant tractor-print quilting cotton at Fabrics For Less a few weeks ago for just $1.99 a yard.   I loved the kitschy quality of the print but, if truth be told, I didn't think the colors really suited me -- forget the subject matter.  All that gold, rust, and mossy green were better suited to an autumn, Color Me Beautiful-wise.  (I'm a summer.)





But then I noticed that the wrong side of the fabric looked completely different: it had a vintage-y, faded look with lots of pink and gray, colors that flatter me.  Notice how, in the photo below, the right side of the fabric (on the left) makes me look ruddy, while the wrong side makes me look tan with healthy pink tones.  Could I actually make a shirt with the wrong side out?



That's just what I did!



I was going to make a convertible collar shirt using vintage McCalls 3995, but then at the last minute decided this would look nicer with a standard collar and collar stand.  I used red gingham for the inside collar stand and I think the combo really works well both aesthetically and thematically.



The shirt came together quickly and without a hitch.  And I love it: it's preppy with a twist and right up my alley or, in this case, cow path.

Thank you, Kelli, for the perfect sea-green vintage plastic buttons!

Coincidentally, this shirt looks great with the gray linen shorts I just posted the other day as well as my pale raspberry pants from last summer.



The colors of this shirt actually remind me of one of those faded medieval tapestries.  Do you know what I mean?











Now just between you and me, I happen to know that Queen of the quilting cotton dress, Dolly Clacket, purchased the same tractor-print fabric on her recent visit to NYC.  Let's see which side of the tractor print she uses.

Have you ever sewn with the wrong side out?

Have a great day, everybody!

34 comments:

  1. Wrong side of fabric is ALWAYS an option. Great for when you need a wee bit of contrast, but have no time/money/energy to shop for a coordinate print. Great when you need a subtle print and what you bought is too bold. Great when you have a jacquard/tapestry fabric and the reverse is the color combo you were looking for but couldn't find -- such a surprise to turn the fabric over and see your heart's desire was in your stash all the time! It's sort of like that old Arabian story about traveling the world just to find your treasure was buried in your back yard all along. Or like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz.

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  2. You're a genius! I'm really glad you've thought of this at the right time (before sewing, that is) - it is exponentially nicer this way and suits you much better (to be honest, the right - now wrong - side of the fabric looked atrocious to me). It's just perfect now!

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  3. Even subdued by this sewing turn of events, that is definitely a "conversation print". It looks great, and I bet you will have great fun wearing it.

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  4. i have NEVER heard of this before, or noticed it as a thing. mind thoroughly blown.

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  5. I'm from Hawaii and many companies that sell aloha shirts here feature reverse side print shirts with collar stand and buttons, pleat in back as you have done. Most men wear aloha shirts for daily business wear instead of suits and the muted prints show a bit of flair while being subdued enough. I love what you did with that tractor print -- it's just perfect now!

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  6. How cool ist that!!!??? I've never seen that before. SO glad, I found your blog!!

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  7. Love it. We lived in a California beach community for quite a while and these reverse print shirts are not that uncommon there.

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  8. This is just fantastic! The reverse print and the stand collar really take it up a notch. I adore the soft muted colors on the reverse side and now I know something more about Hawaiian shirts! Excellent!

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  9. I really like the reverse side shirt! That’s the beauty of sewing. You can do whatever you want.

    By the way, I don’t think the "right" side made you look ruddy. I think the camera’s auto settings changed the white balance of the photo. You can see how the green in the upper right background appears slightly different. But if it’s what moved you to use the “wrong” side, it’s a happy accident!

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  10. I use the wrong side on occasion, but have never done so with a printed fabric. Love your shirt!

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  11. I've used the reverse side for piping or accenting something on a shirt or skirt. When we were in Hawaii, we bought a reverse print Hawaiian shirt for my husband, mainly because I thought it was really cool. Him, not so much. I don't know if he has ever worn it, not that he has had much chance.

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  12. In GWTW, Scarlett's print dress is wrong side out to look more worn. It's a great 'poor relation' costume trick as well.

    But of course, on you it's stylin'!

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  13. Yes, I usually check both sides of the fabric to see which I prefer. I've quite a few garments now where I went for the wrong side as the right side....the only thing is to be super careful when following instructions. ...it can get confusing especially if they look similar. To remedy this I put a sticker each piece on the side I am considering the wrong side to prevent mishaps and confusion!

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  14. You never cease to astound me with your brilliance. I find it hard to sew correct sides together throughout a normal sided project.

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  15. I have actually bought fabric for the "wrong" side. The first time it happened, the fabric was on the bolt that way. It was a great price and I didn't realize it was the wrong side I was seeing. But I didn't sew that piece with the "wrong" side out - the right side was even prettier. Nevertheless, in quilts, I have used the wrong side to get the value I wanted from a fabric.

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  16. Wellll....I like that the colors are more muted. And that it's not John Deere (they make nice equipment, but I came from a Farmall/IH family). But you know how we all laugh when we see sewing machines the wrong way in advertisements or on TV??? Now the plow is turning soil the wrong direction, the tractor controls are all the wrong side, etc.

    But you did do your usual nice work on the sewing and it fits you well.

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  17. Love your shirt, the collar and your beautiful smile.

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  18. I just finished making a denim jacket using the wrong side outwards. This denim has a skull motif on the wrong side and I actually bought it specially for that. The right side has a great finish and looks good, but the wrong side is just delightfully quirky.
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BHRFGpXBLWb

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    Replies
    1. Wow!! You turned an ordinary denim jacket into something extraordinary by not only using the reverse side, but sewing with beautiful craftsmanship. Even experienced sewers would think twice about using a white contrast thread against a black denim. Do you have a blog where you show us how it's done?

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  19. While I really like the right side of this fabric, I agree it was a little loud. Perhaps some wear and laundering might have muted it but it appears you found a much more efficient solution!

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  20. Really interesting! I have many things I wear inside out, just because I like them better that way!

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  21. That's so great! I've actually seen that but didn't know it was a "thing"... I like the muted appearance! I'll have to try that out with some lady-wear. And I love the collar stand, such a good touch.

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  22. I did not know this was a "thing"! And I do love your reverse shirt. I have been told though, with quilting, why not use the wrong side . . . we purchase both sides when we buy fabric!

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  23. The shirt turned out well and looks great on you. I have sewn with the wrong side of the fabric before. We pay the same for the back as for the front, so might as well use it the way we want!

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  24. The link to the Aloha shirt page was super interesting. In my last job, I had a 3 month sabbatical in San Diego, and the men would wear their Aloha shirts to formal meetings. The Aloha shirt page explained it!

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  25. What a great shirt, well done! And thank you for sharing that the reverse side of many fabrics hold beautiful interest. I made a mother-of-the-groom ensemble and I used the wrong side of the fabric for the perfect look. Thank you for the great posts we love them!

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  26. I love the red gingham with the tractor print!! Perfect. I have definitely used the right and wrong side of fabric, in the same garment sometimes. Love playing with this idea.

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  27. I didn't know that was a "thing" and it really looks good! I've never made clothing with the fabric reversed, but I have done it for pillows. Some tapestry prints look completely different wrong-side out and sometimes they look better.

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  28. Love your shirt and I agree the gingham is perfect. I once made a princess line dress with the side panel wrong side out and the center panels right side out and it worked out great.

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  29. Have to disagree on the comparison photos, you actually look better with the right side out. I don't agree with many of those color experts who generalize about which colors flatter which people, and give them names based on an arbitrary system. The best predictor of flattering color is skin tone and eye color, and simply trying on the color. There are so many variables affecting which colors look good on which person, only actually wearing the color can determine what looks good.

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  30. I had a couple old-school skate/surf shirts when I was a kid in the late 80s - or maybe I'm just old. Because i thought they were so cool, I've always kept that in mind as a design option

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