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May 23, 2019

Experimenting with Pattern Mixing and Hand-loomed Fabrics

There aren't that many perks to being a longtime sewing blogger, but occasionally I'm given the opportunity to sample special fabrics in exchange for sewing something with them.

I don't always have the time, of course, but when I do and I'm intrigued by the fabric, I say yes.

When Kristine G., of the online fabric store Loom & Stars approached me, I was excited.  Loom & Stars' fabrics are hand-loomed in India from natural fibers.  This supports a more sustainable method of creating fabric and gives employment to weavers and craftspeople.  (You can read more about the origin of their fabrics here. )

Kristine happened to be in New York City last month, so I was able to meet her and see samples of her lovely fabrics in person.

If you visit the site, you'll notice that many of the fabrics for sale coordinate.  I had the idea of combining some of the black and white colorways in one garment.  I'm usually rather conservative when it comes to mixing fabrics as I've found it doesn't always work out.  Black lace and gingham anyone?

I chose two of the woven cottons from the online store and incorporated a third (the black, lower right, second pic below) from my sample bag of swatches. 

Before pre-washing.  I machine-washed my fabrics (no dye bleeding at all) but air dried them only.

I decided to make another pullover "popover" shirt using vintage McCalls 5389, the pattern I used for my most-recent reverse print shirt.  This time I made a few alterations to the pattern, narrowing the shoulder a bit and shortening the sleeve.

For the front of the shirt I chose the black and white random checks fabric.  The outer back yoke and front pocket are made from the black and white disappearing check.  The placket and collar are the black and white opaque stripe.  The stripe is voile weight, so I interfaced the entire placket and both sides of the collar with a lightweight woven fusible.

Rather than simply stitch around the bottom of the center front placket where I would need to snip to the corners (as per the pattern instructions), I interfaced the area with a square of fusible measuring roughly 1" x 1". 

Once the placket/facing pieces are turned, they look like this. A vertical stripe makes it easy to keep things looking clean and symmetrical.

With the collar on, it looks like this.  You can get a peek of the outer back yoke, which is made from the disappearing check.

I used the delicate black and white stripe for the back of the shirt as well.  I hemmed the shirt, front and back, using a method that works great for fine fabrics: I stay stitch at 1/4" from the bottom edge using a very short stitch.  I then turn up the edges on the stitch line and press to the wrong side.  Thanks to the tiny stitches, the edges do not stretch or get wavy when I fold/press them.  Next, from the front, I edge stitch at roughly 1/4".  Then I trim the seam allowance.  The result is sturdy and looks very clean.

I've stitched at 1/4", turned up and pressed at stitch line, stitched at 1/8" from the right side, and trimmed the seam allowance.

From the outside.

I have only a few finishing touches to add (including a breast pocket in the disappearing check) and I'm done!

Stay tuned for the big reveal, coming soon!


  1. For future reference: You CAN do a "burrito yoke" with this sort of shirt.

  2. Great pattern interplay. Your sense of "balance" and style go hand-in-hand, to outstanding effect.

    Eager to see the photo shoot of this. Perhaps it's time for some "Hudson Yarding" (a fairly new verb).

  3. Love the fabrics and the in progress photos and captions. Looking forward to seeing you model the finished shirt!

  4. The fabrics are great (and how fine to meet the retailer in person!) and your work is stellar as ever. The hemming technique and the photos - ah! Love it.

  5. Wish I could sew such an even seam as you do!! I stumbled across your blog this morning and foresee hours of fun reading your archive of blogs!! Great great work!


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