Liberty print blouse

Liberty Blouse_5New year, new hair, new shirt. This sleeveless blouse is my first make in 2016, and the first thing that I can tick off my 2016 sewing list.

This project started with a fabric I had sitting in my stash for a while. I bought this Liberty lawn back in November at Shaukat in London, a place I’ve been wanting to visit after reading about it on Katie’s blog. As expected the shop was overwhelming and it took me about an hour to settle on a fabric. While I love the quality of Liberty fabric I am not very drawn to cute florals so I was looking for something more abstract. In the end I chose these two pieces. I was drawn to this Liberty lawn because of its colours and the geometric pattern. I knew I wanted to make a top and first thought of keeping the shape simple to let the fabric stand in the focus. But for some reason I couldn’t really picture it and I let the fabric sit in my stash untouched. Then one day I had an epiphany and knew I wanted to pair the fabric with a structured, sleeveless blouse. Isn’t it weird how ideas sometimes come out of the blue?

Now that I was settled on what I wanted to sew I was looking for a good pattern. In the end instead of buying one I decided to give myself a challenge and copy a shirt from my closet. While I love how indie patterns guide you through each step of constructing a garment, it’s sometimes nice to figure out on your own how to put a garment together. I traced the pieces off the shirt with some tissue paper. This process can be quite tricky off an intact garment but I took my time and it worked out allright. As I liked the fit and the style of the original shirt the only change I made to the pattern was to draft a less pointy collar. The construction was pretty straight forward, it helped that I recently had made a shirt, and for the collar construction I used the instructions of another blouse. I serged the seams instead of doing French seams, for one because I need to practice with my new overlock and second to be able to construct the split hem. The button band on the one side is just folded over, on the other side a separate button band is attached. This is a feature of the original shirt and I quite like it. The only thing that went slightly wrong was the angle at which the collar stand is attached to the button band. It should be at a right angle but it obviously isn’t. I’m not quite sure what happened there, but I’ll just call it a design feature. It does get lost in the busy print anyways. The armholes are finished with a white satin bias tape, which was quick and simple but looks nice.

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Liberty Blouse_4Liberty Blouse_6Liberty Blouse_7Liberty Blouse_8Liberty Blouse_10Liberty Blouse_11The finished shirt looks pretty much how I envisioned it. I especially love the crisp collar. I am a little bit unsure if I really like the look of sleeveless shirts on me. My boyfriend tells me I look like a cleaning lady or a wrestler and I have to admit there is some truth to it.  In the end it’s not a big issue though as I am planning to wear it to work layered under a blazer or a jumper. In a future version I might play with the shape of the armholes a little bit to give it a more modern look. The overall fit is actually pretty good. There are some issues with wrinkles at the shoulder seams and I might lower the armholes slightly in the future but these are just minor issues. The bust darts and fisheye darts in the back give it a slightly fitted shape. Thanks to the split hem there is enough room around the hips, which is great. I love the look of a split hem, so I might add this detail to more tops in the future.

Overall this project was a great start into the sewing year 2016. My next project will probably be something made from the Japanese fabric that arrived today. It was my first time ordering from Miss Matatabi and I am in love with the pieces. Beautiful fabric is alway the best inspiration!

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Negroni Birthday Shirt


My brother turned 30 this year. For this big occasion I decided to sew him something. And what could be more classic than a shirt?

As always with these ideas I decided on it just before his birthday and there was no time to sew it beforehand, also I first had to take the measurements and decide the design with him. So a voucher it was, given to him in April. It took another 8 months to finish it. First we had to decide on the pattern. I suggested the Colette Patterns Negroni shirt, as it was the only indie pattern for a men’s shirt that I was aware of. As I couldn’t see my brother for his birthday we took the measurements when he visited me in the UK a couple of months later. Then I had to find a fabric. Originally I wanted to make it from plaid fabric but I couldn’t find a fabric that I liked so in the end I opted for a simple light blue chambray. Since my brother lives in Germany I had to wait for my visit in August to show him the fabric in person. He approved it and finally I could start sewing. In theory… In reality life was incredibly busy last autumn, and I only managed to fit in an hour here and there. To make sure it would get done I had to set myself a deadline for Christmas and I just about managed to finish it. The last stitches were done on the way home for Christmas.

My brother is tall and slim and I expected to have to make some adjustments to the pattern. Surprisingly his measurements fell straight into size S. When I checked his arm measurements against the flat pattern I realised that I didn’t even have to lengthen the sleeves. After reading some pattern reviews it became clear that the sleeves are more on the long side, which was ideal for my brother. Design-wise I only omitted the pocket flaps to give it a cleaner look.

When I finished it up the shirt looked very slim and I was afraid that it would be too small. With the flat felled seams I also didn’t have the possibility to let it out to make it bigger. It was therefore quite nerve-wracking when he put it on on Christmas Eve. Luckily it actually fits really nicely on the body and the sleeves are just long enough.

The construction was quite straight forward. The instructions are very thorough and clear and I didn’t have to unpick even once. The only thing that I didn’t understand was how the button loop at the collar could work when facing upwards so in the end I decided to move it to the side. The vintage collar looks a little bit strange when closed but my brother will wear the collar open anyways, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I struggled to find nice buttons for the shirt, in the end I settled on clear plastic ones as they looked most neutral. Their size together with the wide spacing from the pattern, however, make the shirt look a little bit like pyjamas (my sister’s words). I might change them if I can find nicer ones. Overall I think the shirt turned out nicely.



As a fun little present for Christmas this year I made bow ties from novelty print fabric for the men in my family. My brother’s bow tie has little bicycles on it and it goes really well with the shirt. However, I doubt the bow tie will get a lot of wear in real life…



I really enjoyed learning new techniques such as the “burrito” method for attaching the yoke to the shirt or flat felled seams (which are not as difficult as expected). It definitely helped to break up the project into little chunks to be able to focus on one detail at a time. One thing I am particularly happy with is my first sleeve placket ever.


As the fabric is rather boring I new that I wanted to personalise the shirt a little bit. I decided to embroider my brother’s initials on the inside of the cuffs and added a little message to the inner back yoke. It was my first time to do embroidered lettering and I had to try a couple of different techniques to find one that worked well. I finally settled on a chain stitch which might not look 100% professional but at least the embroidery is readable. As I didn’t know if I would have time to actually do the embroidery I added it last minute to the finished shirt which made it quite fiddly. It also didn’t help that I didn’t have embroidery thread and had to use 6 strings of normal sewing thread. On top of that I finished it off on the bus and at the airport, which is definitely not the best place for crafting. In the end it turned out allright and I love that it is on the inside of the shirt, a secret message for the wearer.


All in all this was a really nice project. The collar without a collar stand and the simple botton band make the Negroni a great pattern to try out shirt making. I’m sure I will make more men’s shirts in the future. Next I would like to try a more classic shirt pattern. I already ordered this Burda pattern and might make my boyfriend a shirt for work. First I will have to hunt for some nice fabric though… Happy sewing!