All my faces

So, I know I said in my last post that my Jazz jumpsuit was probably one of the most complemented handmade garments in my wardrobe, but I think that this shirt might have outstripped it already! I even had a lady in a shop ask me where I had got it, and then asked me if I made them to order when I said I made it. I’m really not interested in sewing things to sell, but nice to know there might be a market if I ever change my mind…

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This is my second Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt, and it’s taken me over a year to get around to it even though I intended to make another one as soon as I finished my first! I’ve got some lovely Japanese cotton waiting to become another version, but its quite heavy and I thought I might try something a bit lighter and airier for summer. I love this Crowded Faces fabric from Lady McIlroy, and had been seeing it all over instagram, but I had been struggling to find it anywhere. Then Emma said she was putting in an order to La Mercerie, and did I want to split the shipping with her? Obviously I did! I ended up with 1.5 yards, which was plenty to made this shirt, and gave me the wiggle room to be a bit pedantic with how I placed the faces on the shirt. I’m especially pleased with how the print sits on the collar!

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I even got out my tiny stash of embroidery floss to give one of my collar faces some lipstick. I’m so happy with how it turned out! I used a plain white cotton for the inside yoke and the under collar and inner collar stand, because the cotton lawn is fine enough for the print to show through pretty clearly and it looked a bit messy. I also made a couple of changes to the pattern after my last one, including shortening the height of the collar stand. I felt like the whole collar was really big on my first shirt, and thought that decreasing the height of it might help. I think I should also decrease the size of the collar for my next version (that Japanese cotton, finally!), just to keep it a bit more proportional. I’m ok with the size of this collar though, as it means I can get both of those faces on the collar points!

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The biggest change I made was to straighten out the hem. I kept the cropped length, but just ruled a new hemline straight across from the longest point at the centre front, and kept it mostly level across the back as well. It has a bit of a dip in the back hem, and I’m not sure where that came from, but it looks nice! I also decreased the size of the box pleat in the back by half, as I thought it might be a bit too voluminous without the longer back hem and the wide hem facing to keep the volume under control!

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I’m really happy with the length and fullness I achieved with this one, I think it looks good with my high waisted shorts (these are my Landers) and trousers, and doesn’t flash as much skin when I lift my arms up as my first version does. I still love the shaped cuffs that this pattern has, I think they’re so great. I don’t always love the way a simple bias rectangle cuff wings out on a cut on sleeve, and these two piece cuffs follow the line of the shoulder so nicely. Such a nice touch!

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I finished the shirt off with my favourite shiny black shirt buttons from Made Marion Crafts, and added a ‘Hand Made’ tag from Kylie and the Machine to the back collar. I love it when all those little details add up! And I’m really glad I spent a bit more time and attention on this shirt, from cutting it out to those final details, because I really like the finished garment! It’s been great to wear in this heat over the past few weeks, but I’m also really looking forward to having that collar peeking out over my handknitted jerseys later in the year. I’ll need to get moving on sewing up my next version!

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Not-quite-basics

I made this outfit up in that weird, limbo-ish period between Christmas and New Year, when I wasn’t reading my Christmas books or watching the cricket. Historically, I’ve been productive in the last week of December, but I’ve also made a bunch of stuff that has been ill-judged or that have just been total wadders (most haven’t made it to the blog). Fortunately, this Christmas I made two things which I’m totally in love with!

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This is the Kalle shirt from Closet Case Patterns, made up in linen from The Fabric Store (second item in my Summer of Linen series!). This is technically the second time I’ve used this pattern, but it’s the first time I’ve used it as drafted. I picked the cropped version (obviously), with the full length exposed button band and the full collar. there are a lot of options with this pattern, I love it! This linen has a much crisper hand than the rayon crepe I used for my first tee shirt version, so it holds the shape of the body and hem much better.

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I love that back pleat and the kimono sleeves and cuffs! I’m also really pleased with the length at the front, I think its perfect to wear with anything which sits at my natural waist. I’m slightly terrified to wear this shirt anywhere that I might come into contact with any food or drink or anything else which might stain it…I’ll need to get over it though, because it’s an excellent top to wear when it’s all hot and sticky and I don’t want anything to touch my skin.

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I think this is one of the neatest collars I’ve ever sewn, mostly due to the linen I think! It just holds a press so beautifully, and is such a lovely stable fabric. I was surprised by how high the collar stand was though, it’s almost twice as high as the one from the Melilot shirt. I don’t mind the way it looks, but it feels like a more formal collar. It definitely sits up a lot more! Irritatingly, I managed to get that top button hole slightly too far from the edge of the stand, and the top button looks really off centre. I never manage to get that one in the right place! I extended it as much as I thought I could get away with (after I had sewn and opened the original buttonhole), but it still isn’t where it should be. I used my favourite 1/2″ shell buttons, I like the subtle shine against the linen. It’s also just long enough to tuck in, if I ever want to go totally preppy!

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While most of this post is about the shirt, this skirt is one of my favourite things that I’ve made recently! It’s my favourite skirt pattern, v1247, and the fabric is a gorgeous indigo dyed Japanese cotton that I bought at Ray Stitch in London when Katie took me shopping last year. I bought it intending to make a Kochi Kimono out of it, but I once again forgot how narrow Japanese fabrics are and I couldn’t tetris my way out of not having enough fabric this time. I’m slightly sad about not getting my indigo kimono, but I’m so happy that I thought to make it up as this skirt instead! I lengthened it the same amount as I did  for my denim version, 4″ in length with a 1” hem, which I think puts it at the perfect length.

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I bound all of the seams with some vintage turquoise bias tape, and blind hemmed it. I felt like I should pull all of the stops for this gorgeous fabric! I have another length of the same fabric, but with crosses woven into it rather than the dashes on this fabric. I bought it to make a pair of trousers, but maybe it’ll become the kimono/lightweight jacket I wanted this piece to become…

I’m really happy with both of these garments, I think they fit really well into my summer wardrobe, and both are things I really want to wear! I’m planning so many versions of the Kalle shirt, I want to make another cropped version but with the hem straightened off, and a version of the shirt dress inspired by this stunning version made by Sasha from Secondo Piano (ok, it might just be a straight copy). I’d also be really keen to make a long sleeved version of the tunic length one if I could find some wool flannel or something for winter…

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I’m probably about to jinx the entire Wellington region here, but it’s really feeling like summer is nearly here this year! We’ve had a gorgeous spell of warm sunny weather, and it’s got me dreaming about linen and silk and loose, cropped silhouettes. As usual I’m looking to make tops which are a bit more fancy than just tee-shirts, and I’m loving the high waisted bottoms/ cropped tops look which seems to be around this year.

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I pulled the Kalle Shirt pattern by Closet Case Files out and matched it to this windowpane check from Indie Sew on my first weekend back after our trip, when I was desperate to sew something, but I just couldn’t be bothered with the idea of sewing a collar in that shifty fabric. I loved the idea of the faced high/low hem and the kimono sleeves though, so I decided to do a bit of pattern modification to get a simplified top.

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I kept all of the bits of the pattern that I really liked, the hem and facings, the sleeves and cuffs, and the back pleat, but obviously I ditched the shirt bits! I used the pop-over front pattern piece, which is cut on the fold anyway, and just didn’t put the placket in. I traced off the front and back neckline from the Willow Tank, and then traced off a facing to finish the neckline. Other than the neckline, I followed the instructions exactly.

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I love the back and the hem! If I made this modification again, I wouldn’t drop the back neckline so low so that I could keep some more of the yoke, I think it’s a bit disproportionate on this one. but I can’t see it, so that’s okay! I’m trying to be less obsessive about getting things perfect (the Love To Sew Podcast episode on perfectionism resonated with me, I definitely let my perfectionist tenancies get in the way of my sewing enjoyment), and I definitely embraced the ‘done is better than perfect’ ethos on this project…

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I really love this fabric (in fact, I was so keen to get my hands on some that I managed to submit my online order to Indie Sew twice. So glad I managed to cancel one order before it was cut out! It’s no longer available, sorry.), I’ve got the white with black check colourway too. It feels lovely, it’s a very smooth and floaty rayon crepe, but it was pretty shifty and difficult to cut out and sew! I cut it on one layer, and used all of my pins to keep it all square and in line. The finished top tends to slide around a bit too, I think that it’s too heavy in the back. Between the double layer of crepe for the yoke and the longer length, it slips back on my shoulders a bit. Using a lighter weight cotton for the yoke lining would have been a better idea. But never mind, that’s what hindsight is for!

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The highest point of the hem is a good height for my high waisted trousers (these are my Safrans, but they’re good with my Gingers and my Flint trousers too, as well as my high waisted skirts), but clearly I’ll need to be careful getting anything down off high shelves! I’m wearing a tank top under it in these pictures, I’m not quite that anaemic…

I’m definitely keen to try out the pattern as drafted, I have some lightweight Japanese cotton earmarked for another cropped version but with all the shirt details included. Looking at my sewing plans for the summer there are going to be a bunch of collars and plackets and buttonholes involved! Also some more wide legged trousers, and hopefully a swimsuit…