Liberty Paisley Shirt

Even though I signed the lease on my new apartment just so I could have a dedicated sewing space in our little office, I haven’t been sewing as much as I’d like. It’s very hard to come home after a stressful day at work and a grueling workout at the gym, and then try to be productive all over again.

(Mostly I just wind up watching whatever’s on Bravo and crashing around 10.)

But I know that having my own little projects helps keep me motivated and just… in check, you know? So I’ve started doing this thing– we’ll see how long it lasts– but I’ve started cutting and prepping my fabrics for sewing so I can squeeze an hour of sewing every day during the week. As some sort of de-stressing, unwinding activity. This shirt is the result of my first week trying this approach. Not too shabby!

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I have had this Liberty paisley cotton for close to a year now but hadn’t made anything out of it. It’s beautiful but I was a bit baffled as to what to do with it. I paid about $4/yd at fabric.com and used about as much for this top. The buttons are from Mood, which was an experience in and of itself. I tried running to Pacific Trim after work but found out they were closed, and I had 10 minutes to run to Mood before they closed so I could meet my goal of finishing this during the week. But of course, nothing is ever as simple as “getting plain shirt buttons” at Mood– they have literally hundreds of extremely similar buttons. For people with decision anxiety like me, having 5 minutes to pick buttons and having 20 times as many choices is veeeery nerve-racking. In the end, I went with some opal-esque buttons, which funnily enough, were more expensive than the fabric itself.

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This was my first time making a shirt with a standing collar, and I think I did a really good job for a novice. For the pattern, I just copied a dress shirt from my closet, adding bust darts, shortening the hem, and giving it a bit more of a spread collar for a modern fit. I practiced the technique and adjusted the fit by doing a muslin. I’d show you the muslin but it turned out HORRIBLE. The collar was making me nervous!

IMG_1662But only sewing for an hour a day and not feeling rushed really helped me get this right. Normally, I’d try to crank the whole thing out in a day, from pattern-drafting to muslin to cutting to sewing. And that’s just too much. I can do things fast, or I can do them well— I have to keep reminding myself.

I love this shirt and have very few issues with it. The major issue I encounter with shirts is gaping at the bust with the buttons, and gaping at the underarms near the bust. The armholes gape a bit but not too noticeably, and only at the underarm. The buttonholes are kind of ugly and I’m not sure if it’s the machine or me, but they’re nearly invisible anyway. The shirt needs to be a bit longer so I can tuck it into my pants. But overall? Pretty proud of this.

IMG_1630And it certainly helped me decompress after work, so there’s that.

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