Sunday, 23 August 2015

When sad things happen to nice fabric: vintage McCalls 5700 chambray polka dot shirt

One of the reasons I think many of us have beautiful and lovely fabrics sitting in our stashes unused is because of a fear of ruining it. I know it's certainly the case for me - many times I've either completely stuffed up the project or I've made it into something less than stellar that made me wish I'd waited for a better pattern or project idea to come along. And that's why I have many pieces in my fabric stash that I really want to use but just can't bring myself to do so.

Sadly my latest project is a bit of both - a few small stuff ups and a poor pattern choice has meant that  I used this lovely dark indigo chambray with polka dots in a poor way. It's only a Robert Kaufman fabric bought from fabric.com last year so it's not irreplaceable, but still I wish I'd made something better than this:


I wanted to make a loose fitting shirt to layer over t-shirts to wear with skinny pants for a casual winter look. I almost reached for a standard button down shirt pattern of which I have many, when I came across a vintage McCalls pattern in my stash which is a raglan sleeve woven shirt pattern. I am inexplicably drawn to raglan sleeves (probably all sorts wrong for my narrow, sloping shoulders but still I love the style) and it is a 1977 pattern (my birth year) which I took as a good sign to try it out.


I did say I wanted a loose fit, but this pattern turned out huge. I didn't get a photo of it but basically it looked like an oversized art smock. Easily fixed though - I ended up taking 10cm out of the side seams and the sleeves to get it a bit more slim line but still a relaxed fit. The back has an inverted centre pleat which adds quite a bit of volume to the back and is the complete opposite of my usual obsession of removing excess fabric in my lower back area, but a different silhouette is good for a change:



Unfortunately re-sewing those side seams led to a stuff up - I accidentally caught the fabric in the side seam when I was overlocking the edge and cut a nick which is of course right in the centre front and too low to cover up with a pocket:


I applied some of that iron on mending tape to the back of it which I hope will hold. I may need to sew it down after a few washes if it starts fraying though. So annoying when something like that happens!

The collar is a one piece collar (i.e. the collar stand and collar are combined) which is not my favourite way of doing things because it means the collar tends to sit more widely open and it doesn't seem to roll over properly the whole way around the collar, although it easier and quicker to sew. I suppose I could have put that first button up a little higher (or put another one in) to bring it in closer, but I don't think it looks too bad and certainly has a 1970s vibe:


Buttoned up to the top just looks a bit too work shirt style to me and a bit lopsided for some reason:


I do like the curved hem at the sides, and I remember to shorten the shirt quite significantly (about 20cm) from the pattern because I didn't want a tunic length shirt:


So overall not one of my best projects, but it's not always rainbows and lollipops around here. Or highly structured tailored jackets and pencil skirts! I might try styling it differently before I give up on it, perhaps some skinny pants would make it work after all except that I don't have any and I don't plan on doing double denim. And if it is unsalvageable, well I guess I can always order some more fabric!

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