Good morning, friends! Is anyone else unusually excited about spring sewing, this year? In the States, we’ve spent far too long bundled in sweaters and coats. It makes me crave sunshine and crisp, cool cottons like crazy. For me, nothing says “Spring is finally here!” like a classic white blouse. Maybe it’s the dark colors of winter, or the archaic rules around this particular color, but donning a white shirt feels almost as significant as the season’s first daffodils.
Unfortunately, most of the blouses (and clothes, more generally) in my closet are swimming on me right now. If I want to wear something, I either need to make something wholly new or buy it off the rack. Since clothes shopping as a full-busted woman is akin to undergoing the trials of Hercules, I am doing a lot of sewing right now. Not that I’m complaining. There are so many patterns I’m dying to make, now that I’m back to a stable post-baby weight. The last year of sewing nothing but knits and voluminous silhouettes has felt creatively dulling. Sewing with wovens and tailored patterns feels like coming back to my happy place.
At the top of my to-sew list was the Gallery Tunic from Liesl & Co. This simple popover blouse has a button placket, one piece collar, and shaped split hem. Not only was it the perfect canvas for my white blouse visions, but it’s the kind of classic pattern that can be altered a hundred different ways, once the right fit is worked out. I chose the size 14 as my base, then did a Full Bust Adjustment, which added a dart to the side seam, then narrowed the shoulders by an inch.
For fabric, I already had the perfect length of cotton in my stash. I’d ordered this gorgeous Italian White and Blue Checked Shirting, quite similar to these two currently in stock, last year from Mood Fabrics. With a crisp hand and medium weight, it makes an ideal tailored shirt. I’d originally bought it with a full-skirted shirtdress in mind, but this tunic will get so much more wear in my current wardrobe.
Making this project was a fun reintroduction into shirtmaking and sewing with woven fabrics. Cutting out a plaid can be harrowing, but I cut the pattern on one layer, tracing around my pattern pieces to ensure an exact match where I needed it. Some post-cut tinkering with the fit messed up the matching on the sleeves, but overall it worked out pretty well. The placket of this shirt is cleverly formed with a front pleat, which gives more visual interest to the top and made matching that placket a cinch. If you’re hesitant to sew plackets, this pattern would be a really easy introduction into the basic technique. The cuffs, collar, and placket are interfaced with crisp fusible interfacing for a sturdy, tailored look. This shirt is finished off with five white buttons on the placket and a narrow, hand-stiched hem.
Sewing up the fabric was fantastic. After working with knits for so long, I’d almost forgotten how nice it is to use a high quality cotton that stays where you put it and presses neatly. It’s gloriously fuss-free! While this blouse may look simple, it’s exactly the sort of warm weather sewing I wanted. I’m looking forward to whole season of pretty shirtings and breathable, crisp fabrics. Now that I’ve altered this pattern to my shape, there may even be another tunic or two! Are you also dying for a spot of spring in your sewing, friends? What are your transitional season plans for your wardrobe?