I had planned to make a dress, with piping, for this post. However sewing through my left index finger a week ago (ouch) has meant fiddling with piping was not terribly enticing. Perhaps next time!
So I made a shirt instead. I took two lots of pictures – one just as a storm was hitting at lunchtime – then about 24 hours later on the beach… my Australian winter has been ‘all over the place’. I decided to use a few from both as the stormy backdrop really did make the colours jump off the screen – I habitually roll up my sleeves – fortunately I have one image of the sleeves unrolled. The weather forecast is for another cold front to roll through later today so I’m enjoying the sunshine while it lasts.
When I unpacked this lovely Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY I immediately thought of making a shirt. Mood has a huge selection of voiles… where you will also find a devastatingly lovely range of Liberty of London silk-cotton voiles (which arrived after I ordered, alas).
I think voile would be one of my favourite fabrics. It’s not as fancy as silk or wool but it’s one of the most wearable and washable fabrics I’ve encountered – which means that it passes my ‘lifestyle’ test with flying colours.
According to the Mood Fabric Dictionary (this always helps me when I’m stuck wondering what some mystery fabric is in BurdaStyle!) Voile is: “Plain, loosely woven. Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand”
This fabric is not loosely woven and is not semi-transparent. It strikes me more as a lawn than a voile. It has a higher-thread count than I expected for a voile.
A voile of this nature is perfect for shirts and dresses – and can also make a lovely lining for summer dresses. This voile is perfect for shirts as it isn’t semi-transparent and doesn’t requite a camisole underneath for decency. I also found it an exceptionally easy fabric to work with to create finishes such as flat-fell and French seams, rolled hems and more. It’s remarkably easy to cut out and iron. In short, it ‘s a dream to sew with.
Shirts have a few tricky elements if you have never sewn one before. However sewing with a lightweight fabric with high thread count certainly makes those tricky elements much easier to achieve.
Shirts are a staple in my wardrobe. So when I saw this ‘pretty as a picture’ lawn it was irresistible to add as another shirt to my wardrobe.
I decided to wanted a feminine, slim-fitting shirt with Burda 6849. It has a shaped centre back seam, four fish eye darts, shaped side seams and a curved hem. It is very feminine. The sleeves are also quite slim fitting.
Due to the nature of the print and the weight of the fabric, the seams, darts and pockets just disappear and you focus on the silhouette created by the pattern design. This fabric just sings, it’s so pretty!
As this lawn was so lovely and fine, I flat-felled the centre back seam with a neat 4mm seam. I also decided to French seam the sleeves and side seams – like piping, manipulating the sleeves for a flat-fell seam with my sore hand was little too much of a challenge.
I did add a slight curve to the cuff edges. The placket is a simple one and while I thought about adding a tower placket, I decided not to as I liked the light nature of the fabric and how neatly it rolled up at the sleeve end with as little bulk as possible.
Some techniques used:-
- Attaching the back yokes: Burrito method – is there any other way? Check out the Grainline Archer sewalong or Peter of Male Pattern Boldness.
- How to create a flat-fell seam: Bernina Youtube
- Attaching the collar: Sewaholic blog for the David Page Coffin method.