There are two ways to purchase fabric: 1) with a specific project in mind, or 2) because you’re blown away by its beauty and you decide what to do with it later. I’m usually in the former camp, but last summer I stumbled upon a stunning wool challis print I couldn’t resist. Why was I even looking in the wool challis section of Mood Fabrics’ New York store when I didn’t even know what wool challis WAS? Kismet, I guess!
(There’s not a lot of wool challis available currently at Mood Fabrics online, so please call the store if you’re interested in purchasing some.)
Notice the elegant woman’s face (below). This image (and surrounding flora) is from Czech illustrator Alphonse Mucha (b. 1860 – d. 1939). How did it end up in this largely abstract fabric design? I don’t know, but I love it!
Wool challis, while lightweight and soft, isn’t really a summer fabric, but it’s perfect for fall. I decided to use my fabric to make a dress shirt for the holidays. And get this: I made the entire shirt (minus buttonholes) on my vintage 1924 Singer 66 treadle!
I used my tried-and-true vintage Butterick shirt pattern (4712) and made only a few minor changes: I narrowed the collar (so it wouldn’t look so much like a disco shirt) and I used black cotton shirting from my stash for the inside collar stand, both for contrast and to prevent potential itching. Mother of pearl buttons add a touch of elegance.
This shirt is not my usual style for sure, but I love the palette of dusty rose, purple, tan, and black, as well as the unabashedly “trippy” print. I don’t think I’m going to bump into anybody wearing the same outfit!
It’s fun to sew out of my comfort zone from time to time, either with an unusual fabric, challenging techniques, or both.
I don’t know why wool challis is so rarely used for men’s shirts (while wool flannel, for example, is popular) — maybe it’s the drape or the preponderance of wildly patterned prints often found in this fabric. (Wool challis is usually reserved for men’s ties or scarves.) It’s a puzzlement…
Happy Holidays, everyone!