Someone recently made the mistake of telling me he needed another shirt. The justification was that he doesn't have any solid-colored shirts (at least none made by me) that would work with the jacket I made him for Christmas. Okay, I can go with that one.
What color? I ask. Doesn't matter, he says. Just a solid color that will work with the jacket.
Telling me to choose my own color is like letting a kid loose in a candy store. Plus, a solid color shirt doesn't have to be solid, it can still have contrast in all the good places - undersides of cuffs, inside collar band, inside yoke, under-collar and my new particular favorite, the underlap of the sleeve placket.
The hunt was on.
Andrea and I went on a little fabric safari on Sunday, going to JoAnn's, which had some very nice stuff (I admit to being a little snobby about JA, but I actually bought things that weren't on sale, including a nice stretch denim (hello, Jalie) and 3 yards of Kona cotton in a color called "Crocus."
Yep. I made him a purple shirt. I think it's more orchid than purple, but the intent is there. The contrast fabric is purple, a dark shade with an abstract floral pattern in a coordinating orchid. The thread matches the body of the shirt, and comes out as contrast on the undersides of the cuffs.
I took a mental health day yesterday and pre-treated my fabric. Once it was dry, I thought maybe I'd cut the shirt out, so as to be ready for the next time motivation struck. I mades ome changes from my standard KwikSew 3422 shirt pattern - I used the collar from one of Mario's Italian vacation shirts, because he really likes the shape. I also laid one of those shirts out on top of the KS pattern pieces and altered the pattern to match the Italian shirt, more fitted.
Once it was cut out, I decided that maybe I'd just start in on the body, and see how it went. It went pretty quickly, so then I decided that I'd interface the collar and cuffs. I gave the collar 3 layers of Sew Exciting's Pro-Woven interfacing, which gave the finished collar the exact stiffness of his RTW shirts. The cuffs only got 2 layers, because I'd like to get buttonholes through them.
On to the sleeve plackets. I used to do them by KwikSew's instructions, but it just didn't look finished enough, so I've started doing a two-piece placket and I doubt I'll ever go back to the old way. This looks so much more professional, and it gives me the option of using a contrast fabric on the underlap, which I think looks really cool. If anyone is interested in a tutorial on the two-piece sleeve placket, leave a comment. I did take photos throughout but I haven't gotten together to write it - but I will if you want it.
When the sleeve plackets were done, I took a dinner break with the shirt's intended wearer - who at that point still didn't know what color his new shirt was going to be. And I wasn't sure I wanted to tell him before it was closer to being done. Just in case, you know?
After some carbs, I went back in. The collar went together surprisingly well considering it's almost as stiff as cardboard. Thankfully I remembered to cut the interfacing off at the points so I didn't have to wrestle to turn them. Collar and band went together, and then the band got sewn to the shirt. I had to unpick and resew one end of the collar, which pissed me off exceedingly, but it doesn't look raggedy, so I guess the sewing gods were feeling lenient.
By this point, we're nearing 9:00. It seems a shame not to keep going, so I made the pleats on the sleeves - again copying the Italian shirt, which had pleats on either side of the placket, not just on the front side. Attached the cuffs, did two rows of topstitching around the cuffs.
I gave in then and stopped for the night. Tonight, since I had to stop in and visit a friend who just had double knee replacement surgery, there wasn't much time for sewing, but I hemmed the shirt and made all the buttonholes. Following the Italian shirt as a model again, I did something new and different and sewed the collar-band buttonhole on the diagonal. It's the first time that buttonhole has ever turned out that well. Not only does the diagonal look more interesting, but it avoids the seam allowances inside the collar band and the machine doesn't get hung up on all the layers of interfacing that way.
Some people would think that was a crazy use of a day off, but I enjoyed myself no end - and when I took the shirt upstairs at the end of the night, HE LOVED IT. Who knew he wanted a purple shirt?