Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Cottage Shirt in Yalke blue—30 minutes at a time

These days, it's more and more difficult to find longer, continuous blocks of time to work on our needle arts projects. I was talking with a fellow garment sewer last week about the new Cottage Shirt I was wearing, and she agreed. She mentioned an upcoming quilting retreat she's attending and is eagerly anticipating some dedicated work time for her quilting projects. If you have a sporadic schedule like me—or have too many balls in the air simultaneously (and who doesn't?)—you'd be pleasantly surprised at what can be accomplished in short spurts of time if you keep focused. My new Cottage Shirt is an example.

The Cottage Shirt [by The Sewing Workshop] in Yalke [from M&S Textiles Australia].

For this garment, I've paired another lively, smart-looking Australian aboriginal fabric—Yalke [blue colorway], by M&S Textiles Australia—with the Cottage Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop. The Cottage Shirt is a new pattern for me. And even with my involvement in the 100 Days 100 Blocks project, the September Textile Love Challenge, and contributing to an upcoming quilt guild program about using orphan quilt blocks, this top took about 2 weeks to complete—sewing in blocks of time of 30 minutes to about an hour.

The Cottage Shirt in a 100% cotton fabric.

Here is a break down of the process, in manageable chunks.
  • pre-washing the fabrics can be done while doing other things.
  • read through the pattern a few times and familiarize yourself with it. This can be done while you're having morning tea/coffee or at lunchtime, etc. Reading through the pattern also gets you excited about working on the project!
  • Determine your size and trace the pattern pieces. 
Tracing the pattern pieces.
  • I did make a muslin to test the fit. Just a bodice muslin—no collar or sleeve cuffs were attached. I only made one modification to the armhole depth.
  • The pattern layout and cutting was easy. I was careful to match the pattern repeat across the side seams.
Pattern traced and pieces cut.

The sewing process can be accomplished in chunks of time: pre-pressing hems, finishing seams, attaching any interfacings, assembling collar stands and collars, etc. This pattern has minimal pieces (fronts, back, collar and stand, and sleeve cuffs), so there are not many seams or intricate piecing.

Cottage Shirt side vent.

Once I tried on the shirt in the fashion fabric (above), I decided a smaller side vent looked better on me. I just extended the stitching further down the side seam. While modifying the vent, I also decided to make the front/back lengths asymmetrical (photo below). This was an on-the-fly design detail decision. (My shirt, my rules!)

Cottage Shirt side vent modifications: smaller vent and asymmetrical hems.

The bottom hems are stitched down by machine which makes this finishing step quite quick. I hand stitched the sleeve band hems by hand as I enjoy the hand work.

The Cottage Shirt (front view).

Burying thead tails, making machine buttonholes and hand sewing the 5 buttons were the last few finishing steps.

Mid-September sunshine.
I accidentally took this photo, but when I saw it in my iPad photo feed,
I liked how the branches of the tree extended out from where I stood.

Our mid-September weather is surprisingly "in-the-90s hot" and still requires wearing short-sleeve tops. I wore this shirt last week on business calls and received several compliments. The Australian aboriginal prints are always great conversation starters!

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