Monday, August 1, 2022

Color blocking a shirt with Paintbrush Studio flat fat stacks

Color blocked garments combine one or more fabrics that are usually contrasting, bold, or unexpected, in a single garment to make a statement. Color blocking is a cool trend and can make use of interesting sewing techniques. Have you tried this technique? 

I just completed a creative experiment to make a "faux" color blocked shirt using a flat fat stack from Paintbrush Studio.

Color blocked Siena Shirt using Indian Summer cotton fabrics.

So, what’s a flat fat stack?

Paintbrush Studio Fabrics offers "flat fat stacks" with their quilting cotton collections. A flat fat stack is a selection of fat-quarter-size (18” x 22”) prints that are printed side-by-side on a single, continuous piece of fabric. It’s like buying a fat quarter bundle only the fat quarters aren't individual pieces—they come on a long piece of fabric. I used a flat fat stack from the Indian Summer collection by Sumana Ghosh-Witherspoon for this shirt. It had 12 fat quarter prints—or 3 yards of fabric. 

The Siena Shirt pattern

My shirt pattern was the Siena Shirt from The Sewing Workshop. It’s a pattern I’ve used numerous times so I was familiar with the pattern pieces and the construction.

The Siena Shirt pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

Pattern layout and construction

Laying out the pattern pieces was similar to the pattern's diagrams except the fabric was laid out in a single layer—no pieces were cut on the fold or in a double layer. Left and right front pieces were cut from different areas of the fabric to achieve the color blocked look. Same with the back pieces.

Pattern pieces laid out on a single fabric layer.

The collar, collar stand, sleeves, and back yoke were cut from different areas of the fabric and prints, too. The Siena Shirt worked well for this initial experiment because there were several smaller pattern pieces that could fit easily on a fat quarter piece of fabric.

The Siena Shirt made good use of the variety of prints in the flat fat stack.

During construction, I was careful to line up the prints across the front and side front seams and the back and side back seams. I didn’t have to match anything at the side seams.

Matching the print at the front seams.

The button band also looks color blocked. After button auditioning, the dark red ones made the cut.

Auditioning buttons for the front button band.

My 6th Make Nine finish for 2022

I’m fulfilling the “Something New in ’22” prompt for my Make Nine Challenge with this project. The extra thought and time involved with laying out the pattern pieces and matching the prints was worth the challenge and experimentation. 

Make Nine 2022 tracker, July 31, 2022.

Using the continuous yardage format of the flat fat stack eliminated the piecing that's generally required for color blocking... but achieved the same visual effect. The asymmetry is very much like color blocking seen in garments with this fashion trend. Because the various fabric prints were from a fabric collection, the designs and aesthetic were cohesive... which made choosing the fabric(s) easy.

"Faux color blocked" Siena Shirt. It goes with everything!

My husband’s comment about my new shirt: “It goes with everything.”

That's a "win!"

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