Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do You Have a Shirt that You Really Love?

One that you feel so groovy in? 
You don't even mind if it starts to fade
That only makes it nicer still   (Donovan)

I'm not a 'shirt' kind of girl.  You know - the classic, woven fabric, button-down-the-front, collared, type of shirt.  This is probably because shirts don't fit my short-necked, rounded back, apple shaped figure well at all.  And they often need ironing to look their best.
Knit tops are just more flattering and comfortable, and I wear them 99% of the time.  This is my current favorite:

I made this in March, but wore it only a couple of times before the warm weather forced me to put it away for a few months.  Wearing it on a cool day last week reminded me of how good it makes me feel.  It's made from a double knit cotton from Marcy Tilton, and a cotton jersey from Sawyer Brook, both of which are very comfortable.  The double knit is dotted on one side, and striped on the other, offering many design options.  I purchased this in the summer of 2010, and will jump at the chance to buy other colorations, should Marcy ever find them.  She offered a warm-toned green (I believe) one this summer - not a good color for me, but a fabulous fabric!

The design concept for this top was born during the winter, when I was working on my SanMarDia jacket.  This plum fabric was on my design table near the trim I had painted for the jacket, and I noticed the burgundy Jacquard Lumiere paint was an exact color match.  I knew then I would be making a top using the paint on black knit, combining it with the double sided plum knit.  What a wonderful affirmation of letting fabric "age" in my collection!  I love to let a fabric rest in my view while I'm working on other projects.  It encourages percolation of design ideas.  Sometimes it gets put away for a later viewing, and other times a great idea such as this emerges.

I started with Marcy's Vogue 8497, view B, extending the front curve into a corner, and widening the neckline.  I painted it using the Plum Blossom silk screen from Marcy's Japanese Tea Garden set, and foiled it with dragonflies from her Angelic Insects silk screen.  I embellished the fabric pieces after I cut them out, in hopes of achieving good design placement.  In hindsight, I should have done the foiling after the garment was sewn, to avoid placing the dragonfly on the bust point.  (Must have been my inner stripper diva strutting her stuff!)

The plum stripe/dot fabric lent itself very well to this pattern, creating a "third fabric" for the neckband.  I used raw edges, but fused black superfine Design Plus Bias Fusible Tape to the raw edge, to prevent major stretching.
I can't say enough good things about this tape.  It has held well through several washings, and it has continued to stabilize the band edges around the neck and down the front and back of the garment.
This great pattern is an excellent candidate for embellishment and design options.  I love the ability to use two fabrics and achieve successful balance.  I made another version of this top, using the curved front piece and leaving the neck as it was drafted on the pattern. (I'll blog about it when I can get DH to take some pictures.) If I make this sharp corner version again, I'll place the corner higher and bring the neck in a bit, to expose less of my chest. I don't mind it for warmer weather, but I prefer a more closed neckline in cooler temperatures.
The overlay down the back is really stylish, too.
The hemline of one side is shorter than the other, creating a cool design feature both front and back:
The pattern is also fairly easy to grade up several sizes, thanks to the dolman sleeve design.  I simply figured how much more width I needed at the sides, then echoed the same underarm and overarm curves when I redrafted the pattern.  I might add a small bust dart next time, but the crosswise wrinkle at the bust doesn't bother me much on a dolman style.  Actual construction at the sewing machine is very easy.

I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortable lovely
I love my shirt, I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortable lovely


  1. I can certainly see why this is a favorite shirt! The colors & lines look absolutely ideal for you!

    And of course, your eye for detail with your color combinations & silk screen embellishments is consistently spot on - I always end up spending so much time futzing with things like that & still don't end up with result like yours! In the flower arranging that I used to study, this would be called "korinka" (sp?) something that looks like it was perfectly arranged by nature, with no effort at all, and yet achieves a simple perfection.

    And I think your dragonfly landed in just the right spot lol!

  2. That is a GORGEOUS top, Dixie!! What a superb blend of workmanship and creativity! I look forward to seeing more of your work. :D

  3. You SHOULD love your shirt! It's fantastic. Love the asymetry of it. Your talking about how much you love it reminded me of the song, "I'm too sexy for my shirt"!

  4. Absolutely lovely top and I admire your great work to make it your own.
    As to the SB polka dot here is the garment.

  5. I, too, love your top! Your embellishments are perfect. You are very creative!

  6. LOVE the dragonflies! Great top

  7. Great top, love your embellishments.

  8. This is a gorgeous shirt on you. You look wonderful in it and will all the details. Great job.