Friday, October 28, 2011

The perfect summer shirt

Thanks to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here in Perth, all Perth-ites enjoyed the day off today as a rescheduled Queen's Birthday celebration (thank you, Queen Elizabeth!). Hubby was home. The girls were home. And I was sewing for me!

With a massive backlog of want-to-do/need-to-do projects for other people, I thought I'd indulge in this day off to sew for myself. A couple of years ago (years? really?), Amanda at SouleMama posted about the fabulousness of Heather Ross's summer blouse from Weekend Sewing. I bought the book and have been (sort of) poised for action ever since.

Since then, I have been reading on blogs that the patterns in that book were flawed in various (minor) ways that made them frustrating unless you knew how to work a garment in advance. For a relatively inexperienced sew-ist, this was not good news. Last year, I spied the Make It Perfect pattern for the Shearwater Kaftan (very similar design by an Aussie) and have read nothing but praise for its simplicity and clear instructions. Hurrah!

It took me all morning to make, but I can confidently join in the praise of this pattern. It is very clearly written. I added two inches to the length (normally required for me; I'm 5'10" with a long torso), but I ended up cutting those 2 inches off again because they weren't needed. I will add 2 extra inches to the sleeves next time, because I like really long sleeves and these most conveniently button up out of my way when I want them shorter (my first foray into buttonholes on my sewing machine was a success!).

The fabric is Nani Iro double gauze. It is soft and flimsy and is a bear to cut (it shifts even when pinned), but oh isn't it the perfect weight for Perth summers! The buttons came from my last trip to Bali and are mother-of-pearl carved with leaves and vines. Joy!

This blouse is awesome! I love that it can be long sleeved to protect my arms from the vicious Aussie sun, but it buttons up above my elbows to keep the sleeves out of my way in the kitchen, the garden, or wherever else I need it. Methinks a few more of these babies will be in the works before long!

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