Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Everybody Needs a Chambray Shirt

The last time I owned a chambray shirt was when I made one for myself during the summer of 1987. I made a skirt to match, and I distinctly remember walking down the stairs and my then-5-year-old brother looking up at me and saying, "Wow, you look just like Snow White!"   The closest thing I have to a chambray shirt now is a denim shirt that is hanging in my closet. It's a men's J Crew shirt that I bought in 1991. I only remember the date because I know where I lived when it was new. Yes I know it's kind of pathetic that I have a shirt in my closet that's older than my grown children. I don't know if it makes things better or worse that I haven't worn it for a couple years. Seriously, nothing else in my closet is nearly that old.

Ok, time to get out of my closet and fast forward to 2013. A chambray shirt is a good wardrobe staple and it's pretty obvious I needed a new one. I have a shirt pattern (Simplicity 2339) I've been working on for several months. I hadn't yet made a wearable version (one that fit well) but I was pretty close so I decided to go for it. I ordered some chambray from Gorgeous Fabrics, my first order from them, and was this fabric ever a joy to work with! Seriously, I wanted to order the rest of it and make an entire chambray wardrobe. It's really not a great color for me though, so I restrained myself. I guess that's the big drawback of ordering fabric online. I've never convinced myself to order swatches because if I love the fabric I'll be mad that I wasted the money on a swatch and what if the fabric sells out because I waited for the swatch to come? I have ordered from fabric club swatches and I'm actually a really bad judge of fabric from a small sample.  So there you go, no swatches for me and I'll just live with a color that's not perfect.

The shirt went together well. I made the collar and the cuffs narrower, changed the sleeve plackets, added a shirttail hem and made numerous fitting adjustments.  I had to practice the sleeve placket because I haven't made one in years, and it was a good thing I did. My practice attempt ended up on the wrong side of the fabric but otherwise looked great. That was easy to correct and I'm very happy with the finished plackets.

Next time I make this pattern I need to adjust the shoulder slope just a little bit and I want to make the sleeves narrower (they feel a little "puffy" where they attach to the cuffs). The pattern has potential though, and it's well on its way to becoming a tried and true pattern.

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