Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 roundup: some cozy flannels

Basically the moment we decided we were moving up to the Pacific Northwest, I knew I needed to make some cozy plaid flannel shirts for layering. There are a ton of indie button-up shirt patterns out there (most notably, imo, the very popular Grainline Archer shirt). I thought about using an existing pattern but decided I wanted full control over the fit and details - a tunic length that I could wear with leggings without it being a dress, an oversized fit but with enough shaping to keep it from being completely boxy. It was also a great opportunity to practice drafting a collar with band and sleeve plackets - things I'd drafted and sewn in muslin for class, but I hadn't practiced applying them to a real garment. The plackets make it easy to roll up the sleeves when I want to, and there are buttons on the cuffs to close them up when I wear the sleeves long.

sleeve placket + cuff details

center back collar, yoke, and pleat - I inverted the pleat to stick outward on my second and third versions, but I think it works ok both ways.

The shirt details (collar, sleeves, plackets) were all straightforward and by-the-book to draft. The biggest issue I had was with making the shirt a little more oversized - it turns out I've only ever drafted things that are well-fitted, so this was new to me! I compared to some of Tim's button-down shirts and made a few attempts until I got the right combination of dropping the shoulders and armholes in addition to bringing out the side seams. Eventually I got a body and sleeves that all worked well together and gave the look I wanted. I kept bust darts and a curve to the side seam through the waist, and I really like the gentle shaping that comes from those details.

Sewing without instructions is always interesting. Back in my classes, I took notes on some things like sleeve placket construction. But there is nothing telling me where to begin or the overall ordering, so it ends up taking a lot of focus and thought to make sure I don't miss a step. But I really enjoy this process, reminding myself that I can figure basically anything out if I'm left to my own devices, and eventually putting on the finishing touches and knowing I did the whole thing without someone else telling me how.

This is one of those designs that I don't think is very ground breaking (how many button-up shirts like this exist in either ready-to-wear stores or sewing patterns??). It's not something I'm really considering selling either ready made or in pattern form for various reasons. But it's been such a delight to make and wear for myself.

This shirt has gotten a ton of wear. I made it in June and it warmed up before long, but since fall weather has set in it's been a staple, one of those things I reach for constantly and have to convince myself to skip sometimes just to mix up my outfits. I worry the cheap fabric I used won't hold up super well through many more washes, but I'm going to keep wearing it to death in the meantime.

perfectly covers that leggings bum

And, I just finished sewing up two more - one in black and white buffalo plaid and another in a deep red herringbone - after working on those in parallel off and on this month. See below for an earlier in progress shot of the delightful Robert Kaufman flannels. I just need to buy and attach some buttons and sew their buttonholes - 22 across both shirts, eep. I'm excited to expand my cozy flannel collection by 3x and stay cozy all winter.

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