Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Great White Shirt





Finally done! The details are what make this one. For those who have not been following this is a combination of BWOF 05-09-110 for the bodice, a morph of the sleeve pattern on Simp 3789, and my own ruminations on embroidery and smocking.

Some of you know that I have had a long time goal of implementing smocking into adult garments and may have a seen a few of my efforts, a bag, a silk blouse. I liked the shape of this bodice and know that this style 1) is one of my more flattering styles, and 2) would take nicely to an insert. I started by redrafting the skirt front to accommodate the insert and still maintain it's pretty shape. Then it was time to start the smocking. I wanted to use a simple geometric design in an ecru so that I would have some contrast to highlight the design as well as the embroidery. On the waist insert are bullion chrysanthemums. Their centers are tiny Swarofski crystals and each mum is surrounded by a diamond of off white little pearls. On either side of the insert is piping.
On the collar I did a tiny bit of the same using piping, beads, and another bullion mum.

Please forgive this back shot. The lovely pink silk that made my neckline did not become apparent in the back until way after the blouse wrinkled itself in this 93º heat and was off the form. I am just not up to re ironing it at the moment in this heat.....On the back you can see the pleat. I stitched either side of the pleat with machine pinstitching using a wing needle and regular thread.Then I ran three large bullion daisies down the pleat, each filled with an bead in the center. At the end of the pinstitching lines sits another tiny bullion, just like a period at the end of a sentence.
In the sleeves I tried to echo a few elements. First off, I love these sleeves. I am a pushover for 3/4 length sleeves of any kind but the pleated "cuff" gives these so much room and comfort. I again stitched down each pleat with the pinstitching and also again ended with one bullion stitch at the end.
Again, I also used the piping on the sleeve.



Now for the unseen: At the very end, contra to my original plans, I decided to stitch two stitching lines an 1/8th of an inch apart and then three thread serge them for a seam finish. I did this on all the seams. My original plan was of course French seams but I had some bulky cross seams and at this point the fabric was getting quite ravelly and overhandled despite my efforts otherwise. So to the serger I went.
Also, you saw how I earlier backed the insert with dotted netting to conceal the knots of the smocking. I also dug out some small lace motifs from the stash and used them to cover the backs of the bullion daisies on the interior of the shirt. It really looks pretty from the inside. The hems were all topstitched.
**********************************************************************************
I have made a decision as to how I will wear this shirt. From a fashion stand point I think it would look great with some black jeans and black heels, nice for a dinner out with hubby. From a practical standpoint, well I have learned a thing or two. Once completed and Bizzed, I ironed and starched the shirt. It was gorgeous. My easing on the sleeve caps was smooth. The piping sat beautifully. There wasn't a wrinkle in site. And any nun I have known would have been proud at this starch/pressing job on the linen. It was all quite liturgical. BUT, when I was actually constructing the shirt, it had the lovely, bubbly (for lack of a better description) texture that a washed unironed piece of linen can acquire. That is what I loved. My pictures look wonky because every time I moved the dress form or touched the shirt a "crack" appeared that could not be finessed without a total re ironing. But that lovely washed linen look,,,,that is how I will wear this. I will iron in my pleats and collar and call it a day. Washed linen just gets the most marvelous uncompromising texture when you leave it alone. To starch and iron it like a liturgical garment invites hard cracks, wrinkles, and wonks, as are obvious in my pictures. Does anyone know what I mean by washed bubbly linen? Hope you do.

I think I will make this BWOF pattern again. For anyone with a waist and hips I think it is a great design. I am thinking of making one totally plain in a poly cotton blend, the antithesis of this number. In the meantime, I'm off to seduce DH into a steak dinner in Lake Placid.lata'.....Bunny

39 comments:

  1. You do a magnificient job of using smocking and heirloom techniques in adult garments. It's not something that is seen often in big girl clothes. Your garments are completely wearable vs "costumey". Beautiful workmanship, as always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In your hands the heirloom techniques become sophisticated and fashionable. It's just gorgeous! I have to agree with you about washed linen. Starching and pressing looks great for all of 1 minute, if you're lucky and since we wear linen in the summer, it's too damn hot to iron it to perfection anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This blouse is an AMAZING work of art. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stunning, Bunny! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Perfect! All the details are just right - not too "heirloomy" for an adult. Really, really lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Tremendously beautiful! Breathtaking!

    ReplyDelete
  7. One of the things that makes sewists different than the rest of 'the herd' is that we want something 'more'. It might be just utilitarian in terms of having clothing that actually fits, will go through the wash and dry cycle more than a couple of times, and so on. Or, it might be that we want beautiful things and think that we deserve to have them and to wear them. Part of it is the 'look what I can do' issue - but I think it's mostly that part of us just craves that ability to put on something that is absolutely, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, something for the ages. And your white shirt is that: amazingly beautiful in and of itself but on you, I'm sure the two of you compliment one another just fantastically. (and you have my sympathies wilting up there in the Adirondacks - it's horrible down here in the Southern Tier, too)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gorgeous! Have fun wearing it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bunny,
    this is a artistic masterpiece! Just beautiful. It is nice your use of "heirloom" techniques for adults, very reminiscent of the Eduardian era. The blouse brings some memories of one of my Grand-aunts.
    thank you for sharing your art.
    Cruz

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, wow! This is wonderful! Such a gorgeous shirt, you should be so proud of what you have done, this is just fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  11. OH MY GOSH! Gorgeous! I don't know what else to say.

    ReplyDelete
  12. OMG this is absolutely FABULOUS!!!!!!! fabulous, and so elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bunny, you've outdone yourself on this one! It's absolutely fabulous, and I *love* the addition of the beads and pearls. You should submit this to Threads "Readers Closet", they'd be stupid not to publish you!
    And I love that you'll be wearing it with black jeans and heels. What would the nuns say about that???

    ReplyDelete
  14. 'Great' white shirt is a huge understatement... 'Fabulous, Amazing' white shirt is a better description!

    Beautiful!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your work is so lovely, thank you for sharing it. I like washed linen too. I call it the expensive rumpled look.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Unbelievable. It's so gorgeous. So many wonderful little details. It's perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You are amazingly talented! This blouse is stunning in its perfection. Brava!

    ReplyDelete
  18. You're right, Great White shirt, you did a beautiful job as always!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Just stunning! All the little details are just perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bunny,
    That is gorgeous!!! I think that's the first smocked collar I've ever seen, and I like it! I especially like the hemstitching on the back pleat and sleeves. I've always like linen, and recently bought some white, hankerchief weight, hmmmm.
    Oh, and BTW, I have an aunt that's a nun, and I think she would approve! (or at least she would have a few years back - she's 88 and not doing that well :-()

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is truly beautiful. I especially love the pleat in the back. I saw it today for the first time and will have to go back and read from the beginning. It's really a work of art!

    ReplyDelete
  22. The most amazingly beautiful white shirt. You should go out to dinner very often!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bunny...it is absolutely STUNNING! BEAUTIFUL! GORGEOUS! Absolutely amazing work! You an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh Bunny, this turned out just gorgeous - so light and delicate and such fine and marvelous detail - and I know what you mean about bubbly linen - I love that look too - rich rinkles!!!! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Just gorgeous! I have been trying to develop ideas to incorporate smocking in a blouse for myself but I wasn't happy with the idea of a lot of fabric released below the smocking. I had not even considered using a smocked insert to keep the look more tailored. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work with us.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautifully done! Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  27. stunning beyond belief!!!! iwant one!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. That is beautiful. I love all of the details. You did an amazing job, but I expected nothing less.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Totally awesome work of art!
    I love your sense of perfection
    Can you say how many hours you spent on it
    It is invaluable!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh Bunny....this blouse just takes my breath away! You have such a wonderfully creative talent & can envision something so magnificent then have the knowledge & the talent to bring it to fruition. I am GREEN with envy!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I don't know if you'll read this, because you posted this quite a while ago, but I understand what you mean with the bubbly look. I also love the way it flutters when it's unpressed. You can always tell it is linen by the flutter if you lightly shake it. It reminds me of a flower petal.
    Beautiful work. You are an inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is unbelievably gorgeous. Smocking is not for babies anymore!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Stunning. Absolutely stunning! Carpal Tunnel has taken away my ability to smock, but I hear there are machines which do a good job of replicating hand-smocking . . . if Santa reads your blog, perhaps I'll get lucky!!!
    This was seriously inspirational! Let us know how dinner went.

    ReplyDelete

Engaging commentary: