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