Monday 15 June 2020

A tale of two shirts

With a blog post title like that you could be forgiven for expecting some great piece of literature might follow. I apologise now, in advance of your disappointment.

It continues to be the best of times for some and the worst of times for others. I'm not going to discuss the situation of racism in our country and the recent manifestations against it, other than to say this: Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded in 1991 we have had 29 years, over 10,000 days, in which to make it clear that the situation is unbearable and must change.
It's not a question of whether protests should go ahead, on a certain day, with Coronavirus restrictions. It's a question of what the hell have we been doing every other day that has allowed the current situation to prevail.

While the real woman behind the sewing alter ego seethes with anger and roils with shame, Lightning McStitch is now going to blather on about sewing some shirts...


............and let's let her start with a drink in hand

When Coronavirus lockdowns first started happening there were plenty of Frocktails events that had to be cancelled.

Our compatriots up in Sydney joined forces with a few of the US Frocktails events and hosted a virtual frocktails event in lieu of their planned parties.

I'd suddenly been consumed with the urge to sew myself some button up shirts and thought I'd try out both the Liesl + Co Camp Shirt and the Classic Shirt. I've already sewn the Recital Shirt (both ways) and love it. I was curious to see how these two would compare.

For my virtual Frocktails outfit I sewed the Camp Shirt in this metallic coated cotton that I'd picked up in ClearIt some time earlier. I'd had it earmarked for a different pattern (V1414), but that one would have the reverse side show, and the fabric is a very dull beige on the back.

I thought the lux pyjama vibe of the Camp shirt in this fabric would be fun. An old friend described this look as "pissy rich 70's housewife" which cracked me up. But having always wanted to dress up as Margo Leadbetter from The Good Life I was also delighted (for the record I wanted to be Barbara with all the chickens and goats but I wanted to dress up like Margo)

She was on the money with the 70's comment as the skirt pattern is a 70's original. I still need to hand sew a hook and eye at the back and close the belt properly, and it deserves a blog post of it's own come summer time.

The Camp Shirt turned out to be perfect for this fabric with its relaxed, one piece collar. It's much more a blouse than a shirt and I've been wearing it with jeans and it works just fine like that too.

It's a straight size 10 as per my measurements with no alterations. Amazingly I had he perfect buttons in my stash, even with slightly smaller ones for the sleeve plackets.

The Classic Shirt lay cut out for quite some time, and then for some time afterwards was sewn, but was waiting for buttons...

This was a cotton/poplin that I'd bought at Rathdowne Fabrics ages ago with probably the intention for it to one day become a shirt. I'm not sure if I'd thought that would be for me, as I never usually wear purple, but suddenly there it was, also cut out, and ready to be my Classic Shirt.

Again I made a straight size 10, but something possessed me to lower the bust dart by half an inch on this shirt (but not the other?!). I think I must have been wearing my Gelato Blouse which does seem to have an oddly high bust dart compared to other Liesl + Co patterns. Either that or I was just feeling a bit old and saggy and figured I might need to start making some kind of sewing concessions for my boobs... I don't know. But I needn't have done it. The bust dart is under the chest pockets so it doesn't matter that it's too low, but it is. It should be 1/2" higher, or exactly where it was before I moved it.

I'm keen to track down a nice, textured white cotton and make the perfect white shirt. I think it would be the front and collar of this shirt with the more fitted back of the Recital Shirt. It's cool that the pattern pieces are interchangeable in that way.

Doing business through the postal service during lockdown, I bought the perfect buttons from Buttonmania. Square purple buttons (not something I had in my stash!), with smaller round ones for the sleeve plackets.


  1. YES!!!!! Well said! - and the shirts are interesting too

  2. Gelato bust darts nearly made me cry. My boobs were so old and saggy! You have reassured me to go back and revisit it (the blouse, not my boobs - no hope for them)

  3. Definitely channeling Margo in that photo! ( I always wanted to be Barbara too...)


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