It may surprise you to learn that there's actually been a fair amount of selfless sewing (i.e. not for me) going on up in here recently. I'll get round to blogging them all eventually, but I'd like to start with showing you this shirt I made for Patty (AKA Mr So Zo) which I finished last week.
You may or may not know that I endeavour to make Pat one garment each year we're together. First there was the Brokeback Balcony shirt, then came the Book Launch shirt (both of which were made whilst we were living in Barcelona). Third up was a Rockabilly Bowling shirt I made him for Christmas 2011, and last year I made his waistcoat that he wore for our wedding. Seeing as we'll be mighty busy with a new little person in four short months time, I thought I'd get on his fifth item before everything else gets put on the back-burner.
I picked up this vintage Western shirt pattern (Simplicity 6693) some time ago from eBay (pictured below) with an eye to expanding the Western shirt section of his wardrobe (don't all dudes have a Western shirt section?!). Published in 1974, this pattern is actually a 'teen-boy' pattern, which is handy because Pat is a slender chap. I Frankensteined this Simplicity pattern with the my adapted version of the Burdastyle Jakob shirt pattern that I've been slowly tweaking and perfecting the fit of each time I make Pat a shirt.
I knew from the offset that contrast yoke sections, pocket flaps and cuff facings had to be made in this awesome Dia de los Muertos dancing skeleton print quilting cotton that I'd bought half a metre of yonks ago. The obvious complimentary colour for the main body of the shirt would have been black, but Pat has quite a few black Western style shirts now, so I thought I'd find something a bit less obvious. In the end the rest of the shirt was made from a fine teal cotton (it's actually more teal and less blue in real life but my camera has a problem accurately depicting jade/teal/emerald/turquoise shades) that I picked up at a fabric swap in Walthamstow towards the beginning of the year. The colour really suits his gingery/browny/peachy colouring. I was a bit concerned about how such a fine cotton would work alongside the thicker quilting fabric, but with the application of fusible interfacing on all relevant parts made the teal fabric suitably stable where it needed to be.
I had quite a bit of hassle with the topstitching on this shirt because my new-to-me sewing machine hasn't quite got the same secure foot pressure that my last machine had, resulting in a fair bit of slipping about and therefore unpicking! At least I wasn't going for a contrast topstitching effect like with the BrokeBack Balcony shirt, I'm not sure my machine will be up for any of that lark.
No Western style shirt would be complete without pearly snap fastenings. I bought the four-piece snap things from eBay and messed about with the pliers-like contraption required to fit them that I was surprised to learn I already owned from my uni days.
My aim was to get this garment finished before Pat's third and final performance at the Brighton Fringe festival last Friday. At this point I should probably explain that Pat has recently taken to being a stand-up comedian having completed a stand-up comedy course I bought him a couple of months ago. The 'look' he is cultivating for his stage persona involves a Western shirt and puffing out his hair into an enviable 'fro! Apologies for the crappy i-phone pictures, but above is him wearing his shirt on stage, and below is in the bar after his performance. If you are interested, you can see his first ever performance on YouTube here!