Monday 2 January 2012

The Rockabilly Bowling Shirt

At some point, I can't remember when, I announced that I would make Pat one shirt for every year that we are together. Well, our relationship is now almost three and a half years old, and until recently there was only the Brokeback balcony shirt and checked book launch shirt to show for it. It was time to get a' stitchin' to make another which would also serve as my Christmas present to Pat.

I have a folder on my laptop in my 'garment inspiration' section devoted to collated images of men's shirts that we both like. There was a strong theme of rockabilly/1950s/rock 'n' roll/diner/bowling type shirts in there that wasn't reflected in Pat's real-life wardrobe. They all have essentially the same basic style: boxy, short sleeved with a folded back revere collar. The specifics of the designs generally came from different panels and blocks of colour. Examples are shown above.

To guarantee a good fit, my starting point was the checked book launch shirt pattern. That had begun life as the Burdastyle Jakob shirt pattern that I had altered to fit Pat's slim shape. The alterations were thankfully so successful that, when quizzed on the fit, Pat was unable to make any suggestions of how I could improve it. To be more in keeping with the rockabilly/bowling shirt aesthetic, I adapted the hem to make it straight with small slits at the side seams. I also made the side seams a little less curved to create a more boxy fit. I kept the sleeves with their faux-turn ups the same and used the original Jakob patch pocket pattern. The main and most hefty alterations came from combining the Jakob/book launch shirt pattern with the collar/neckline of this vintage pattern pictured above (that Pat's sister found in a charity shop and gave to me!) to get the right revere collar effect. This process involved a lot of pinning, tracing, drafting and swearing, though not too much of the latter.

That's Pat pictured above with our glamourous friend, Ciara. I should explain that we saw the new year in at a Madmen themed party, and created elaborate back-stories for our characters and had a mini photoshoot. I can't remember the complex machinations of the six protagonists, but I can remember my alter-ego being called 'Marcy' whose favourite tipple is a Dark and Stormy.

The teal stripe on the left is applied onto the black shirt front with topstitching, rather than creating a seamed panel. I thought that would work better as the two fabric have slightly different thicknesses, and I wanted to avoid any potential wierdness that might occur at the seam when attaching different types of fabric together.

I'm happy to say that this garment was another that cost only my time. I had both the black and teal fabric in my stash, though I cannot remember how either of them got there or for how long they'd made my stash their home. The buttons were also from my collection. However, as ever, using a strickly limited amount of fabric meant I had to be a bit adaptable. The initial plan was to use black fabric for the front facings and yoke, but with not enough black fabric those sections became teal and in that sense the fabric kind of did the designing. Actually, I think I prefer the shirt's overall look with the contrast front facings and yokes, and it would be fun to make a variety of combinations to see how different effects could be created with the application of the different colours.

Happy New Year from Patty and Marcy!!!!


Unknown said...

The shirt looks great, but I have to say your NY pictures are awesome! Loving the fact you made up backstory's for yourselves, brilliant! Hope this year's a great one for you x

Cecili said...

I love this shirt, it's soooo cool :) Love your NYE look too, you're gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I love the shirt. The fact you had a limited amount of fabric has led to a great design and I like it all the more for that.

I'm mainly a knitter, but this year I want to start using my sewing machine a lot more - partly inspired by your blog and your ethics.

sorbetsurprise said...

Great shirt, had to say I just loove your dress in these pictures!

Unknown said...

Great shirt! I love your idea of doing a shirt a year. It's really sweet of you, but also achievable! Also, perfect shirt for you seeing a band like, oh I don't know, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis?

Anonymous said...

Love the photos, Zoe! Especially the last one :)
My friends and I have a tradition of boxing day drinks (to recover from family) and we all have historic drinking names chosen by group vote, your alter-egos totally just reminded me!

Rosie DIYcouture said...

This shirt is a great invention Zoe, nice work - particularly with regard to colour choice. Emerald green and black look so deep down good together. I would be tempted to steal this and wear it myself if I were you. Happy new year to you : ) - Rosie xx

THE HF BLOG said...

hi sweetie! great blog you got here! i just found it, what do you think about follow each other?

Lavender said...

Love the shirt, and love the photo of you two. And LOVE a dark & stormy ;)

WV = couth. fantastic!

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