Today, I’m starting with this rather plain pale blue gingham shirt, which I picked up in Age UK in Orpington for £3.49.
I thought it was something of a bargain, given its excellent condition, complete lack of wear and stains, and decent fit.
It’s 100% cotton and feels lovely.
The inspiration for this shirt is taken directly from the above picture on Wendy’s Lookbook (a fashion blog that I follow). Wendy’s shirt is by Marissa Webb (sadly can’t find it online) and I’m quite taken with it. My shirt is getting a similar organza back section as Wendy’s, using some scraps of blue poly organza that I had left over from this Burberry skirt refashion a while back.
I measured on my body how high I wanted the organza section to hit, placing the seam at a rather modest 22cm from the hem. I then popped a few pins in to get the lines right. You can see that I’ve folded my shirt down the centre back to get it symmetrical.
I cut 1cm below the intended seam line to leave a small seam allowance.
Then I used the part I cut off as a template for cutting a piece of organza. Note that despite the seams and darts in this piece, it lies 99% flat. So I just cut one flat piece of organza on the fold.
I left 2cm at the top edge (to account for the original piece having been cut 1cm inside the intended seam line, plus 1cm seam allowance on the organza side), and left a 1cm hem.
Then I pinned the WRONG sides together in order to make a French seam between the pieces. I wanted a French seam because (1) the organza frays like anything, and (2) the seam may be visible from the outside of the shirt as the organza is transparent.
As per normal with a French seam, the first step is to sew at half the seam allowance, so 5mm in this case, wrong sides together.
Then trim half of what’s sticking out away – this was 2.5mm which turned out to be tiny.
Then you press the seam back on itself, and sew again at half the original seam allowance with right sides together. Here’s how it looked at this point.
Then, I made a machine rolled hem on the organza part, which I mis-calculated. I sewed my first line of basting stitches where I wanted the final hem to be, when it should have been 2mm or so below that. Classic mistake.
To make the hem, you press the excess up exactly on the row of basting stitches, then stitch very close to the edge, which I am trying to show in the image below.
Then, you trim it very close to the stitches, and remove the basting stitches.
Then you fold the tiny hem up again and stitch once more. You can see that mine is too short – I wanted it to exactly meet the shirt hem and it doesn’t.
Here it is from the inside.
I was going to cut the cuffs off and shorten the sleeves but they had a nice rouleau loop button fastening detail which I liked, so I left them.
I was glad about the decision to French seam, because the inside IS visible from the back.
Overall, I loved wearing this shirt, despite its non-flush hem. My shirt isn’t the same shape as Wendy’s, and hers is a bit oversized too, so mine looks different. But I’m happy enough with the execution of the concept.
Ripped jeans are a totally new style direction for me, but I’m enjoying it so far!
Here’s the back. Looking at this picture I think I will have another go at pressing the curved seam with a hotter iron (possibly I was too cautious with heat on the poly organza).