Bless your beautiful hide! Seven Brides, Seven Brothers, and a sleeveless Granville shirt…

So here we are, the last days of August and change is already in the air, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness lurking on the horizon. It has been cold in London. Wearing tights cold.

Well, screw you, rubbish British summer, I say! I don’t care if I’m starting to button my cardigans all the way to the top! I WILL make an inappropriately summery sleeveless shirt in spite of you! And wear it to the Regents Park Open Air Theatre (to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), yes indeedy.

In case you were wondering, we had a ‘wonderful, wonderful day’…

I’ve had this Liberty lawn now for who knows how many years. When I was planning my Tilly and the Buttons Fifi, I thought it might be just the ticket and even went so far as to buy coordinating bias binding for the straps. But Fifi is bias-cut on the top front, and in panels across the back, which would distort and break up this rather sweet little pattern. Look closely and you’ll see it’s composed of sketchy illustrations of buses, taxis, boats and bicycles, all intertwined with comparatively oversized flowers. Once I’d laid out the fabric to cut Fifi, it simply didn’t seem right, and back it went into the stash chest to live another day.

It was actually as I was filing my pdf patterns in the same stash chest that I hit upon the idea of marrying the lawn with Granville, only a sleeveless summery version, and knew at once the fabric had found its pattern soulmate. It was a tight squeeze but a couple of elements worked in my favour. Firstly, Granville is quite a long shirt, and my plain white version reaches down to the widest part of my hips. I wanted this sleeveless version to sit neatly tucked in, but also not to swamp capri pants or shorts, so I shaved a hefty four inches off the length. I didn’t shorten at the waist but simply cut the bottom hemline higher. I also narrowed the width of the shirt at the bottom of the side seams so it wasn’t quite so flared.

‘Spring, spring, spring!’ Or … not.

I cut one of the back yokes, one of the collar stand pieces and one of the collar pieces from plain white cotton. The lawn is very fine and I didn’t want any of the print to show through on double-sided pieces; it was also a marvellous fabric-saving measure. I’m not sure exactly, but I think I squeezed this shirt out of a mere 1 m of lawn.

I also followed Tasia’s advice and Grainline’s tutorial (for transforming the Archer shirt into a sleeveless) and removed some of the width from the shoulder and the back yoke seam.

‘Goin’ courtin’, goin’ courtin’…’ Hence the rather coy smile πŸ™‚

For some reason in my first version and this one again, my collar and collar stand come out as much too wide for my neck opening. I don’t understand where I’m going wrong here – has anyone else had this problem?

Working with the lawn for the collar was just a dream, so easy to manipulate, top-stitch, etc. It’s the perfect fabric for a newby to shirt-making as it makes all those fiddly corners and curves so much more cooperative. And this time I remembered to adjust my stitch length for all the top stitching! Go me!


And I even used that Fifi-destined bias binding to finish the sleeves. I am rather proud of this. The full bust adjustment I’d transferred to the pattern from my white version came good for me again, the shirt just fits so well across the back and front and IMO looks equally tidy buttoned up or open-necked. I’d quite like to try it underneath a little jumper with just the collar and ‘tails’ visible, although I need to be careful not to go too Pleasantville on the styling…

In fact I’m so pleased I wore it again today, when it demonstrated its affinity for high-waisted trews.

P.S. Listen out for the sewing reference in the song ‘Sobbin’ Women’ – it’s just perfect πŸ™‚

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