Saturday, 28 March 2020

Seaweed Print Shirt

Oops, I started this post almost a month ago and kept forgetting to finish and publish it.
 I have made another everyday shirt! Just like my previous shirt, it's cut and sewn the same as an 18th century one, but in inaccurate modern printed fabric.
This fabric came in a big bag of donated fabrics to the college where my mother teaches, and she asked if I wanted it, which I did because it looks nice. I thought it was only a small piece of yardage, but it's very thin and turned out to be 19 and a third metres. It's a medium brown seaweed-y print on semi-sheer white fabric, which is probably either cotton or a rayon-cotton blend.
The design has a signature in it, and I googled it and found the artist! It's a print by Virginia Johnson, a designer in Toronto. I can't find this particular print on her website, but the signature looks exactly the same so it's definitely her.

The fabric came in 4 separate pieces and I'm pretty sure it was screenprinted by hand. The corners and end bits of the yardage are blank.
And there are tiny little flaws that you get when screenprinting, which I did a fair amount of in college.
Tiny blank spot.

A few little breaks in the lines where the ink didn't all get through.
I don't mind these at all, and they're hard to see in the pattern anyways.
The dimensions were different from those of the previous shirt on some pieces, because I wanted this one to be bigger and baggier, and last time I complained about the collar being too small.

Main body - 200 x 85 cm

Sleeves - 61 x 61 cm

Collar - 20 x 42.5 cm

Armhole seam binding bit - 44 x 2 cm

Underarm gussets - 13 x 13 cm

Neck gussets - 8 x 8 cm

Hem gussets - 5 x 5 cm

Shoulder strips - 4 x 19 cm

Cuffs - 20 x 5 cm
I also:

  • Cut a 30 cm slit down the front.
  • Left 16 cm closed at the shoulder when cutting the neck hole.
  • Gathered the sleeve heads down to fit a 43 cm area.
  • Left a 10 cm opening at the end of the sleeve seam, as before.
  • Left a 20 cm opening at the bottom of the side seam, because this shirt is a lot longer.
There's not much to say about the construction. It's basically the same as in my very detailed shirt construction post, but with more machine sewing.
I did the gathering by hand, and hemmed the front slit and finished the insides of the cuffs and collar by hand, but the gauzy fabric pulls a lot with tight hand stitches, so machine sewing was a better option.
Cuff machine sewn on.

Inside edge of cuff being hand sewn down.

Doing a buttonhole stitch around the bottom of the slit
pulled at the weave and left it kind of spiderwebby there.

Tiny rolled hem on the front slit.

Shoulder strip.

Armhole seam binding bit, as seen from the inside.

Underarm gusset.

Underarm gusset again.

Hem gussets.
I did the buttonholes by hand with DMC cotton pearl, and for the two buttons on the collar I used a couple of bird's eye thread buttons I made years ago. (Link to video on how to make those.)
I cut it to work with sleeve buttons, and I made the cuffs a bit shorter than last time because this fabric has a little bit of stretch on the cross grain and I didn't want it being too loose.

It took a total of 17 hours and 56 minutes to complete.
Because the fabric is so thin, I haven't properly worn it yet, but I will when summer arrives. It's warming up but there's still plenty of snow on the ground.

I think it looks very nice with my unlined linen waistcoat, but unfortunately that waistcoat really doesn't fit anymore. As I've mentioned before, my posture improved so drastically that most of my older waistcoats are too narrow across the chest. I can get away with wearing other waistcoats I made from that pattern because they're a lot stiffer and don't rumple and gape quite so badly, but this soft linen is just a hideous mess of wrinkles unless it's worn completely unbuttoned.
I'm not sure if I can alter it to fit better. I should make more unlined linen things either way, because I haven't got much summer clothing.
Alrighty, that's it for now. I haven't finished any garments since this shirt but I'm mostly done a waistcoat, and am working on that patchwork dressing gown. I also started working on the death's head button video I talked about wanting to do in my year in review post, but have been procrastinating because video editing is tedious and I have no experience with it.

I hope you are all safe and well, and washing your hands a lot.


  1. Thank you for the post. As I've said before, this is a beautiful shirt! Really nice work! I agree it looks very nice with the linen waistcoat. I'm sorry to hear that doesn't fit very well any more.

    Also, one quick question - are the measurements of your pieces including seam allowances and if so, how much? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! Yes, the measurements are the size of the pieces exactly as I cut them. I usually use about 1cm seam allowance, but it varies a bit. As long as you've got enough to turn under for the seam finishing it doesn't matter too much, except at the cuffs where the fit is most precise.

  2. A very nice looking shirt, and I love the seaweed design.
    Stay safe and healthy .
    Hugs, Mamoo

  3. I love this pattern and the shirt is great. It looks nicw even with this too small vaistcoat, I kind of can't wait to see you in true to size vaistcoats,vaistcoats are cool.