Monday, February 20, 2012

the vernon shirt (read: i'm cool)

I think I've mentioned before how I don't like to dress too casually (t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, sneakers, etc.) but I decided to branch out on the casual tree and make myself a good ole plaid flannel shirt. I'm just so damn hip. I should be in a band. 

I'm calling this the Vernon Shirt, in honor of Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Why? Because he wears plaid flannel a lot. Also, I'm cool so I make music references. This year Bon Iver won the Grammy for Best New Artist, even though their first album was released FOUR YEARS AGO. Eh. Anyway, Justin wore plaid flannel when I saw him perform live. He also wears plaid flannel in many of his Google images. Of course it makes sense; he is in an indie folk band. And when your band name means "good winter" and many of your songs have sad wintry themes, certainly you want to wear warm flannel clothing at all times.

 He looks just as awkward posing for photos in his plaid shirt as I do in my plaid shirt.


This thing ain't exactly sexy, especially without a belt, but it sure is snuggly. Flannel may be one of my favorite fabrics to work with. Less pinning is required because the fuzziness of the fabric makes layers stick together without shifting. It's more forgiving of crooked stitches. It holds a crease well. It hardly frays, or is relatively slow to fray. And it feels awesome to wear. However, it is more difficult to seam rip and can become bulky at seams.

I used the Lisette Traveler's Dress (Simplicity 2246) pattern for this, but obviously made it a long shirt instead of a shirt dress. 

I followed View A but made a sloped hem like View B. I cut mine a few inches shorter than the tunic length so it would look better with jeans. I loved this pattern, even though now I wish I had gone down a size because there's a lot of ease. It's a great shirt/shirt dress for beginners to make because there's no yoke, annoying yoke facing, sleeve placket or cuffs to fiddle with. I made only one pocket cut on the bias for visual interest. I actually completely ran out of fabric, but I think one pocket is sufficient for all my pen-holding needs.

This shirt would have come together in a snap if I didn't have to match plaids. I've never matched plaids on a shirt, and GEEZ was that an ordeal. It's not just about cutting it out accurately, which was difficult enough with limited yardage. I learned that even when plaids match at the raw edges, they're probably slightly shifted at the actual seam line 5/8 inch away, so you have to check that, too. And your presser foot might scoot the top layer a tiny bit as you sew, even with pins, so even after all that triple-checking beforehand, it still might not come out the way you intended.

I cut the sleeves without intending to match those plaids to the body of the shirt. Turns out it almost lines up, which is super annoying. Either be perfect or be completely off, please. I made an oopsie and the plaid design is upside down on one sleeve, but at least the major lines are symmetrical in terms of placement, if not color. I'm not going to be too angry about the imperfections because I looked at the other three RTW plaid shirts I own (remember, I'm cool) and none of them having matching plaids across all seams. Therefore, I win.

I developed an eye twitch while making this shirt, and I don't know if that was due to the stress of plaid-matching or the agony of somehow having a Bruno Mars song in my head for three days straight. Hey, Bruno wears plaid flannel, too. I must really be cool.

If I were releasing an EP and happened to call it "Hair Shadow" or something equally bad, this would be the photo for the cover. Does that photo exude the aloofness, mystery and vulnerability as is required for female singer songwriters?:

Okay, back to business. With this finished project, I have officially sewn through (or given away) all the winter-appropriate fabrics in my stash. Now all that's left are floral or sailboat-themed cotton sheets that are probably too adorable for me to use anyway, even in warmer weather. It's February 21st, folks. What should I do? Continue with cold-weather sewing, or move onto the fun stuff? What does your sewing schedule look like at this point of the season?