the #wardrobebuilder project - Shirts and blouses


Shirts and blouses really are a wardrobe staple for me. They can be formal or casual, worn all year round, and it gives an opportunity to use a huge range of fabrics. Obviously pattern choice makes a big difference in whether a shirt looks best for work or for casual wear but I'm tempted to make the same pattern in two different fabrics to try and achieve two different looks. I wear shirts and blouses a lot for work all through the year and now I'm looking to make something more formal for this part of my wardrobe. I'd like to add to the casual section as well though seeing are so many ways of styling the same pattern, varying fabrics and details. I have a feeling this month I might end up making more than one item for my wardrobe.

In other news, although I'm still spending hours looking at fabrics online, I'm trying desperately to work my way through my current stash. This Susie pattern from Sew Over It is a great example of getting the most out of all those smaller than 1m pieces by adding contrast collars or cuffs.

I'll admit I'm also a little nervous about tackling a shirt. As a beginner there are some features which look a bit tricky, like collars and buttonholes. I've had a go at these once before in my Mimi blouse, but I'm not very confident still. However, the great thing about grouping shirts and blouses together this month is that if I really can't face the buttonholes on a shirt, there are plenty of blouse options to choose from! I wear this Pussy Bow Blouse all the time for work. Working with georgette made it a bit trickier but I think a rayon would work just as well. I am really keen to use a beautiful chiffon crepe from my stash to make a shirt, but I am very apprehensive about french seaming a collar...leave me a comment if you have any tips on this!

Shirts and blouses that I really want to add to my wardrobe this year...

I have already discovered a drawback to grouping shirts and blouses together - this wishlist is huge!

1. Cheyenne tunic by Hey June Handmade - There is more than one variation of this, and I like the relaxed look.

2. Camas Blouse by Thread Theory - you can make this top in both knit and woven fabrics, and there are a lot of variations (including leaving out buttons)

3. Rosa shirt by Tilly and the Buttons - there is an online class to accompany this pattern that will help overcome trickier features like the collar stand and buttons.

Especially for you lovely #wardrobebuilders -an exclusive 15% off code for this class for the month of February. Use the code 


 to receive your discount. 

PS. Newsletter subscribers get early access to special offers. There are more to come this year so sign up here to get in ahead.

4. Susie blouse by Sew Over It - clearly very versatile, and no fiddly fastenings make it a little easier to make. Definitely a contender for the workwear wardrobe I think.

5. Melilot shirt by Deer and Doe - some slightly trickier elements here I think, and a feminine rounded collar

6. Simplicity 1590 - This is a retro 1940's pattern with interesting variations....I do like a bit of vintage styling.

As you can see I tend to focus mainly on indie patterns, but I'm definitely interested in suggestions from the bigger companies so if you've got one leave it in the comments.

Fabrics that I'm loving right now for this project

Again, so many fabrics will work well for shirts and blouses....this is going to be hard to choose from. I really hope I can use up some of the stash for this one (about time).

Cotton lawns - When I think of a shirt I usually picture a nice crisp cotton and some of the nicest prints are in cotton fabrics. Another plus is that cottons are usually quite good value too. I do love Atelier Brunette cottons - they are good quality and have interesting designs....and I haven't met many who don't fancy a Liberty print either. So having an opportunity to use one of these is quite exciting to me (cotton does like to crease though which puts me off a little).

Viscose and rayons - One of my preferred fabrics for making. Again, I like the variety of prints and find them really comfortable to wear. There is still a creasing factor but I find it's less than with cotton lawn. These drapey fabrics are a little trickier to work with than cotton, but taking a bit of time should help. (The Fold Line just published a discount at Stoff and Stil who have a large range of these; 15% off until 15 February with Thefoldlinexstoffstil).

Silks, chiffons and georgettes - A lot of my workwear is made from georgette as I find sheer fabrics easy to wear. They don't crease and do look quite smart, but it is definitely trickier to sew with these fabrics. If a pattern doesn't have instructions for sewing with French seams I do struggle a little more. This is something I do really want to do but not sure I can quite manage it yet.

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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