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This blog post contains gifted fabric. I was under no obligation to use or write about it. All comments as usual my own!
Do you like sewing for others? I swing back and forth on the subject but have settled on the fact that yes, I do, but only when I know they’ll appreciate it. I’ve definitely made gifts before that are taken at face value and looked at once, without considering the time and effort put in. It hurts when you don’t get a thank you for a handmade gift, or indeed any enthusiasm – but I’ve learnt not to take this personally. Some people would rather have a shop bought gift or voucher and honestly, that saves us both a lot of time!
So now when I do make gifts it’s only for people I know will love it, and this year that resulted in two men’s shirts. One for my boyfriend’s brother who has been hinting he’d like a me-made shirt ever since I made Jacob a tropical shirt for his birthday back in August. Jake loves everything tropical so, half as a joke, I made him this very loud shirt and was quite surprised it when he wore it all day on shift!
His brother is a stylish chap so when he complimented the shirt I knew I had to make one for him this Christmas, but didn’t want to use the same Vogue pyjama pattern which I hadn’t really clicked with.
I opted instead for the Wardrobe by Me Tropical Shirt which I bought on Etsy. I really liked the look of WBM patterns and was unsurprised after making it to see they originate in Scandinavia; the pattern was really straighforward, excellently drafted and the instructions were really pleasant to work with. Everything you’d associate with Scandi design! You can find more Scandinavian sewists and brands I love on my IG Scandi sewing guide.
The shirt features a burrito yoke and boxy fit and worked up a dream. The first version I made was in a viscose that my lovely friend Joyce had passed over from her stash and I knew would be perfect for this make. A drapey viscose makes the shirt super relaxed and with the coconut buttons sewn on, it was ready for the beach, or in this case Liverpool. My brother in law was wearing the shirt when we facetimed at NYE which I took as a very positive sign and will definitely make him some more in future!
The second version I gave to a friend of ours here in Amsterdam who we spent Christmas Day with. Also a bartender I knew he would love a tropical shirt as much as Jacob does!
I used this stunning fabric from Karta Batik which Jess gifted me in October. I’d hoped to use this for myself but sadly the snap lockdown here in NL left me shopping from my stash, and there was no arguing that this fabric was perfect for a tropical shirt.
Karta Batik fabrics are imported by Jess to the NL from her home town in Indonesia, and a percentage of the profits are donated to the charity there. It’s a wonderful set up and if you’d like to know more you can read my interview with Jessica here.
The fabrics come in panels and I was determined to squeeze every inch of the fabric into the pattern which would normally take about 2m! This particular batik had a design feature with a geometric print along the bottom so I incorporated that into the bottom of the shirt, and cut the pocket on the cross grain so that it stood out on the shirt.
The fabric itself was really nice to work with and I was surprised that after pre washing it, the cotton took on almost a crinkle, cheesecloth texture which I loved!!! It was perfect for the shirt. One thing I would do next time is dry it flat, however. As the fabric is very fine it did warp slightly at the bottom of the grain, however this didn’t impact the final make.
I don’t have any pics of the shirt on its recipient just yet but will share when I do!
Overall, I really rate this pattern, in fact so much I asked if WBM would like to feature in the newsletter and they said yes!
In January 2021 Modista subscribers get 15% off WBM patterns until 16 January. You can sign up for the newsletter here and you’ll receive a link to the codes. Remember, going forward discounts will be available via the Modista Patreon only. Why? Read all about it here.