Saturday, 13 February 2016

Greg's Malaysia Shirt!


It's February! *phew* And I've been busy, but alas not with sewing.  But today I did manage to convince the illusive Greg to let me photograph him in his Christmas present - yes, it's taken this long just to get a photograph - so I present to you... Greg's Malaysia shirt!

We bought this fabric when we were on holiday in Kuching, Malaysia in 2014.  It's a traditional Sarawak batik with a shot of gold through it and a border pattern.

I picked up roughly 2.5m (it's only about 1.15m wide) for about £6, and it sat untouched until last Christmas when I finally got my act together.

I'm actually quite impressed with this pattern - it's one of the more modern, wearable men's shirts patterns I've seen.
Because it's such a special fabric, I decided to do it properly and I bought BurdaStyle 6874 - a formal men's shirt sewing pattern in a slim fit style.

Style A: Contrast collar & cuffs with covered button placket and wide back pleats.  Style B: Button down collar with one open pocket and close back pleats.  Style C: Regular collar with two button-close pockets and narrow back pleats.
I also did a full run through of the pattern, after taking Greg's measurements and choosing the right size from the packet, and made quite a dashing white self-stripe shirt with contrasting collar and cuffs and concealed buttons (Style A) out of an old bed sheet... And then he tried it on and it was just too small; too tight on the chest and about 2" too short on the arms and body (my fault for not checking!).  Consequentially, the bed sheet shirt will be finding a new home with one of our friends!  Only then did I made a proper toile of the body and one of the sleeves to test the length adjustments.

For the final item, I decided to make a Style B front (without the pocket), with Style A back and Style C collar.  I started by fussy cutting the front with the button holes first, and sewed the placket down.  I then used this to line up the rest of the fabric to make sure all the patterns lined up.

Would you look at that pattern lining up! I'm still chuffed that I managed that!
Finger to show you where the button placket is as it's a bit camouflaged.
The back yoke is meant to be cut on the diagonal to give a bit of bias stretch when moving, but the pattern was so uneven that I decided it was better to cut it straight.  I've warned Greg not to do any heavy lifting in the shirt!

The centre back yoke lines up with the body apart from at the ends where the pleats are, but no one will notice!
The sleeves are also lined up with the body pattern to make the most of the border pattern on the fabric - I used the border pattern to make a slightly contrasted collar and cuffs to give the shirt a more formal and polished feel.

The pattern goes slightly askew at the bottom as it is hand printed.
The collar and cuffs are made from the full border pattern, so have a different pattern inside and out (in case Greg's feeling funky and wants to pop his collar... hahaha).

I originally cut the yoke on the bias (as per instructions) but it just looked daft, so I decided to use that piece for the inside yoke lining.
The only part of the pattern that proved problematic (despite doing the fully bed sheet shirt run through) was the button placket.  The instructions aren't very clear and there's no real way to match the pattern.  Thankfully it's not hugely obvious as the rest of the shirt is so bold that you don't notice them.

The button placket design also leaves an unfinished edge on the inside, so I covered that up with a little square of fabric.
I think overall if probably took me a good 8 hours to make this shirt from start to finish, as I had to be so precise cutting it and fully tacked the stitch lines during the construction.  I also went through two 250m thread spools making it - which was a surprise - because of all the top stitching.

All in all, I would definitely make it again.  It's a really nicely fitting shirt after the pattern has been adjusted and (as with any sewing) it's hugely satisfying to know that you made it out of a sheet of fabric.

I did go a little bit mad while making it though because of the intense pattern.  I don't know if it's just that I was really excited about the new Star Wars movie, or if I'd just been sewing too long... Anyone see the resemblance?

Look closely...

Darth Vader's TIE Advanced X1 Starfighter (source)
Speak to you soon!

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