Monday, September 12, 2016

Classic White Harrison Shirt

Wow, for some reason it feels like for-e-ver since I posted anything! It's not been that long, but there's been a lot of sewing that I haven't been able to post about and I've been itching to! So satisfying to click publish on this one!

Continuing on with my quest for more solids and basics in my wardrobe, I give you my classic white buttondown! Buttonup? Whatever. You know what I mean. Collared shirt with buttons.

This is the brand spanking new Harrison shirt pattern from Cashmerette, described as "a fitted button-down shirt that doesn’t gape over curves... designed with double princess seams for a uniquely curve-friendly fit and all the features of a classic shirt." It's got the Cashmerette signature cup size option, back princess seams, traditional collar with collar stand, yoke, tower plackets and all the shirt-y bells and whistles...

I was a tester for this pattern and can tell you that Jenny put a lot of work into getting this pattern right! This shirt is from the final version of the pattern.

For my Harrison, I chose a size 14 C/D at the bust and shoulders, graded to 16 at the hip, my typical Cashmerette size, which turned out to be perfect.

I opted for basic white fabric. But not too basic! This is a pretty, textured cotton. It has a tone-on-tone floral design woven in that gives it a little bit of a permanently wrinkly look. It's incredibly soft. A little transparent, I now see in the photos, but what white shirt isn't?

I LOVE the fit in the body!! It skims over the body without clinging or pulling. Awesome. The sleek fit makes it perfect for tucking into a skirt, but the shirt-tail hem also looks cute un-tucked with jeans or pants. 

Here, I demonstrate the Harrison shirt with black skinny ankle pants. This outfit could go two ways: restaurant waitstaff or Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. I chose latter and did my best to emulate Mrs. Mia Wallace's epic dance scene (you know, before things went south and she ended up with a hypodermic needle sticking out of her heart). I may have ended up looking more like a Thriller back-up dancer, but that's ok, because I had fun... take it away!:

I have to say that the sleeve placket method and instructions are awesome. These are my third and fourth sleeve plackets ever (#1, a success and #2, a failure, were during Harrison shirt testing, using a slightly different method). I am delighted with how painless they were to sew! Jenny's instructions for other tricky bits like the cuffs and collar are also fabulous.

Speaking of cuffs, somehow I managed to put the buttonhole on the wrong side of the cuff (doh!), so it was on the part of the sleeve placket that goes underneath. So I had to sew my button on the inside of the cuff. Ha. I am an idiot sometimes.

My only spot of trouble with the Harrison shirt pattern is the sleeves. Somehow I forgot between testing and sewing the final pattern (this shirt is made from the final pattern) that I found the sleeves to be far too tight in the bicep area. Oops. I cut the sleeves for this shirt from the pattern as-is and could barely move my arms it was so tight across the bicep. I didn't have any more fabric to re-cut the sleeves with a full bicep adjustment (because I had already cut a Springfield top out of the remaining fabric!), so I used the cheater method and sewed the bicep area with a really small seam allowance. It worked out ok, but you can see its still a bit tight there, so I really should have made the pattern adjustment before cutting.

I also struggled a bit with the sleeve cap ease. Although I eased the fabric in with no accidental gathers or tucks, there is still a bit of poofiness at the shoulder than no amount of ironing or steaming will remove. The more I sew set-in sleeves, the more I think I am on Team Sleeve Cap Ease is Bogus. Or maybe I just need to improve my sleeve cap gathering and sewing technique! I've made another Harrison since this, though, and got the sleeves in perfectly, so perhaps it's just this fabric, which stretches out of shape easily.

All that whingeing about sleeves, but I do have to say that I am happy about the sleeve length! After having to take like 9 miles of length out of the monkey-arm Archer sleeves, it was nice to have sleeves that are the proper length right out of the envelope.

Anyway, long story short: I love the Harrison shirt and have already sewn a second one, with a full bicep adjustment. Coming soon!