COMPLETED: Islander Sewing Systems City Western Blouse #210

01138195de65c9a210e77b5e63c3fef5fe9372fdf3One day I was sitting outside of a Starbucks waiting for a meeting with my manager and this young woman walked by that caught my eye.  I probably looked a little strange staring at another chick, but who cares….I wanted to get the look since she was dressed the way I like to dress….Jeans, cowboy boots and a western shirt.  Anyone else find themselves staring at people that you want to copy their clothes?

When I was looking for fabric for my cape, I bought this great poly/rayon plaid twill…without a use in mind.  Then  I remembered that I had this pattern in my stash that I thought I’d never use because when I got it, I was not at all experienced enough to make a button up shirt.  Funny how things progress and minds change!  Thank goodness stashes exist…it was perfect!  The interesting thing is that it is the same pattern company that my cape came from and when I received my fabric, I immediately loved how they complemented each other.  It was a match made in heaven!

note:  I won this pattern along with some fat quarters of Pendelton Wool about 3 years ago at the Sewing Expo in Puyallup, WA

Janet Pray does a good job explaining each process from the planning to the construction using primarily garment factory techniques.  Since western shirts are often plaid, she included definitions of balanced vs. unbalanced plaids as well as tips on matching.  As sewists, we are always instructed to buy extra fabric for pattern matching, however…I did not.  I figured that since I was making a size small and if the extra large needed the same yardage…well surely it would be enough.  Right?  Wrong!!!

It took me about 2 days (morning and evening) to get it all cut out.  The plaid stripes match for the most part everywhere except the back sleeve seam and the sleeve/armscye.  But overall I am very pleased…after-all, this is the very first time I have worked with  matching plaids.

Plaid matching side back with center back
Plaid matching side back with center back

Both the front and back yokes were placed on the bias, so no need to sweat the placement. If I make another western style shirt, I’ll definitely increase the size of the front yokes because the just seem a bit diminutive for my taste. Also, the back yoke has a center seam that I will place on the fold next time which will necessitate a balanced plaid.

As for the fit, I used a size small and I like the fit. I measured the flat pattern minus seam allowances, of course, and compared them to a shirt that I like from my closet. I like the shaping of this make, but would prefer my bust darts a tad lower and a 3/4″ swayback adjustment.  For this make, the only pattern change I made was to decrease the sleeve length by 1inch only because I did not have enough fabric….remember how I didn’t buy extra yardage? The sleeves are a perfect length…yay!

image image

I don’t want to forget to share a little tip I learned from Angela Wolf. When topstiching a collar, for instance, I needle a length of thread into the collar point…it helps pull it under the presser foot.  Sometimes a pointy collar (or pocket flap) can get stuck on the feed and leave you with tiny stitches that don’t look vey good.  Here is a close up of what I do.

Needle thread through the tip of corner...
Needle thread through the tip of corner…
...after turning the corner
…after turning the corner

I love when I don’t have to sew on a bunch of buttons….this shirt uses SNAPS!  The coolest tool ever invented that is AFFORDABLE is the “Snapsetter Tool”.  This thing is 99% fail-proof. Although, as you can see…the sleeve cuff buttons cracked under too much force…they are cheepo snaps.  The ones down the front are Dritz size 16…and no cracks. yay!

oopsy! they cracked...
oopsy! they cracked…

Not too shabby, now I can go forth and get my country chick style on!


Disclaimer: none of the links in this post are affiliate nor do I get anything for linking. I simply want to share in case it may help a future sewing friend!

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