Friday, 13 May 2016

Vlisco Crocs for Angus's Birthday Negroni

Hello there!

Here's my second in a row of unselfish sews. It's Angus's second birthday shirt, and I have to say it was a lot more painless to put together than last time. While there may not be the joy of creating another new look for myself in sewing gifts for Angus up, there is pleasure in making something up that fits its intended body straight out of the envelope! Straight size M, no fussing with darts and FBAs and the like for this fella.

I treated myself to a printed copy of Colette's Negroni shirt, although in reality it's not hugely different from the Great British Sewing Bee one that I made before – and in fact there are even a few design elements that I like better on the GBSB one, like the separate button band. However, it does have an option for long sleeves which may come in handy if I feel inclined to make a Christmas present!

This fabric is a lovely lot from our local Vlisco wholesaler, dangerously positioned next to the supermarket so it's very tempting to casually drop in when doing the weekly shop. This was one of the more expensive designs, and what with having to buy 6 yards at a go ended up costing £50. Not bad for such a beautiful print, but a shame I couldn't buy just the amount I needed as I have plenty spare and it wouldn't really be the done thing to transform into a garment for me!

Last year's shirt was shaped through purely my own design whims plus having the GBSB book already so the pattern to hand. This year Angus had a bit more of a say about what he was after – which was something with a pale background and more of a Hawaiian vibe. We've been watching Vinyl recently and he was quite taken with the shirt Zak wears on their California/Vegas adventure and was after something similar. Angus also has this incredible coffee table book My Free Damn vol 7 which is a collectors' geekout showcasing the wide variety of beautiful Hawaiian shirts that have been produced over the years. I think the Negroni definitely has a similar vintage casual look, but with the slim fit that Angus also likes. 

Unfortunately with all these images in mind neither my usual go-to for nice shirtings Simply Fabrics nor even the wealth of Goldhawk Road could deliver. Happily this Vlisco design really fit and the bill and was picked up while on another errand!

You may notice this isn't made up exactly like the pattern's samples. I made up the short-sleeved version but decided to have just one pocket so as not to break up the print too much, and for this to be a plain patch pocket. It's barely visible here but I think I have shifted the positioning perhaps a little too far into the armpit! Whoops. Anyway, at least it doesn't really show. Because of this I was a bit stumped as to why I had bought seven buttons as called for when I could only find five button placement marks down the shirt front. Eventually I realised this was because the original pockets have buttons too! I decided to alter the button placement a little, copying from another shirt he has so that I was using six, and leaving off the optional one for the button loop as I wasn't sure where to position it, especially as this shirt doesn't seem designed to be worn buttoned all the way up.

All in all, quite a painless make even though I had to take my time over cutting and getting the button placement just right to try and pattern match as best I could! I didn't do a perfect job but it's not bad, although perhaps the lower croc is grinning a little wider than he really should.

Wax prints don't have a very obvious right and wrong side either, so I had to mark up the wrong sides with chalk to prevent confusion. Luckily this does also mean you can have fun reversing prints when the fancy takes you with collars and yokes etc.

With such a large-scale print this shirt could have looked really different if I'd cut from another section of the cloth, I was just trying to get as many croc faces in one view as I could, but I think this has affected the overall balance of colour, as it's definitely darker on the left side where the crocodiles are more concentrated.

I would definitely make this again, and I'd been keen to try the long sleeves next time. Maybe in a few months though, once I've had time to restock on all my personal projects!

Hopefully I'll have a nice sundress to share with you soon, if this lovely weather holds up. Or perhaps a nice shirtdress, now that I've experienced the neatly turned out collar results with the point turner I treated myself to for this pattern!

NorseOtter xxx


  1. Wowsers!! I think the print matching is brilliant!

    1. Thanks Lynne! It's definitely made me want to get more adventurous with shirts for myself!