Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sew Over It Alex Shirt

Hi everyone! 

It's been a while, and I have to confess I've given into slacking off blogging again while the light and weather has been too bad to get decent photos. I have a little stack of things I've been making to share with you as photo opportunities arise however!

I got my brother to buy me the Sew Over It City Break Capsule Wardrobe collection for my birthday back in January, and the first thing I've made out of it is the Alex Shirt. I plan to make the shirtdress version at some point too, but didn't quite have enough of my intended fabric this time.

I've used some drapey cotton that I bought in Istanbul. I do like it, but I'm not sure if it's the quality or if maybe I washed it on a rougher-than-intended setting in the machine, but there are a few weak spots in the fabric that I've noticed as I was sewing this up. To be honest, I only really bought this fabric as I'd decided to have a nosey in one of the shops in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and ended up waking up the very elderly gentleman who was looking after the shop. After that I couldn't leave empty-handed, so grabbed a couple of metres of this. It wasn't very expensive, but not a crazy bargain either. I'm sure I could have done better with more of a rummage around the open market areas (see photo of me posing with textile merchant statue below) but I was a bit overwhelmed by choice! I'm glad I'm making what I did get up finally after a year and a half in the stash, and I think paired with this pattern looks a bit '70s bohemian art teacher.

It's come together pretty well but could have been better cut, I was a bit distracted by other less than fun things happening in my life so I wasn't as in the zone as much as I should have been. The pattern matching isn't really happening everywhere (and I had to rip out and re-stitch in place one of the pockets as it was a bit lopsided) but is decent enough across the front.

I like this pattern. It's simple, flowy and easy-wear. Perfect in fact for a weekend getaway. It actually feels quite pyjama-y (in a nice way) in this fabric so I'm tempted to make another without the sleeve tabs and maybe experimenting with a bit of piping around the collar, bottom of sleeves and top of pocket as an actual pyjama top. It's quite a simple make with stripped back details like an easy convertible collar, roll-up sleeves with tab, a nice box pleat for more room beneath the yoke in the back, and simple folded back button bands. I like the more relaxed look, and of course this means it's a simple enough make to whip up in time for your chosen getaway! In these shots I've already had a previous full day's wear, but it's casual enough to look OK with a bit of rumpling – again, good for holidays!

All of the patterns in this collection have this simplified aesthetic and quick turnaround potential, which of course you can embellish if you have the time and expertise. I actually quite like the idea of the curated collection in itself and while I may not end up making all of the patterns offered in the booklet, I can easily see where I could swap out other patterns in my collection to make a more 'me' version of the capsule wardrobe. The Erin skirt is definitely on my make list though, and the Molly top and dress are tempting in their simplicity. I don't really need to make the Mia jeans as I have the Safrans (which I've paired the shirt with here) that are similar but have cute front pocket detailing, but if I find some interesting stretch denim colours I may make a pair of Mias up to try the fit. The Lola coat looks elegant but I worry the waterfall style may make me look a bit frumpy with my bust. I really like the Alex shirt and shirtdress in itself but I can see mash-up potential with my beloved Melilot shirt pattern too.

I cut the size 12 straight out. Technically I should have sized up at the bust, but in such a loose-fitting style I couldn't be bothered to do an FBA and didn't want to grade between sizes as I wanted the shoulders to be small enough. It looks fine, but a fitting stickler would probably notice my side seams are pulling forward a little. I think I might try and adjust this somehow for the next version, but want to avoid darts to keep the lines simple.

I made this up as instructed except that I decided on my own button placement so have 7 instead of 5 buttons to ensure there was no bust gaping. I also decided to do french seams instead of overlocking as I thought this fabric needed the added strength and would look nicer (plus this only involved setting up one machine, although of course requires a lot more pressing!). I also made sure to stay stitch the neckline and arm holes, which the instructions don't tell you to do- but I would definitely recommend it as there is a fair bit of manipulation around the curved areas, especially when the instructions have you twist the yokes to achieve a neatly encased finish. I also decided to stitch in the ditch to secure my collar as my handstitching was looking a bit shoddy and I realised too late that I'd attached the machine-stitched side with a basting stitch by mistake so wanted to make sure it was secure. I did my first ever sleeve tabs for this shirt - I quite like them! For future versions I think I could mash up with the Melilot sleeve to get the tower placket for more variation though, although I'd keep the just-off the shoulder sleeve heads of the Alex rather than the properly dropped sleeves of the Melilot, as I think it's more flattering on my slightly thick upper arms. 

I'm looking forward to taking this away to Madrid with me, and am planning to make many more, especially now Spring seems to be in the air! I'll leave with this snap of me enjoying a post-photoshoot patty. 

What are you making for Spring?

NorseOtter xx


  1. I love the fabric - I told myself I wasn't buying any more sewing books, but I might have to get this one (maybe I'll reward myself once I've made something out of Gertie's ultimate dress book!).

    1. Thank you! It's a nice collection and easy to achieve with just 5 pieces, although it being PDF-only means it involves all the extra cutting and sticking at the start! I have Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book too but admit to not having got cracking with it yet either...maybe when it gets warmer though!