We are thrilled to welcome Julian Collins as our guest blogger! He's a super-talented sewist and shirtmaker, and one of our ShirtFest collaborators. You may have seen him in the December 2020 issue of “Sew News”, or on Instagram @juliancreates, where his colorful shirts always make a splash. Here he explores color-blocking, using our “Disappearing Checks” fabrics in two colorways: Twilight Blue and Pink on Ivory.
In my mind summer time absolutely calls for natural fibers, breathable garments, and relaxing! When asked to do the ShirtFest by Loom & Stars I was very excited because I had been a fan of their fabrics from afar for a long time. I first learned of Loom & Stars a couple of years ago after reading posts from Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness about his shirt using the fabric (here and here) and I will be honest I was intimidated. I know I can sometimes be a little rough with fabric so I was nervous I would have a terrible mess on my hands. Though there was a little trepidation I was very excited to get the opportunity to experience the fabric first hand. Even from the initial swatches I knew this was going to be fun because all I wanted to do was rub the swatches along my face because they were soo baby soft! Once I had an Idea I went full steam ahead.
I decided to go with two different color ways of the Disappearing Check as it would allow me to get creative with seaming details for a pattern with more than the normal shirt pieces. For the pattern I went to one of my newly discovered pattern companies: Unicose La Molderia. This South American pattern brand based in Chile offers a variety of modern designs for men, women and children in a nice size range. I decided to go with Camisa cuello Mao Hombre 1203 which translates to "Men’s Mao Collar Shirt".
I loved that the front of the shirt was separated into three sections which would allow for color blocking. From here I printed out the pdf pattern in the 3x size I purchased as well as the instruction sheet which I then used google to translate. One interesting thing is that the instructions are very sparse so it is important to have a basic understanding of garment construction and the order of operations in assembling a garment. Once everything was cut out the shirt quickly came together. One thing I like about Unicose is that their patterns are very well drafted; that is especially evident in how easy the sleeves go in. When the foundation of a shirt comes together easily I can put my time and focus on the details.
Ideally I wanted to use a sew-in cotton organdy as interfacing in the collar and placket but with me being out of my sewing room I went for a very light weight fusible that gave the right amount of structure while not overpowering this very light fabric. I made sure to use an appropriate weight needle and turned down the speed on my machine so that I made sure my machine didn't eat the fabric while sewing. From sewing to pressing this fabric was an absolute joy to work with and made me want to give it that extra touch which included hand sewing the facings of the collars and placket which I found to be rather relaxing and meditative. To finish up I decided to accent this shirt with large shell buttons and a neutral color bias tape to finish the hem.
I finished the shirt just in time to wear it for 4th of July and it was an absolute treat in the summer heat. I was having so much fun that I actually forgot to take shots in the shirt until well after I stuffed my belly full of yummy food. And even as my body shifted I still found the shirt comfortable to wear, and I have been grabbing to throw it on in the week since due to its casual but classy style and breathability. I am already searching Loom and Stars for the next fabric I want to create a garment with.