And just like that, it truly feels like autumn here in Oxford! We have had quite a few days of non-stop rain and grey skies, so I have packed away my summer sandals and started dreaming of knitted scarves, wooly socks, and cosying up by a fire in a pub (…until 10pm). I have still got a handful of colourful summer sewing projects that need to be finished up, but I really fancied making something more suited to the changed weather.
This is a lovely Lady McElroy cotton lawn that I picked up a 2 metre remnant of a few months ago. It is called Retro Lifestyle and I love the muted, understated colour palette of this fabric; it is a pretty big departure from my usual more bold and colourful fabric choices! The print of armchairs, plant pots and espresso makers has such a mid-century modern feel to it — I can imagine Peggy Olsen from Mad Men wearing something like this on her day off. I am such a big fan of the Lady McElroy printed fabrics, as they are usually quite unusual designs and not something you tend to see in RTW fashion, and this cotton lawn is so light and comfortable to wear. Also, a lot of the cotton lawns listed on the Lady McElroy website have a little badge for ethical and sustainable sourcing, which is another big tick for me.
Although I tend to favour fancy additional design elements (collars! ruffles! gathering! pleats! ridiculously OTT sleeves!), I knew this print alone was enough to suit a more understated pattern design — no bells and whistles this time. I was leaning towards a classic button-up shirt, as I keep giving myself sewing challenges this year (like learning to sew with stretch fabrics) and I have not made a shirt yet. I decided to go for McCalls 8067 (also known as #LivMcCalls), which is a pretty simple loose-fitting blouse with four options. I went for View A, which is at a cropped length with short sleeves and no collar or lapel, but I will definitely be making the other options in the future; it is a really great little pattern. Despite being a cropped option, I like that this shirt is long enough to be tucked into high-waisted skirts and I like how it looks untucked over jeans. I also like the v-neck isn’t too deep either, which means I can wear this to work.
I didn’t make any fitting adjustments to M8067, which is unusual for me. The bodice doesn’t have any darts and the bust has quite a lot of ease factored in, so I didn’t even need to make a FBA! I cut the size smaller than I usually take and haven’t had any issues with gaping between the buttons, which is always a plus. On the original pattern, the side seams have little splits, but I finished my seams as French seams throughout, so I left those out for another day. I also used the Made by Rae facing trick for the neckline that I now absolutely swear by – I cannot imagine doing facings the ‘normal way’ again now!
Given the overall busyness of the pattern, I wasn’t too concerned about trying to pattern match too closely. However, I did put in quite a bit of effort into pattern-matching the pockets on this shirt, as I thought it would look too jarring to have a disruption of the pattern at the bust. Sew Sarah Smith had a really helpful blog post on how she pattern-matched her pockets on her Closet Core Caroline Pyjamas, which I followed to ensure my pockets blended in seamlessly. I am quite happy with the finished result!
M8067 was quite a speedy little make and would be great for a beginner sewist wanting to try out a simple shirt. I will definitely be trying out the other options, especially View D with the billowy balloon sleeves — I am picturing a delicate crêpe de chine with a ditsy floral print. What would you make?