Making Waves

 

I honestly didn’t think it would be such a huge gap between posts this month, especially given how much sewing I’ve done!  Anyway, you cannot turn back time, so all I can do is get on and show you all what I’ve been up to!  I’m starting with my latest Olya Shirt, pattern from Paper Theory.  This is my fourth, and I really do have a plan to make another.  We were in London last weekend, so I finally managed to get photos, thanks to Daughter No1!

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After making two in different types of viscose and one in cotton lawn, I now have a linen shirt.  I sized down with this version, the others are a tad too long in the sleeve, more noticeable in the viscose versions.  I thought it might be nice to have an oversized shirt that wasn’t quite that oversized, especially in a fabric that’s stiffer and less drapey.  It was the right decision!  So this is the size 12, with no alterations or adjustments.

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Olya Shirt from Paper Theory

The fabric is from Simply Fabrics in Brixton, the first time I’ve bought fabric from this shop.  I’d been browsing for a while, and when I saw this stuff I knew I needed it in my stash.  But I hesitated for a bit – hesitation that was rewarded with an announcement of a nice big discount!  I used it and swooped in on the fabric.  I love it!  I think the combination of fabric and pattern has really worked.  I like finding different prints like this, and I’m glad I feel comfortable wearing them, as I’m a plains person at heart!

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Sewing the shirt went as smoothly as the last three times, if not better because it’s linen, not slippery viscose!  I like this smaller size and might stick to it for the next shirt, which is definitely going to happen.  I have some left over pieces of linen from various projects that I’m sure I can put together to make a shirt.  Fingers crossed, but please, don’t hold your breath!!

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Cheesy Monster

There’s a new colour in my wardrobe – and I think it’s here to stay.  I made my first green item in 2019, a pair of linen Teddy Pants.  They were followed by a pale green and white pair of Kana’s Standard pants and an LB Pullover in the same fabric, but that’s as far as that incursion went.  Until this year…  I fell in love with a Monstera print, olive green and ecru, and just had to have it!  What would I make with it?  Why another Olya Shirt – of course!

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Olya Shirt and Kew Pants

No pattern or fitting adjustments or changes from the last time, I’m pretty happy with the pattern on me.  The only thing that would change would be how the fabric altered the finished look and shape of the shirt.  So far my favourite is the black and white graphic print Olya, it’s soft but has body.  The striped one is a fairly heavy viscose, so it hangs more.  This viscose challis is soft and drapey and feels fabulous!  I bought it from The Rag Shop at the end of May.  Knowing that we’d be away for the last week, I asked that the shipping be held back so that the parcel would arrive after the May Bank Holiday.  It worked, and I had pretty fabric to add to my holiday purchases on the wash line!

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The fabric was lovely to work with, and I knew just what to pair it with on the bottom half!  While in St Ives, I bought 2m of a cotton/linen blend, the colour is a pale beige – the result of two colours woven together, white and beige.  It’s got body and no drape, but it is perfect for trousers.  I decided on the Kew Pants from Style Arc.  I’ve made then only once before and thought that this fabric would be great to hold the shape of the cocoon leg.  I made the 14 this time, the waist of the 12 is just too snug.

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I altered the angle of the front crotch line and curve, and took the inseam in by an extra cm, made the front look much better.  The waist fits properly now and the cropped ankle length and width works better in the bigger size.  The curved hem detail can be a little tricky to get nice looking on the inside.  The pattern instructions have you simply fold under the seam allowance and topstitch in place, but it really isn’t a nice finish.  I cut short pieces of off-white bias binding and used them instead, pressing in a tight curve first.

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These are such cool pants, I love that they sit nicely on the waist and the rest is loose.  The pockets are a good size, perfect for a phone, mask and card wallet!  I rarely use a handbag these days, not needing cash means no need for a proper wallet, all I need is plastic.  Pairing the black and white Olya with the black Kew Pants I made last year looks great, so I was keen on repeating that with these two projects.

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I love these two items together, tucked in, tied in front or simply left loose, they’re comfy and good looking!  Being beigey-cream, the trousers slot into my wardrobe perfectly.  I love the addition of green in the wardrobe this summer, I have a RTW green and ecru tee bought in Padstow to add to the mix, and am planning a plain olive tee soon!

Graphic Olya Shirt

I am late to this particular appreciation society.  I have numerous Paper Theory patterns, but only purchased the Olya Shirt in October last year, and only made it up in May!  And people, I cannot tell you why I left it so long!  I can only say that I thought wearing a “proper” shirt again after living in jersey tops would feel odd.  Well – it doesn’t!  I bought the pattern after making the blouse with the huge sleeves last year, there was just something about that fabric sitting on the cutting table that made me think of the Olya pattern, and I jumped.

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This version was made hot on the heels of the dark navy blue one, as in I cut it out on the Saturday morning after the Friday finishing!  No changes to the overall pattern, just the sleeve binding and placket construction.  This time I sewed both pieces to the outside and turned them in, instead of sewing to the inside.  I just prefer this method.  It means I just sew the straight seam and leave out the short sewing line making the “box” at the top, as this would get in the way of getting everything out of the way to the inside.  The finish is good and I’m happy with it- having handstitched on the  inside again.  And guess what – this time I managed to get the pieces on the right side!  I have proper cuffs!

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What I love is how different this one feels to wear compared to the heavier viscose crepe of the first one.   I’m going to be making more of these!  The fabric is a cotton/silk voile that I got probably 3 years ago now, and it’s fabulous to work with, even better to wear!  Usually I’d French seam this fabric, but opportunities for that finish on this shirt are non existant, so the overlocker had to do.  It is still neatly finished on the inside, and there is no visible bulk on the outside.  Cuffs and collars and the buttonstand were interfaced with fine sheer fusible.  I was lucky to find enough buttons in the stash that worked, I didn’t want solid colour buttons, so these with the fleck of white work really well.  I’ve worn this shirt so many times since making it – basically as soon as it’s washed and ironed I make a reason to wear it!

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I love the pleat from the yoke and the longer line shirt hem

I love it with the trousers in my current wardrobe – particularly the Kew Pants and Teddy Pants from Style Arc, & I can’t wait to try it with the linen trousers in my summer wardrobe, but the weather is seriously messing us around!  April was cold and dry (only 9% of the usual rain fell!) and May is making up for that instead of being the glorious introduction to summer that we all love.  So for now, I only have winter trousers to try the shirt with, but I’m happy anyway.  I have some olive viscose with a leaf print on its way for another shirt, and I might have had to order olive linen for trousers to go with it!  It looks like olive will be my new rust.

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In the mean time – if you’ve been eyeing out this pattern with an idea of making it, look at the photos on Instagram, #olyashirt, and see how well it suits just about everyone who’s made it!  If you’re not into too much ease, go down a size or two when you toile, but give it a try!  I really do love this pattern and I can see more in my sewing future – I might even try a colour blocked one!!

My Heart Goes Boom Boom, Boom

Well, here’s the first of what will be many!  Finally I have photos of the finished Olya Shirt I started at the beginning of March.  With the weather being so rubbish, I had a long time to wait for something decent that did the shirt justice.  Of course, this means that in the mean time, I was able to wear the shirt and be even more happy with it!

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Olya Shirt from Paper Theory

As described in the work in progress post, I made the 14, with no adjustments.  I also changed the constructions of the cuff binding and tower plackets slightly – spending so much time on getting those pieces on nice and straight that I made a rather large mistake…  I put them on the wrong sides!!!  Nevermind, the shirt still works, but I was annoyed when I finally discovered it when I put on my perfectly made cuffs!stripe olya 2

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It hasn’t altered my love of the shirt.  As previously stated, the instructions are good and clear and leave no doubts as to how to proceed.  The fabric is viscose marocaine, which has a crepe-like texture.  It’s heavier than regular viscose, not as drapey.  It was great to work with as it doesn’t slip around!

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I’ve worn this shirt loads and now wonder why I hadn’t got round to making it earlier, I have had the pattern since October!  I’ve made a second already, and am planning a third to happen pretty soon!

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Work in Progress Wednesday 4/21

Three minutes left of Wednesday – where did the time go!?  I thought I’d show you all my latest sewing project, as I seem to have been sewing in secret lately, and only showing off finished items.  Today, I’ve been making the Olya Shirt, pattern by Paper Theory.  I bought the pattern in October/November last year but only managed to get it toiled last week!

My measurements suggested I make the 16, but the finished measurements indicated a lot more ease than I’d usually be comfortable with.  Yes, I do know this is ssupposed to be an oversized shirt, but there’s baggy and there’s tent.  At frst, I thougth I’d toile the 12, but hedged my bets and went with the 14 as a middle ground instead.  Perfect choice!  I decided it needed no adjustments, sleeves are the right length, cuffs not tight, shirt length fine and just enough “oversize” in the circumference measurements.

My fabric is from Rainbow Fabrics, viscose morrocaine (sadly now sold out).  It has a lovely, crepe-like texture, and the dark dark navy and ecru irregular, zebra-ish stripe is right up my street.  It is light and drapey, but has good weight and doesn’t slip around like ordinary viscose does.  Cuffs, collar pieces and front band are interfaced with a fine sheer polyester interfacing, not adding bulk.

The construction of the shirt is different to your usual shirt, because of the style lines.  The front yoke and sleeve are one piece,and the shoulder seam and insertion of the sleeve head happens in the same seam!  It looks like it’s going to be clunky, but it’s anything but.  Tara’s instructions are clear, unambiguous and direct.  Some indie designers get so into the instructions that they get confusing and I ignore them entirely!

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Top and middle, plackets on the sleeves. Understitching the back yoke. Right, box pleat, back yoke and stay-stitched neckline

One thing I did differently, right at the beginning, was to change the way the sleeve plackets are sewn.  I sewed the tower placket piece as described, but the binding I sewed to the right side.  This is because I don’t like seeing stitching on binding, and if I’d done it the original way, I’d have to stitch on the front.  This way I handstiched the binding on the wrongside and topstitched the placket on the right.  Small changes.  I also staystitched the neck edges as soon as they were ready.  You don’t put the collar on until quite late in the game, and I didn’t want any stretching.

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I pick my sewing up in a bundle to prevent pieces hanging and stretching out while handling.

Talking about stretching out, be careful with handling the fabric pieces, the sleeve and shoulders can start to stretch before you get to sew them, so don’t let the pieces hang.  I pick up my sewing in a bundle so nothing hangs and drapes and potentially stretches out before I get to sew it up.

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Shoulder/sleeve seam, pivoting and snipping at the end of the shouder point, going into the sleeve head seam.

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The instructions really do give a good result – don’t ignore them! (this is as much a note to me as it is to you!)

So far I’m really happy with my shirt, it’s all going together really nicely and at the end of the day I have the buttonbands, collar, cuff and hem to do.  And I need to find buttons.  What’s the bet that, even with a drawer full of buttons, I won’t have the “right” buttons?

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So far, so good!!

Shweshwe Zadie Jumpsuit

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Me again!  I might finally be back in the UK, but the sewing is s.l.o.w.!  I haven’t quite got back to “normal”, because life isn’t normal.  Mr W moved his office into my sewing room while I was away and he had to work from home.  Now that work can happen at the “proper” office, but only twice a week, he’s still firmly ensconced in the sewing room.  It’s hard to find room for sewing machines and ironing amongst the computer, A3 files, boxes of samples and other paraphanalia a busy architect needs.  Not to mention the constant phone calls, with and without video…

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So the sewing has been happening on the dining table, cutting out on the living room floor.  It’s not ideal, and I’m still itching to sew more, but I think we all need to get used to life as not-normal.  It’s been weird to have continual company nowadays, instead of being on my own all day!  But, I do actually have something I made to show you.

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Back in June, there were a couple of “challenges” I thought I’d join in with, the #JumpingIntoJune sewalong encouraged the making of jumpsuits, and Stephanie at Sea of Teal was promoting sewing with prints for June’s Sew Your Wardrobe Basics.  So, on the last day of June I cut and started a print jumpsuit.  Not so much jumping into June as jumping out of it!

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Pockets – nice BIG ones!

I do love the Zadie Jumpsuit, it’s so comfy to wear, and quick to make.  This version is the size 16, with no FBA!  I had realised with the last summer version I made last year, that with the FBA the waistline seam sat too low.  So I reversed that adjustment and just made the smaller size.  I’m happy to report that it’s all worked, fits properly, doesn’t gape, and the waistline is in the right place.

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The fabric is a cotton shweshwe print I bought in South Africa in May.  This isn’t the Da Gams Three Cats fabric.  It had “Cheetah Shweshwe” in the selvage, but I can’t find much info about it.  It’s wider than the Da Gama fabric at 150cm and slightly stiffer, but that will go with washing.  It’s no stiffer than the blue linen used for my first Zadie.  I love the spotty print, it caught my eye in the fabric shop immediately, and straight away I knew I wanted to make the Zadie Jumpsuit with it.

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Got to love a spotty print!

This isn’t the end of my Shweshwe journey, I bought another piece for myself which will become a nice new pair of Carolyn PJ pants, and lots of pieces that I bought for making things for the girls.  Now I just need the time to make it all up!!!

Sewing in Different Circles

Phew, it has been a while hasn’t it?!  It’s been a crazy couple of months, and so, so much has changed, some things forever.  The last time I popped in, I was sewing for the Great Module Sewalong.  That all came to a grinding halt when I got the news that my Dad had passed away suddenly at the end of the first week in March.  I got on the next available plane home to South Africa with my girls as support to do what I could for my Mum, all thoughts of sewing left behind.

Then the world went mad.  Luckily the girls were able to get home just in time before the barriers came down and the walls went up.  I had had no plans to sew much, my thoughts were of paperwork, loose ends (of which there are still many) and support for mum.  Naturally I missed my favourite activity, as well as my allotment, which I had to leave just as seeds were germinating – along with millions of weeds.

I had planned on fabric shoping however.  But in the crazy first two weeks out here, there was no time for that second favourite activity.  Then the government announced a nationwide lockdown, all but essential services allowed to operate, and fabric shopping went completely out of the window.  Now we’re into May and a relaxing of the rules, fabric shops are allowed to be open to sell fabric to make masks and winter clothing.  Yes, May in the Southern Hemisphere is winter, although with temperatures this week in the mid to high 20s, it’s not anything like a UK winter.  Or summer!  😀  Thankfully winter means no humidity, just nice warm sunshine.

Anyway, back to the shopping!!  A typical South African cloth is produced here in East London in the Eastern Cape, Shweshwe.  I wrote about it a couple of years ago, if you want to know more.  The Da Gama factory isn’t open, but the factory shop in town is, so, under the guise of requiring lots of cotton to make face masks, Mum and I went shopping.  As it’s “winter”, I decided I needed another couple of pairs of longer than cropped length trousers.  I got two lots of  2m of Shweshwe for some Style Arc Kew Pants, I’d bought the pattern in their Easter Sale with the Como Top and the Teddy Top, to go with the Teddy Pants.

But – I’d completely forgotten that Shweshwe is only 90cm wide…  2m will make one trouser leg, not a pair of trousers!  Of course, that meant we had to go back!  This time I had better plans, get another 2m of one of the fabrics to actually make the pants, and 1.5 to make an Ogden Cami to go under a thin jumper I’d brought with me.  But then I spotted a waxed cotton fabric while waiting for the assistant to cut the Shweshwe, and fell in love!  So I bought 4.5m of the best bold, but neutral print wax cotton they had.  And 7m of Shweshwe with a cream ground with brown and orange print for daughter No1.  I hope it all fits into the suitcase…  Daughter No 2 has yet to put in her order.

So, lots of shopping, but what about the sewing??  Well, I think we’ve finally reached that part of the lockdown when we’re done with most of the big jobs, and now I feel that I can take a bit of time to myself and make something.  Once I’d realised I’d made a boob with the fabric amounts, I thought I’d make a top with one of the pieced I’d bought originally.  The fabric has body even after the wax has been washed off, so nothing drapy.  Immediately the LB Pullover from Paper Theory sprung to mind.  Thank heavens I brought my laptop with me on this trip, so I had immediate access to all my pdf patterns.  I just needed to print it off.  Now here’s where mum came in useful – she and dad own a stationery shop, complete with everyting I need to trace a pattern, and to print it too!  The only downside was having to print on A4, but an evening with the scissors, tape and a couple of glasses of wine made short work of that tedious job.

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I made the 16, no adjustments.  The 2m was literally just enough to squeeze the pieces onto, and I had to piece the bias cut collar together.  There were only the smallest scraps of fabric leftover.  It was the perfect choice of pattern for the fabric, and print and I love it!  It’s going to fit into my wardrobe at home perfectly, as well as add colour and shape to the small amount I’ve brought with me.  It’s very tempting to make another, but I need to keep an eye on the amount of weight of that suitcase, especially if I’m going to be stuck here for another few months…

 

Striped Zadie Jumpsuit

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I knew I wanted another Zadie Jumpsuit, pattern by Paper Theory, the minute I finished and tried on the first one!  I’ve loved wearing my blue linen Zadie, and just needed to find the time to make another.  I chose a piece of linen that I bought in South Africa, grey with white stripes.  The stripes run perpendicular to the grainline, but as there is no movement in either direction, I figured there’d be no problems in turning that 90 degrees. I wanted the stripes to run vertical on the trousers, and horizintal on the bodice.  The stripes were pinned togetther to make sure they stayed in line with each other.

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Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory

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Using the phone to remostely activate the camera again. Doesn’t make for the most relaxed of photographs!

I changed the size a bit, leaving the bodice at size 16, going to the 14 on the trousers.  I found the previous pair got a little too baggy in the bum, so these will be better.  I hope!  It’s certainly as comfortable to wear as the first one, but softer and drapey.  This linen is not starchy like the blue, but has a lovely soft handle.  It’s also relatively thin – because the weave is more open.  This makes it nice and cool to wear.  That’s something I’m really looking forward to for this week when the temperatures are set to hit the 30s.

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There’s not much left of that fabric now, I started with two metres and was pretty chuffed to get the pattern out of that!  I might see if I can add the left overs to some white and black linen of similar weight and made a patchwork item, I’ve been inspired by what Lauren at Elbe Textiles has been making with all her scraps.  This week I’ve made bunting for my new allotment shed with some of the more cheerful orange and blue scraps, looked out the remains of some blue and rust linen to make a nice cover for a cushion, also for the allotment shed, made beeswax wraps with different sized squares of cotton, used up some of the plain coloured linens and two patterned cotton pieces to make  –   something

I know, I was originally thinking I’d make shopping totes, but when I’d patched all the pieces together they looked so nice, so I kept going and now I have something that resembles a small quilt or throw – without the back.  I don’t think it’s something I could wear, but I don’t want to chop it up and make bags now.  Sooo now I have to find a big enough piece of fabric to back it with.  Or – cut more squares out of something else in the scrap box and make a reversible throw!  Oh dear, I’ll see you guys later, if I ever resurface from that scrap box, Pinterest and all the ideas.

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Black, White & Grey all Over

So far, June has been a thouroughly disappointing summer month.  Totally unlike the lovely hot weather we had last year, even though that was highly unusual weather.  June in the UK is quite like April, it rains on and off all month.  But this June seems to have been extra wet, which means I’m not gardening, so more sewing time!

Paper Theory Kabuki Tee in stripe linen

I’ve made a start on using the fabric I bought while in South Africa, it’s all washed and ironed and ready to use, and I’ve managed to find some patterns to go with some of the pieces.  One piece I’d bought with a pattern in mind, the LB Pullover from Paper Theory.  But – I changed my mind at the last minute and went with the Kabuki Tee instead.  The fabric in question is linen, it used to be black and white wide stripes, but after washing is now black and pale grey!

I quickly ran into a problem with the fabric though, I’d seen it in my head with the stripes running horizontally, but on laying it out on the cutting table realised the stripes ran parallel with the grain, so now they had to be vertical!  I really wasn’t sure if I wanted stripes running up and down.  I draped the fabric over my shoulder and swanned about in front of the mirror for a bit, to make up my mind, and eventually went with the stripes running vertically.  As it turns out, it was the right decision.

As with the last Kabuki Tee, I reinforced the pivot area with a scrap of fusible interfacing to give it a bit more strength, and I overlocked the insides as I sewed.  I have a feeling though, that the next one I make will have to be a size down, as my measurements continue to get smaller, I think it’s time to re-trace some of my patterns.  Now all I need is the right weather to wear the finished article!  I could wear it with a long sleeve tee underneath, but unfortunately all my winter wear is in the loft!

I prefer wearing this top with a more straight leg or fitted pair of trousers, jeans are great, but wide legs don’t suit it quite that well. Which is odd, because the chambray Kabuki I made before heading off on holiday looks great with wide leg trousers…

Kabuki Tee

 

I’m on a Paper Theory roll at the moment!  I’ve enjoyed making and wearing the LB Pullover this year, and the Zadie Jumpsuit had its christening this week on holiday in South Africa. It was lovely to wear!  The other pattern I’ve made is the Kabuki Tee.  It’s a loose, boxy, oversized tee pattern, designed for woven fabrics.  I’d admired the large sleeves and front detail, with the opportunity to play with direction with stripes or other patterns.

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Wearing my new Kabuki Tee on a beach walk

This first garment is a plain, I bought some grey chambray earlier in the year with the Kabuki in mind.  It’s probably a little stiffer than would be preferable, but I like the way it keeps the boxy shape of the design.  All the edges were overlocked after sewing the relevant seams to keep it all neat and tidy inside, and I topstitched the armhole/sleeve seams.

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Topstitched seam detail

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It’s a relatively quick pattern to make, the instructions, as with all the other Paper Theory patterns are pretty straightforward.  To make sure that there wouldn’t be any holes or inclination to tear once the corners on the front and back were snipped to allow for rotation and insertion of the sleeves, I interfaced that area with a scrap of fine sheer fusible.  It just gives a little more stability to the fabric that’s going to be weakened.

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I’ve worn the tee twice on my holiday in South Africa, and it’s been really comfy to wear.  Hubby doesn’t like the oversized armholes, says  need slimmer sleeves, but I like the look.  I’ve also made a version in viscose, just to see how it looks in a much more drapey, fluid fabric.  But I haven’t managed to wear that one just yet, so pics are non-existant!

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I dragged the other half to a fabric shop to stock up on fabric to refill my suitcase (having emptied it of loads of stuff I brought out for friends and family) and picked up a black and white wide stripe linen that will either be another Kabuki or possibly another LB Pullover.  I’m liking the idea of stripe manipulation…

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