I have so much to say about this Willamette Shirt and this fabric. It shows my indecisiveness when it comes to fabric I really, really love. Or maybe it shows the benefit of waiting a long time before using fabric.
I bought this rayon challis fabric two or three years ago. I saw it on fabric.com* and fell in love with it immediately. I didn’t have plans for it and didn’t really need it, but I loved it. I remember watching it and looking at it daily for awhile because I wanted it so badly. I was so nervous it would sell out, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t buy it. I bought three yards of it not knowing what I would do with it. I rarely do this; I almost always buy fabric with a plan and use it fairly quickly after buying.
Anyway, I kept it in my stash for awhile. I almost made it into a wrap dress once and changed my mind. Then I fell in love with the Cheyenne tunic* and planned on making a Cheyenne out of this fabric and combining the fabric. The Willamette Shirt* came out and I wasn’t too drawn to it at first. As the Cheyenne kept getting put off I realized, the Cheyenne is long sleeves and is a great wintery pattern. And this fabric is very, very summery. I didn’t think this fabric would hold up as a winter Cheyenne. I think there’d be too much stress on the fabric in some areas. And then I realized the Willamette* is very similar to the Cheyenne in style it’s just basically the summer version. After I figured that out I bought the pattern and had it cut and sewn in less than a month. Sometimes I just really need a good thought process before using coveted fabric.
The Willamette Shirt* is a dolman sleeve loose fitting top. I knew that going into it, and I knew the rayon challis would drape perfectly with this pattern. I was in between a size small and extra small and sized down to a extra small. I also added one inch to the body. I do wish I would’ve added one more inch for comfort, but it still hits me in a flattering spot.
Isn’t that stripe matching amazing!? And that pocket blends in so well. If you are sewing stripes this is how to match stripes.
I chose to do view A which is really straightforward. I wanted the least amount of lines to cut up the pretty fabric print. I also omitted the button and just sewed the placket up slightly higher so I wouldn’t have to sew on a button. I’m lazy like that.
I was super careful when matching stripes when I was cutting out the pattern pieces, but somehow the sides were slightly off. Instead cutting off the longer back to make it match the front, I just added short slits to the sides so you can’t tell that the lengths are different. This also meant that I couldn’t do french seams on the sides so I did clean finish sides instead. Everything else inside this Willamette Shirt is enclosed except for the front facing.
I really loved the construction of the Willamette*. It reminded me of putting together a jacket. It’s a really brilliant construction, but you really need to follow the instructions to make sure everything lines up in the right place. I did a lot of pinning to make sure my stripes lined up.
A little bit ago I posted about tips for saving money while sewing. One thing I’ve been doing lately is to use fabric as interfacing. I’ll go into a little more detail now. It doesn’t work for thick fabrics because you need stiff, thin interfacing to give structure and support to those fabrics (like coats and jeans).
I use it for really drapey fabrics and it works very well. I don’t like the idea of non-drapey interfacing ruining the gorgeous drape of a lightweight fabric. I don’t think that lightweight interfacing is drapey enough. I was really glad I used the same rayon challis for this top so I get a really breezy look.
Basically I just cut out extra pieces that need to be interfaced. I was careful about stripe matching for my front facing so I cut the interfacing on the opposite grain so I knew exactly which was which.
Instead of fusing the interfacing I sew it in. It takes longer, but I don’t mind because I get the look I’m going for.
I found with fabrics that are slightly transparent you have to be careful about which way you place the print. You can see in some of my pictures above that the print of the interfacing shows through on my collar. I faced the print the wrong way and should have faced it away from the right side of the collar.