Thursday, 6 August 2015

Now in Cow Town....

I've been gone from the blog for a long time (again) and that's due to the massive changes going on around here!  In the last 3-4 months I've up sticks and moved country!! Now coming to you from Calgary, Alberta, Canada!

This change really kicked off last year. We had our fantastic biking holiday to Indochina, then one of my colleagues moved to Singapore, and along with that there were significant changes going on with my place of work (which hasn't been a pleasant place to be for the last few years).  I had itchy feet, was bored, and truly dreaded getting up in the morning to go to work..... So when a job opportunity came up with my employer in the Calgary office, I applied.  And probably because our software is so specialised, and importing a Brit is cheaper than training someone from scratch - I got the job!

Because of the situation (customer relations and visa requirements), there was a very quick turnaround between me leaving my UK job and starting the Canada one.  So my poor long suffering boyfriend is stuck back in Blighty trying to sell the house, while I'm swanning around in the mountains with bikes and hiking boots.

And now my mother (Hi Mum!!) is complaining that I haven't been updating the blog, so she can't see what I'm up to (she didn't get on with Facebook, and doesn't use Instagram).  I thought I'd better start back up.  What better way to start, than with a western style shirt....

In honour of Calgary Stampede (ok, that was a month ago but I'm prepped for next year now) we have Simplicity 1538.  Lots of people were wearing plaid shirts at the Stampede (and at work during Stampede week - it's a uniform really....), but I wanted to make a more traditional style and I already had this pattern with the front and back yokes.

I bought the fabric here in Calgary, it was only $6pm and is quite a loose weave cotton so will be great for summer wear.  I cut a size 12 and graded out to 14 at the waist.  I often find the cuffs on shirts too tight so I cut a size 14 cuff and graded the sleeve out as well, but I think now they're a bit big - I'll try and get pictures at some point but I don't have a tripod here at the moment....  It might be a little tight around the top of the sleeve now - I have ex-climbing muscles at the front of my shoulder (pectoralis major? anyway that bit that creates the hollow of your armpit) that often create fitting issues.  So I might need to swap the sizing and do the sleeve head in a 14 and cuff in a 12.

I really like the yoke details, pockets and flaps in this pattern, and the general shape of the shirt, but I'm not so keen on the cuff placket.  It turned out quite neat, I just would like to have the placket visible - so I'll hunt around for different methods when I make this shirt again. Oh and if you look closely at the left cuff in the back photo below, you can see that I got the placket the wrong way round....

The instructions tell you to gather the excess in the back before attaching to the back yoke, but I didn't like the look of the gathers so created a pleat in the centre instead. The yoke pieces are all cut on the bias as well, so you get that diagonal plaid.

I did manage to match the plaid across the front and almost at the side seams, but the button placket is 'upside down'.  I haven't decided if I like that, or if I'd prefer all the lines to match across the front. I really should have got the pocket flaps in line as well I suppose.

I did try to flat fell all my seams, which was easy enough to do (plenty of tutorials if you search on line).  For the next one, I'd prefer to have the two rows of stitching on the outside though, so I'll need to remember to sew all the seams wrong side together first.  All the double rows of topstitching are in the pattern instructions as the 'Western Style' design feature,, and I even used Tilly's trick of moving the needle over (I used position 5) and lining the edge up with the centre of the foot to get the neater line.  If you look really really closely you can tell which were the first wonky tries, and what came later with more practise!

And just because I felt like it, I added a loop to the collar on the inside of the shirt!