Transitioning Into Summer: A New Shirt for Spring
April 27, 2024
by Patricia Parsons

I’ve always loved a button-up shirt. My style tends toward the classics: white shirts, jeans, blazers and anything tailored. So, when it comes to transitioning my wardrobe into the warmer weather, I look for ways to add pieces that reflect this classic style without the cold-weather characteristics. Enger the new spring rayon fabrics and a fresh shirt pattern.

Let’s begin by comparing the difference between a shirt and a blouse. This is a topic that I’ve pondered for a long time, and I’ve concluded that shirts and blouses are, indeed, different.

The fashion police suggest that a blouse is a type of shirt (because it blouses?), but a shirt is not always a blouse. A shirt is crisp, while a blouse is drapey. At least, that’s how I tend to think of them. So, what do you call a structured top with buttons and a stand collar fabricated from drapey rayon fabric?

McCall’s 6124 is a shirt pattern that I’ve made a bit more “blousy” by my choice of a woven rayon fabric that feels almost like silk and acts like silk when you’re working with it. I went with the Tiffany printed rayon poplin. Let’s see if this was a good fabric choice for this pattern or not.

I started this project by preparing the fabric. After washing and drying my 4X4 inch sample, I concluded that drying this fabric in the dryer wasn’t going to work. So, I washed the length of fabric and hung it to dry. It was perfect.

When I laid the fabric out, I straightened the grain and pinned it to my cutting board. I sometimes cut silk out in a single layer, but although this fabric drapes like silk, it’s not as slippery.

I love the pieced front and back because the princess-like seams provide an opportunity to get the fit just right. But then, I started to run into challenges.

The pattern is truly a shirt pattern, which is generally designed for fabric with a bit of body, if not weight. As I created the stand collar for this blouse, I realized it was probably not going to stand up correctly at the front despite using interfacing in both the collar and the front band. In addition, the bracelet-length sleeves have a lovely self-facing that turns back. Since the fabric is so drapey, they won’t stay back without help.

All in all, I love the feel of the finished product, but I chose the wrong fabric. It doesn’t always work as well as you hope when you use a blouse fabric for a structured shirt. I do love the fabric, though!

I write stories about my sewing at Happy sewing! PP