I recently sewed another of the fabrics I bought when Waechter’s went out of business. This one is an Italian linen, light blue and white tiny gingham check. My idea was to make a tunic to wear over a bathing suit and shorts in order to be “dressed” for lunch or cocktails.
I had several patterns from which to choose but ended up using this one for a man’s beach shirt. I think I was seduced by the stripes. Actually, there were a lot of things I liked about this one, from the straight collar to the side vents at the hem.
I also loved the pockets and how they sat right on the hem. In the directions the pockets were attached as they were top-stitched, but I geve them a second line of stitching at the edge.
The side vents were a bit tricky, though they turned out well. Actually they overlap incorrectly, but I really don’t think anyone will care that the front laps over the back.
I’m blaming the instructions. They show the vent in the process of being sewn, and it says to finish the same as View A. The problem is that View A did not have the vents! So I just worked through it, and they look fine.
Inside, all the seams are flat felled. The fabric was just too ravelly to leave unfinished.
Since I planned on only wearing this tunic over another garment, I was not too concerned with the length of the front opening. If I had it to do over, I’d have made the opening several inches shorter. On one recent chilly evening I grabbed this tunic to wear on a walk and realized that I loved the way it looked and felt. I’ve since closed the opening a bit so as not to be over-exposed!
I thought I’d continue with yesterday’s topic of remaking textile items by showing you a project I recently finished. The danger of going to a thrift clearance center where stuff is sold cheaply by the pound is that it is hard to resist things that I can’t wear or that are not collectible, but that are made of great fabric. This Brooks Brothers shirt, made out of a beautiful indigo linen (contrary to the faded out look of my photo), is a good example. It was too small for my husband, but I have a hard time leaving indigo linen in any form behind.
So I bought it, and then started looking on the internet under such as “man’s shirt re-do” or “remaking a man’s shirt.” I got hundreds of results, mainly on Pinterest. Some were interesting; others were highly entertaining. In the end I decided to just make it up as I went.
Call me crazy, but I just did not want a result that shouted “recycled old shirt” but at the same time I wanted to use as much of the original construction as possible. I considered switching the buttons and the buttonholes to the traditional women’s placement, but I liked the placket. I also left the breast pocket and the back yoke and pleat. Everything else is new construction.
I like a rounded V-neckline, so I cut off the collar and shaped the neck accordingly. I made bias strips to bind the neck and the sleeves from the bottom half of the old sleeves.
I narrowed the shoulder and re-cut the sleeves. I narrowed the body, and re-attached both using French seams.
To finish, I went through my considerable button stash and chose these diamond-shaped ones. I did consider just leaving the originals, but since I found these I knew they would be such a nice touch.
In theory, I love the idea of remaking and updating clothes. People have always done this to make their clothes last longer or to outfit younger children with hand-me-downs. But I’ve seen some disasters made in the name of “up-cycling” where valuable pieces of vintage clothing were destroyed to fit the current aesthetic. If you are like me and visit a thrift store occasionally, then you know that we are not in danger of running out of textiles anytime soon. The thrifts are full of the raw materials for a million projects. Just make sure your raw material does not have a Claire McCardell label.
Stand Out in Moygashel Linen
When great houses like B.H. Wragge – Paul Parnes – Davidow – Pat Premo – Kane-Weill select MOYGASHEL Irish linen to create their masterpieces, that is your assurance that MOYGASHEL must stand for the best…so when you shop for yourself, insist on MOYGASHEL…it’s color-fast…crease-resistant…pure…and imported especially for the discriminating.
I was attracted to this ad for today because of all the talk about parasols, but what I want to write about is Irish linen, and especially Moygashel. Moygashel is not a type of linen, it is a brand name. I’ve known vintage buyers and sellers to be confused because clothing made of Moygashel linen often has a label identifying it as such, and it is easy to conclude that Moygashel is the name of the garment maker.
As the ad tells us, Moygashel was considered to be the highest quality Irish linen. Not only did quality garment makers choose it, the fabric was available to home dressmakers, and the coveted Moygashel label was included with a purchase.
What makes Irish linen, and Moygashel in particular, so so wonderful? Experts tell us it is the quality of the water in Ireland with which the fibers are processed, much in the same way that the water in Scotland is thought to play a role in the quality of their cashmere.
There is still a linen industry in Ireland, though most of the raw material, flax, is grown in northern Europe and China and imported into the country. Moygashel still exists as well, as a division of Ulster Weavers, specializing in home furnishing linens.