Great White Shirt
In my humble opinion the ultimate linen expression is a Great White Shirt. With a stash of fine handkerchief linen at the ready and the Threads competition along to inspire me this was the design I developed. My base pattern is from Burda World of Fashion magazine, the May ’09 issue, pattern #110. I changed the sleeve design, making it a 3/4 length with pleats and embellishment The sleeves were a semi-nod to Simplicity 3789 , a pattern I had previously made but had also taken creative license with the sleeve design. I further morphed the shirt design by adding an insert at the upper waistline.
I have been on a long time quest to incorporate smocking, which I love, into wearable, modern adult designs. On this blouse I did a large, shaped waistline insert that was smocked, beaded, and embroidered with bullion chrysanthemums. To not lose my efforts and emphasize the texture and embroidery, I used ecru thread, tiny off white pearl beads and Swarofkis crystals. This was all set off by lines of mini-piping above and below. I downsized this effort but used the same techniques to add a small insert to one side of the collar as well.
It seems I got on a roll with making the bullions and used them on the back of the shirt also. There , the BWOF design calls for a pleat. Three large bullion daisys were run down the pleat with machine pinstitching on either side of the pleat. At the very end of the pinstitching another bullion was placed, kind of like the period at the end of a sentence. Opalescent beads were placed in the center of each daisy.
Not to be ignored and to add some continuity, the pinstitching , as well as the mini-piping, were repeated on the sleeves to emphasize the pleats. Again, a tiny bullion stitch was placed at the end of each line of pinstitching.
Because embroidery and pleated smocking can leave threads and knots on the back side, I backed my insert with a dotted lace netting. It was light, just enough to hide the handwork, and I felt more appropriate to the integrity of the design. Each of the bullion daisies down the back pleat recieved a hand stitched lace motif to cover it’s nasties. The seams were stitched twice and then three thread serged. To do French seams on this shirt would involve the piping and smocking seam allowances and I felt the bulk and the VERY ravelly nature of the hanky linen just would not work with French Seams.
Where will I wear this? I can see this with some nice black jeans and black stillettoes, great for a Saturday night out at our favorite steak house.
If you care to see any further construction details there are several posts on my blog that can fill you in. Google http://lasewist.blogspot,com/.
These pictures were taken on a 93º day with extreme humidity. Yes, linen wrinkles but that is part of the charm!
Handkerchief Linen shirt with originally designed, smocked, beaded, and embroidered inserts at the waistline and on the collar. Three quarter sleeve and pleated back with further embellishment.
Detailed shot of the insert and sleeve treatments. There are three bullion chrysanthemums on either side of the CF band. They are surrounded by a diamond of offwhite pearls. The mums have tiny Swarofski crystals at the center. All are embedded on an ecru smocked insert that is piped on each side. The sleeve pleats have lines of machine pinstitching ending with a bullion "period".
Back of Blouse. Pleat is machine pinstitched on either side and three large bullion daisies with beaded centers are run down the back.
Back pleat and detail of embroidery.