Linen shift for the 21st Century

Because I’m a sucker, I signed up for two versions of Vogue 1312 for this work project. For the second one, I impulsively pounced on this marled jersey with a hint (15%, actually) of linen. The rest polyester. I’m more forgiving of polyester in knits than most other situations but it does annoy me when they add a “good” fibre (usually linen or wool) in such a small quantity that they’re basically just going for the name on the label. To be fair, you can feel the linen in this—it makes it slightly scratchy. Also there’s no spandex. Knits without spandex almost always make me nervous. 

I was a bit leery of using a pattern for a woven in a jersey, too, but considering how snug the grey version was (and how high the armscye) I went for it. I did make one initial alteration—I lengthened the long sleeve pattern piece by about 10″, so that I could add clear elastic to the seam and scrunch them up. I am very content with how this turned out. 

I knew given the thinness of the jersey that I wanted to self-line the bodice. To give the neck a clean finish I sewed up the shoulders and then sewed the necklines together in a circle, stabilizing with 1/4″ clear elastic. I love 1/4″ clear elastic. I flipped the pieces so the wrong sides are together and the stitching and elastic was hidden between the two layers, then I basted the edges so the two layers would stay together and constructed the rest like a regular unlined T-shirt. There was a bit more ease in the sleeve cap than I like in a knit, but not much, and I did get them in without much difficulty, so I can’t really complain. Once I had the bodice put together I did take in the side seams and upper parts of the sleeve about 1.5cm on each seam, to snug it up a bit in my no-spandex poor recovery fabric. 

I did a lot more basting on the jersey version, to get the skirt on nicely as well as control the double-layered bodice, and it worked well for the most part.

 My corners on the skirt aren’t good, but I wasn’t sufficiently fussed to unpick. On the soft jersey skirt I like them better poked to the inside out of sight anyway. The only thing I’m second guessing at this point is not lining the upper portion of the skirt. I didn’t want the weight, but it’s kinda sheer, so I will need to wear a slip with the dress. Not the end of the world, but one of the things I was hoping to avoid with the self-lined bodice. 

I stabilized the waistline with clear elastic. I was initially worried this pulled it in too much and would create a bloused effect, but once the full weight of the skirt was in place it seems to be ok. 

I debated on the hem quite a bit, as I liked the softness of the raw edge, but this fabric has a strong tendency to curl, which I knew would drive me nuts in short order. A rolled hem was equally flippy, so I eventually settled on a steam-a-seam-enhanced turned and twin-needled hem. It doesn’t add much bulk or stiffness and hopefully won’t flip up too much. Youch  that was a lot of steam-a-seam though!

Sadly, there are no pockets in the jersey version. Right choice? I’m not sure. 

We’ve been watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix and this is reminding me, in a completely-not-historically-accurate way, of mediaeval shifts and linen undergowns. And it seems to demand silly ballet poses, as well. I was completely at a loss as to the right shoes, hence the sock feet. 

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6 Comments

Filed under Sewing

6 responses to “Linen shift for the 21st Century

  1. This is gorgeous. Really classic and cool.

  2. Hey, sometimes you just gotta do strike some ballet poses! Super cute dress 🙂

  3. Lynsey

    This look so amazing on you. I really love the skirt, and those sleeves are fab!

  4. Pingback: Can’t leave the linen (look) | Tanit-Isis Sews

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