The plan was to make Burda envelope pattern 6931 for my husband for Father’s Day. Back in the day he had a habit (which I found quite dashing) of wearing tuxedo shirts with the pintuck fronts loose as a casual overshirt. He also used to wear some denim chambray overshirts (90s guy that he is). And lately, his beleaguered wardrobe has been absent both.
Let’s be honest here—he needs clothes about as badly as I don’t. If he were a little more fun to sew for, I’d just make them, but he’s wildly picky so anything I make (including this shirt) is a big risk.
However, for Father’s Day I couldn’t quite resist trying a slouchy, comfy, yet tux-inspired style using this pale rayon “denim”.
Since I was (justifiably) terrified of sewing pintucks in the wiggly denim, I took the added step of making a starch dip for the fabric that would become the front pieces. This was highly successful in turning it from something that draped and wiggled at the slightest touch, into something that felt and behaved not unlike paper. All you do is boil up a bit of cornstarch and water into a sauce (minus the usual flavourings), dilute, dip, and dry.
This would’ve worked very well for the pintuck topstitching, except that I wanted to sew them on my new-to-me Elna, which handles topstitching thread better than any of my other machines. However, I don’t have an adaptor to use my edgestitching feet with her, and getting high precision pintucks without precision feet is tricky for me. If your sewing skills are up to it, I salute you! Mine fall short. The resulting pintucks were very far from as neat and regular as I would’ve liked. I could only hope that once they were washed and slouch-ified all would be forgiven.
I was, however, dispirited, and a few other things that irked me about the pattern didn’t help: there was no separate back yoke, and the cuff placket was made with just a simple bias strip rather than a tower placket.
I realize these are stylistic decisions that probably say more about my own prejudices about a “proper shirt” than anything else. Regardless, my enthusiasm had distinctly waned, and there were other projects with more pressing deadlines.
So the whole thing languished for several weeks waiting on a hem and buttons because I just couldn’t stand it. But finally, just in time to be late for Father’s Day (and for no particular reason except that I didn’t have enough time for a serious project and had run out of other quick things I could tackle), I found the motivation to finish it off.
It really wasn’t much more work to finish the hem, and the laundering to remove the starch fortunately also left the tucks much softer, which I think makes the unevenness much less noticeable (and if you feel differently you can just… feel that way and not tell me about it. Same goes for the general wrinkliness.)
So anyway, at the end of the day I like it and I think it fulfills the vision I had in my head. Let’s just hope it also works for my husband.