Plaid Shirt…coming soon!

So much to share and so little time! As promised months ago I plan on sewing slower in 2016 and showing you more process, including how I come up with my ideas. This may be my last blog of 2015, but I plan on starting in January with lots of new projects.

The big news: I bought a new sewing/embroidery machine! It’s a Husqvarna Viking Epic, and this baby is huge! The embroidery hoops are as large as 360 x 360 mm (14” x 14”). The Epic has all kinds of new features that I will be exploring in 2016. What sold me on this machine over other brands? Well for one thing, There’s great dealership close by called The Sewing Circle. But best of all, the machine is spectacular. It has a large (iPad size) touch screen. Then there are tons of beautiful stitches including appliqué, sequin and very large decorative stitches, not to mention the embroidery function. The instructions are on the machine screen, so I stitched an embroidery pattern right out of the box! The machine has Wi-Fi capability so it can be upgraded, and stitches can be uploaded without dealing with a usb stick. Usb will disappear sooner than later. Wi-Fi is the way of the future, so this was important to me. I’m already planning projects to use the new features.

That leads me to my next project. This time, instead of showing you the finished project, I’m going to try and explain my thought process before I even start sewing. My BSF and I spotted some wonderful thick flannel plaid at Jo Ann’s Fabric (of all places!). We both thought of a warm winter shirt to wear on casual days.

Well I don’t want to make just a shirt. That’s fine, but what else can we do to take this to the next level of design? First it’s off to Pinterest to get some ideas flowing. What struck me was how many times I had pinned plaid (or tweed) with floral appliqué or embroidery. I have started a new board named Project Ideas where I can pin inspirational photos for upcoming projects. The board currently includes this shirt plus some ideas for the silk velvet purchased in Paris. You are welcome to follow me on Pinterest!jacobean-plaid

Second, BSF and I decide it’s time for further inspiration by purchasing an accent fabric. I found these two florals and bought 2/3 of a yard each. 1 yard was too much and a ½ yard seemed too little! At this point, I was thinking the darker, smaller print for facings and the larger print for an appliqué or two.

But wait! I decide to buy this new sewing machine that embroiders. Of course I go online to see what is out there in the world of pre-designed embroidery patterns and find a set of Jacobean florals that almost match my fabric!Jacobean-Fabric-and-Embroidery

One of the great things about searching the Internet is I didn’t know I was working with a Jacobean style floral. Isn’t it fun to learn something new? The threads of this embroidery can be changed to match the cotton floral fabric. Now the design process is getting exciting!

Third, the pattern needs to be picked and/or altered Here is a mood board of my favorites from the Pinterest file. mood-boardThe grey and black tunic from Soft Surroundings (bottom right) is the closest to the shape I want, but I love the bias pleats of the Alexander McQueen shirt (top right). The shapes of these two shirts aren’t completely compatible since the McQueen shirt would be boxy in shape.


I made the shirt on the left last January with pleats in the back, but I can stitch the pleats together at the waist similar to the shirt to the right.

Now it’s time to start cutting, sewing and embroidering, so this is where I will leave everyone hanging  (hopefully) in anticipation! I still need to decide where to place the accent fabrics and embroideries, but I think I will decide as I cut out the pattern. Some things need to be spontaneous. You will all have to let me know if the final shirt looks like you imagined from this post.