Sunday, February 19, 2012


Well I guess that I've surprised myself by posting again within a six month period!!  I'm sooooo bad!  I had a real spurt of inspiration after writing about Truman Capote's 'Swans' and I couldn't get the image of Babe Paley out of my mind!  I have the picture I posted last, hanging in my sewing room and as I looked at it, I knew I had to take that look of elegance and some how translate it into something that would work for a man.  What struck me was the color blocking of her dress as seen here.  I knew I could create a shirt of some kind that would have that same color blocked effect.  A light bulb went on and I decided to do a sweatshirt!  I'm very fond of fleece fabrics.... to me they're the poor man's cashmere and so easy to care for.  I went looking for a light blue and navy combination of colors at the local Jo-Ann Fabric store but didn't find exactly what I wanted, so I chose a vibrant Chinese blue shade and paired it with black.  I loved the combination and knew I could make something striking from it!  Here is the whole process in pictures:

I decided that the shirt would consist of only two main parts, the sleeve and upper part of was cut on the fold as one piece, the lower part was also cut on the fold of the fabric with only one seam at the back.  I've always been fascinated by seamless garments and the way they contour to the body.  So much of men's clothing involves lots of construction and I'm trying to get away from that and create a more relaxed, easy look, while still maintaining that classic masculine edge.  Now unfortunately, I don't have a male mannequin, so I use my regular one.  Here is the upper portion of the shirt, first draped and then sewn.  I had a bit of a problem getting the neckline right, luckily I cut things out in a cheap cotton fabric I had in my stash before even thinking about cutting the fleece.  I've finally learned that it is well worth the effort to make a test or sample first then to be pissed off from not getting it right the first time.

My main problem with the top was getting the neckband to lay flat around the neck.  I had to take it off, trim  and apply it several times, finally I decided to sew a strip of clear elastic inside the band itself which was a big
 help in controlling things.  I then proceeded onward and attached the lower black portion and added the waistband and cuffs. 

 I was pleased with results and added a two-toned matching muffler to 
complete the look.

Here are some shots of the end results side by side with the source of inspiration Babe Paley!