Champagne Problems

I started typing a post immediately after finishing this Hey June Willamette shirt, and it was very vinegary. A couple days later I ‘officially’ wore the shirt and we took these pictures, and actually, it’s a totally fine shirt. A skosh of misdirected feelings, maybe! But now my hair is finally outgrowing hair puberty, the weather is warm enough to appreciate an airy shirt, and the pain point is behind me, childbirth-style (I assume giving birth is indistinguishable from sewing shifty fabric). So this review will be brought to you by Jekyll & Hyde. 🙂

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According to Mr. Hyde:

Lately I’ve considered it a patriotic duty to buy treats (iN tHis EConOmY), so I browsed the Gather Here website and snapped up the last two yards of this Cedar green Atelier Brunette fabric. It’s a viscose crêpe (does that word wear a hat when it’s not a delicious snack?) and it’s drapey and soft and textured and fast forward to now and I HATED SEWING IT SO MUCH. This fabric was a PITA. If PITAS were pitas, I could open a falafel shop. Side note, I might want something flat and doughy. ANYWAY, this fabric busted me down to beginner, and not in a fun way.

Staystitching didn’t stop it from growing like crazy. In the time it took me to fuse one facing, the second grew two inches longer. I wasn’t swinging it around my head like a lasso – I just moved it three feet from my table to my ironing board. That was the kind of magic beanstalk tomfoolery I was dealing with!

I used the wrong thread, too. I ordered cotton thread ‘to match’, but it was too dark against the fabric, so I subbed in polyester thread from my stash.

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You’re supposed to use cotton thread to sew viscose so that your stitches pop before your fabric rips, and yeah, sure enough, while unpicking I made a couple little holes. Stitch by stitch was okay, but tugging a couple inches of polyester thread at a time would sometimes pop a hole in the fabric – which took me too long to work out, and left me wondering where these tiny holes were coming from. Most were right on the seam line, so I sewed a 1/16th inch larger seam allowance around them. One is in my armpit, and I didn’t notice until taking a larger seam allowance was no longer an option, so I fused a scrap of self-fabric to the back and sewed two hand stitches for reinforcement.

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X marks the spot!

One hole was right on the fold line of the cuff, somehow, which led me to unpick the cuff, throw out the directions, draft my own cuff, and cost me hours of my precious and only life. GRRR. I cut two rectangles (17” x 5”, if memory serves? I was not in a notes mood at that moment) for my new pieces. I folded the cuff almost in thirds narrowly, a.k.a. hot-dog-style, and hand-stitched the second edge in place because they grew too much to topstitch without a great big tuck. I did one right-side-out and one inside-out, and they’re both equally pucker-y.

Also, I hemmed with self-bias. I wasn’t going to get a smooth and pretty turn where the plackets overlapped, even if I took a hammer to it, which I was very very in the mood for!

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By the way, about those plackets – they really are just overlapped and topstitched. I’m a bit disappointed; I had hoped there would be some clever construction tip. And the shoulders seams are finished in a funny way. I strongly prefer the Negroni technique (do this, then that, vintage Male Pattern Boldness!). It ends up with a gap of maybe an inch or two unsewn on the inside, which you can finish by hand if you like, as opposed to hand-basting the whole seam in place as I had to do here.

Anyway, after hours of stitching and picking and meticulous hand-sewing plus the fact that this fabric costs a queen’s ransom, I ended up with a shirt that looks like I would be required to wear it by my employer.  

And the hem is wonky!!

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These hemline wrinkles were caused by the cardinal sin of sitting down while wearing a shirt, by the way. Siiigh.

Okay, now let’s hear from Mr. Jekyll:

I might appear to work at a gas station, but it’s one luxurious gas station. The way this fabric drapes looks expensive to me. Which is good, because it was!! And like so many shirts, I can fix most of its problems by gathering the excess into a hair elastic and tucking it out of the way.

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Sidebar: Do you remember those plastic Lisa Frank slides you could use to gather your oversize tee-shirts? My go-to pairing was a Flintstones shirt with a pink dolphin buckle. I might not have known art, but I knew what I liked.

I really appreciated the different pleat suggestions in this pattern. I went for a single asymmetrical pleat, and I might use it everywhere, because I really like the result.

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The pattern came together without any issues (by which I mean, all of my plenty of issues were due to the fabric). It’s comfortable to wear and the collar rolls just right. Before taking these pictures I was pretty sure I was going to donate this shirt, but after wearing it for a day I’m actually browsing for lightweight cotton to make another. Also, it’s not the designer’s fault that I didn’t know Willamette was a place and kept spelling it Williamette. Whose fault was it? It’s a myyyssstery!

In the end I really like my breezy baby!

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This is my second pair of Perse-phony shorts, by the way; I squeezed them out of the scraps of my pants. A freebie and a luxebie, living together in harmony. I’m feeling more harmonious, too. It’s almost like…it wasn’t the shirt’s fault?!

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Jekyll & Hyde can leave, shirt can stay!

Pattern: Hey June Willamette

Pattern cost: $10.00

Size: 12

Supplies: 2 yards of Atelier Brunette viscose crepe in Cedar, Gather Here, $42.00; thread, Gather Here, $2.29

Total time: 9 hours

Total cost: $54.29

15 thoughts on “Champagne Problems

  1. That green is amazing and I think the shirt looks great (especially tucked!). I’m actually really pleased that you mentioned the fabric, though, because I also bought some of this crepe a while ago and HATED sewing with it. I actually never finished what I was making with it and just gave up because it was so miserable to work with, despite how much I’d spent on it. I’ve never seen anyone else complain about it but I’m happy not to be the only one!

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    1. WE CAN BE THE SECRET RESISTANCE! 😀 By the way – if you ever return to and finish that project, the fabric gets super wrinkly after washing and drying. So the fun keeps coming. 😉

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      1. Haha, love a secret club! Sadly/happily the fabric is long gone (pretty sure it became pocket linings for a few different items) so I don’t have to deal with the anticipation of washing it…

        Just to reiterate, though, this shirt is great and I’m super impressed that you managed to sew a collar in this fabric!

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  2. I love that shirt, it’s beautiful. I know the feeling though when a project has given me a lot of grief to make, sometimes I need to take a break, forget how painful the whole thing was and make friends with the finished garment again.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, a little space was what I needed. I’m glad I’m not the only one who can have a complicated relationship with a shirt. 🙂

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  3. I’m so glad that I no longer have to feel badly about not having any atelier brunette fabric in my stash. No pitas in my sewing room!! Just not worth it, especially when they come out of the wash in a mess. You have done an admirable job with this blouse, and have once again turned a “challenge” into a great story. But really? Sewing should be somewhat fun, and there are limits to what a seamstress should be expected to do with such hard to handle fabric. Here’s to beautiful fabric that is a pleasure to sew: I wish the world would make more lovely cotton lawn, for example, available.

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    1. It’s so funny you say that, because the very next project I cut was a shirt from cotton lawn that I’ve had for years! I was marveling at it the whole time – so easy to cut and handle, what was I waiting for? Thanks so much! ^^

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  4. I always look forward to your posts and this one did not disappoint. I nearly spit out my soda when I read “my precious and only life” and I hope you don’t mind me integrating that into my own vocabulary immediately. 😂

    The shirt is v. cute and it looks perfect for summer. I have a boxy linen Willamette which I love – but the drape on this is wonderful!

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    1. Haha, you can tell when I started taking it VERY PERSONALLY! Ooh…linen sounds perfect! I’ve been browsing for Indian cotton but I might need to pivot.

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  5. I’ve just made a top from this same viscose but in navy blue and it turned into a bit of a disaster because I didn’t realise quite how delicate and shifty it was going to be! Very relieved to read this and see my experience is shared! Great job in persisting with a project, the finished top looks really great and the green is gorgeous

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    1. Thanks so much! I just went and read your blog post with the same substrate – oh my goodness you were much more ambitious than me. Your top looks lovely and slinky and romantic, back at you for congrats on finishing! I don’t know about you, but I’m taking a break from challenging fabrics for a minute now.

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  6. Weeks late but hi!
    The little hat on the e is a circumflex and it makes it a harder sound, maybe like the first e in elephant – it should have the accent in both cases, and if one follows the instruction it’s giving it sounds like crep, not cra(y)pe – it’s a mispronunciation that has become canon; compare asking google to say it in French and English!

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