Or, Perkins and Reperkins. I binge sewed the Ensemble Patterns Perkins shirt this past summer and I’m finally catching up here! I sew a lot of pattern repeats, but this shirt showcased one of the wider varieties of fabrics I’ve used to sew one pattern, and I hoped it might be interesting to compare the finished projects. My first post showed the cropped, gathered view in breezy semi-sheer polyester. Here’s that same view in lightweight but opaque 100% cotton.
Okay, you caught me – this is 10% a thoughtful comparison of one pattern in many fabrics and 90% me saying LOOK AT THAT PRINT!! Like my first Perkins, I sewed this in a fabric I bought from TMOS. I am KICKING myself that I didn’t buy more. I bought 1.5 meters for the princely sum of $5.47 and if I could ever find it again (impossible, at a guess) I would buy 3 or 4 meters more.
That’s some aggressive fruit! ❤ Fear meee!
I actually got this Perkins from the leftovers of my 1.5 meters after making a tee, so when using stable fabrics where print direction doesn’t matter, I think you can really cut the pattern pieces any which way and be successful. The only pieces that aren’t backed or lined in some way are the shirt front and back – the plackets, collar and collar stand, yoke, pocket, and sleeves all have added support/structure.
The pocket placement might seem too low on the cropped view. Hold fast. It’s not too low. It’s just right. I doubted and was justly smote (by having to unpick and re-sew the pocket where the markings indicate; I’ve been smote-er).
I used cotton lawn to line the sleeves of this and the next Perkins, and I used the lawn instead of interfacing as well. I’m of two minds about this. On the ‘pro’ side, I was able to cut the cotton lawn very efficiently with nothing leftover for my scrap box. Also, it’s never going to get that wrinkly surface that interfaced pieces sometimes develop after going through the wash a few times. On the ‘con’ side, unless you baste it to your pattern pieces (I didn’t), it’s a pain in a neck to actually sew. The solution (baste it!! Obviously, baste it!) didn’t occur to me at the time. I also managed to stack my collar pieces wrong, which is how my lawn ‘interfacing’ ended up as my undercollar –
Who knows what terrifying carnivorous fruits lurk within these collar pieces?
The stiffer cotton adds volume, but because it also weighs a little more, it floats away from my body less. So the silhouette is similar to my polyester Perkins, but the movement is quite different. Sisters-not-twins. So this one is their brother, maybe!
This is a different view – regular length, no gathers. The sleeves and collar are the same for all views (well, there’s a tied-in-the-back collar option, but it’s very very not for me).
The first time I posted a Perkins shirt review I was so buzzed on my finished shirt that I forgot to talk about the instruction booklet. I puzzled it out and I love my shirts, but the instructions are confusing. The first two pages of sewing instruction show steps 01, 02, 01, 02, 03, 01, 02, 01, 01, in that order. Each sewing stage restarts the numbering and the views are jumbled together. Again, after sewing two views, I’m happy as can be with the drafting and my finished shirts, but the instructions share certain qualities with a funhouse mirror.
That said, this was my third time sewing a Perkins shirt in a span of weeks, so the actual construction held no mysteries for me. But the fabric was another story!
I used cotton twill for the outer pieces and it came out of the washer and dryer so, so off grain. This would be less than ideal even if it wasn’t marked with a grid that would make any error on my part super duper obvious. I cut everything on a single layer, skewing my pattern pieces to match the skewed grid. Then, after cutting, I pulled the cut fabric back on grain. I had to pull hard! This is so counter to the usual way to treat cut fabric! It felt wrong, like throwing away a book or eating a sandwich in a bathroom.
Luckily it worked! I didn’t start with a ton of faith in the process, so I cut the yoke and the pocket on the cross-grain instead of trying to pattern match.
I also decided this shirt would button left-over-right, instead of the intended right-over-left, because I liked the shirt front better without the off-center vertical red line visible on the placket.
I French-seamed the side seams on both these shirts, by the way. I needed to use cotton lawn to line my fruit shirt because I didn’t have enough main fabric, and I chose to use it for my plaid shirt because it was lighter and cheaper than my main fabric. And it reduces bulk in the underarm seam.
Once again I’ve taken a winding road to a similar Perkins silhouette – the body of the regular view is a lot less full, but this twill holds much more structure! Well, why fight it, I guess?
The plaid one is my favorite so far, but that might be because it’s the warmest one. I haven’t tried a fabric that didn’t work as a Perkins shirt – I don’t have plans to add a fourth to my wardrobe right now, but you never know, I might find a fabric I can’t resist and have a totally new favorite come spring!
Pattern: Perkins shirt
Pattern cost: NA
Supplies: leftovers from cotton Hemlock tee, TMOS; 2/3 yard of black cotton lawn, Gather Here, $5.90; 6 buttons, Gather Here, $2.00
Total time: 5.5 hours
Total cost: $7.90
Pattern: Perkins shirt
Pattern cost: NA
Supplies: 1.5 yards of Classic Plaid Twill in Hunter and Black with Red by Sevenberry, 2/3 yard of navy cotton lawn, Gather Here, $28.78; 8 buttons, Gather Here, $4.00
Total time: 5.75 hours
Total cost: $32.78