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Cotton Lawn Parrots

Sewing cotton lawn fabric into blouses and tops makes for easy summer dressing.  My article in the current issue of Classic Sewing Magazine features 3 Tabula Rasa Jackets stitched into effortless Spring to Summer tops.  This post is about a 4th top designed and sewn at the same time.

Find Fun Fabrics

Sourcing fabrics for the article’s samples at Farmhouse Fabrics, I came upon lawn designed by Tori Richard.   It is fun and a bit different from the classic florals and paisley prints on Liberty Tana Lawn and its imitators.

Several lawn fabrics and button options

I ordered several of the coordinating prints; this post will feature the parrot printed TRJ made with the geometric print “Shades of Blue” and “Green Parrot on Blue”.  Carrie chose them from the pages and pages of lawn options at Farmhouse Fabrics, so this top was made for her. 

The parrot fabric was fussy cut to take full advantage of the fun print.  This process creates a bit of waste, but those scraps are going to come in handy for a future project.  I will post photos of the cutting process on social media this week.

Personalize the Design Details

Usually I choose feminine details for Lawn garments; this fabric wanted to be less fussy so I used the Faux Shawl Collar style band from Band Variations with Carrie’s basic TRJ pattern.  The pattern was opened up around the neckline for a cooler profile and shortened at the hem and the sleeves.  A previous blog post, Hot Summer Sewing, shows the neckline pattern alterations on a top with a different band variation (the ruched neckline) in classic lawn prints.

The faux collar band for this shirt is 3” wide.  Here is a list of sewing and cutting decisions that made it successful:

Opening up the neckline and measuring for the length of the band.
  • Measure the length of the band for your adjusted pattern and cut accordingly.
  • The band was cut on the bias so it would roll back gracefully and minimize the blocky look of the print.  I cut the sleeve cuffs the same way.
  • The band was stabilized along the lower 10 inches where the closure would be placed.
  • The band was pressed in half, finished at the hemline, and stitched on as a total unit using the technique found on page 8  in the Band Variations instruction booklet.  This is a very light and cool construction technique.
  • The hem is stitched in place around the band’s raw front edges after the band is attached, not before the band construction which is the usual TRJ order of construction.

The shortened sleeves have a bias-cut cuff stitched on using the same method as the band.

Calculating the length of the sleeve cuff on the bias fabric.

Don’t you love the buttons?  They are not actually functional, as I was not sure they were perfectly placed and I wanted the flexibility to move them around or change them if they were not pleasing on the finished garment.  These buttons have confounded Carrie and I for some time.  They are so fun, but tend to look like eyes when they are not positioned well.  Watch the Facebook and Instagram pages this week to see what I mean

Have fun in your clothes!

Make tops that Enhance your Wardrobe

Carrie is working on a new summer wardrobe with her redesigned, more comfortable Eureka Pants and some fun tops for our Enchanting France – Embellishing Fabric trip.  This top fits right into her color scheme which she will tell you about in the coming weeks. Don’t you love this photo of her trying it out with her first pair of linen pants.

Whatever your wardrobe wishes, little lawn Tabula Rasa Jackets are the perfect summer toppers.  They are fun with pants and perfect for a cool evening with a sleeveless Carpe Diem Dress or Tunic.  Because I like my tops to have sleeves that extend beyond my elbow, Tabula Rasa Jackets with opened necklines are my go to summer essential.  Made in lawn, they keep me cool and comfortable all day. 

Start Designing your Own

Our Band Variations and Sleeve and Cuff Variations patterns work hand in hand with the Tabula Rasa Jacket for lots of great summer looks. In fact, I hope to make another one for Carrie in the lawn floral from the second photo with some ruched lace along the band and a gathered bell cuff.  It will be a totally different look using the same basic pattern.

Happy Sewing, RAE

Want to read more, check out the previous post on hemming unlined jackets or pick up a copy of Classic Sewing Magazine.

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