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#MechanicChic!

This medium weight 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric is soft to touch but resistant to wear and tear. Prior to this I’ve made most of my trousers out of cotton drill or denim and used shirting cotton or lawn for shirts. So I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this fabric. It seemed too heavy for one, but too light for the other… now I’ve made it up, I see that it’s actually perfect for both! I’ll be buying some more to make work and summer trousers soon, but I’m getting ahead of myself!

I found this shirt pattern in a magazine and liked it’s (sort of) garage-mechanic-vibe. Now, I do a fair bit of DIY around the house and am often complaining that I don’t have a designated ‘DIY Outfit’ so with a few tweaks to the pattern I set about making my ultimate DIY Shirt/ Lab-coat/ Top…!

The fabric was quite narrow, so a short sleeve shirt was about all I was going to get out of 2m. (If I’d thought to get a bit more I’d have made a short-leg short-sleeve boiler-suit… but maybe the world isn’t ready for that yet…?!

It was easy to mark and easy to press which came in handy as I constructed the pockets. I drafted two lower front pockets with flaps and I adapted the pattern for the top pocket to echo the shape of the lower ones. I included a pleat in the lower pockets to make sure there was plenty of space for tools and bits and bobs.

I added epaulets to the shoulders and tabs to the sleeves to add to the ‘mechanic’ vibe. I held them down with snaps, but only used the top section as I didn’t need them to function. This also stopped the snaps from being too bulky on my shoulders. I used a size 80 universal needle and regular polyester thread. I set the stitch length to 3mm for all the topstitching and I love how crisp it looks on the poplin.

I hemmed the sleeves and added more tabs and snaps to the centre. You can see on the inside where the back of the snap has been left out.

There’s no stretch but there is the tiniest amount of give to the fabric which helped getting the sleeves in. I also used one of my favourite techniques called EasestitchPlus (... among many other names, I’m sure!)

You basically sew a row of basting stitches just inside the seam allowance, with your finger behind the sewing foot. Do this over the easing area and you’ll find it much easier to get the excess in without the dreaded puckers!

Once the sleeves and sides were sewn up I put the collar on and topstitched it all down. The hem is straight, making it easy to double turn and topstitch - and it's done!

Having been wary of this fabric at first, I’m in love with it now. It’s described as being suitable for all types of garment; tops, shirts, dresses, trousers, skirts etc… and I concur! So far I’ve only worn it out for a drink though, so I don’t have an action shot for you! I’ll have to make a start on my next DIY project for that! In the meantime, here I am modelling it (rather awkwardly!) in London.

Thanks for reading,

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