Adventures in shirt making and blindfold drawing

I have far too much fabric. I have owned some of it for so long that it has moved house with me on more than one occasion. Whenever I cave in and buy a fabric that doesn't have a specific purpose I am usually thinking, "Oooo that would make a nice pair of trousers." Whenever my boyfriend happens to be with me when I am organising/rifling through my existing collection (which stretches floor to ceiling in our fairly small flat) he usually picks up one of two fabrics and says "That would make a nice shirt."

I do a lot of sewing for DIYcouture and also try and steal the time to make the odd piece for myself. I have made bits and bobs of clothing  for my sister but when it comes to Joel I have only ever got as far as making him a case for his chaos pad (a very small electronic musical instrument) and a laughably oversized bean bag.

I decided to set aside the time to make Joel a shirt. I picked from my stash a Liberty fabric that I bought  on Goldhawk Road at least seven years ago and copied one of Joel's existing shirts.

 I invested in a dressmakers pattern cutting board (essentially a big piece of card with a grid marked onto it), which I learned about from Claire-Louise of  The Thrifty Stitcher. She showed me how to use the board to anchor bits of a garment flat in order to trace its true shape. I put carbon paper face down directly on top of my fabric, with the shirt pinned on top and drew out the various segments of the short with a tracing wheel.

My work was top secret as the shirt was a Christmas present. Here is the finished shirt modelled by Joel.

I am proud of the crispness of the collar so here is an indulgent collar shot!

The shirt has been put on regular circulation in Joel's wardrobe so has had a few outings into the real world of London. Here it is at The Wellcome Collection, along with a crayon drawing of a daydreaming horse. 

The Wellcome Collection has a room dedicated specifically to doodling. It is equipped with crayons and pieces of blank card. On the back of the card is a stream of words that visitors are invited to draw. The wall at the end of the room is a constantly changing gallery of visitors doodles that staff choose to display. We found this one of various hair dos. If you have any idea what area of the human body the drawing third from left on the bottom row depicts, please do let me know!

The Wellcome has a slideshow of these doodles online and it is worth checking out. This is Joel's illustration of me as Nosferatu.

The shirt ended up at another public drawing session when Joel helped me run the DIYcouture table at the DIY Cultures zine fair. This is what the DIYcouture table looked like.

Dimitri Pieri ran a collective blindfold drawing session with an absolutely enormous piece of paper. Anyone standing idly around was handed a blindfold and a piece of charcoal and contributed to creating a big piece of art on the floor.

Here is the shirt hard at work.

And here are various other shirts hard at work. Who knows, some of them may also be homemade : )

Despite the wrinkled nose, I think Joel is happy with his Liberty print shirt. I was aiming to make The Perfect Shirt but if I ever make him another I will lower the neck line at the back and also attempt long sleeves with a real cuff.


  1. I think the doodle is looking up someone's nostrils at their nose-hair. Hope that helps!

    1. Aaaaah thank you! Someone else pointed this out to me too and now I can't see it any other way. Think i was having trouble seeing the woods for the trees!! Rosie xx


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