Seeing as it’s Fashion Revolution week again (my post about it is here), it seemed fitting to be writing about sustainable-ish textiles from which I made my Fibre Mood Aila. It is partially recycled cotton chambray and because there wasn’t enough, I dug through my stash and came up with this offcut of broderie anglaise. The shirt is a pattern from the new issue 14 of Fibre Mood, available here.
Disclaimer: I work as a freelancer and Fibre Mood is one of my clients. Links to Fibre Mood are affiliate. I bought the fabric myself but I did not buy the pattern. I am not obliged to blog about this make or even make it at all. Of course opinions are my own and I try to give you what I like and what I don’t like, but as you can imagine there is always going to be subconscious bias.
Fibre Mood Aila shirt pattern
If you’ve never made a button up (or down) shirt before, this is a good pattern for you. The construction is simplified but you still get to practise a collar and a machine rolled hem (I have a tutorial on how to do this coming up real soon). What makes it simple?
- There is only one outer yoke. In a “shirt shirt” you would expect to see an outer and inner yoke.
- No sleeves to set in, they are grown on, i.e. form part of the front and back pieces.
- Sleeve hems are simple double-fold hem, as opposed to cuffs.
- No separate button placket – it is part of the front piece and you simply fold over twice and stitch it down.
If you’re an experienced sewist then this pattern is a speedy sew for you. But it will fall short when it comes to beautiful finishings (lack of inner yoke, I’m looking at you). However, nothing you can’t fix if you decide that you like the shape and style of the shirt.
The pattern calls for 11mm buttons but I only had 15mm mother of pearl ones in my stash. The size of the button placket is fine in terms of using bigger buttons. The collar stand is probably a teeny bit narrow for 15mm but I’m never buttoning up my top button anyway, so minor point.
Fit and length
The pattern description says this is oversized. Check the finished measurements to see what you like. I already know that I like my semi-fitted shirts to be around the 90-95cm mark in terms of ease (my bust is 82cm). The smallest size XS has 112.5 as the finished bust measurement so I chose that over the size S.
Length-wise the Fibre Mood Aila is fine for me to tuck in because I quite like high waisted trousers and skirts. If I was to tuck into something else then I’d probably want it lengthened by 3cm just in case.
Let’s see the blouse in motion!
Fabric for the Aila
The plain fabric is 100% cotton, approximately half of it recycled from yarns spun from old t-shirts. The other half is organic cotton. It was woven in Enschede (a town in The Netherlands) – you can read the interview with Annemieke from Enschede Textielstad here – and my first experience with this kind of chambray. It was quite different from any chambray I’ve encountered previously. Not sure if it is due to the t-shirt yarn or something else, but here is what I noticed:
- Super soft to the touch after washing, and soft drape. The closest comparable substrate that is commonly available I can think of is double gauze.
- Frays like crazy the moment you even look at it.
- Different colour on the right side (twill weave side) than on the wrong side. You can see the twill weave clearly in the close up below. The wrong side is much creamier and the right side whiter. It didn’t quite come out on the pic but the wrong side is the same colour as the broderie.
For the Fibre Mood Aila I personally think it’s ideal to choose something with some kind of soft drape. Of course you can do it in something structured like poplin but the sleeves will stick out a bit as they are “grown on” (i.e. no separate sleeve piece, it is just an extension of the front / back / back yoke). By the way, I do like the sleeve length. Not too short and not too long for me.
The contrast yoke was a bit of broderie anglaise offcut from many moons ago. So long ago I don’t even know what I used the bigger piece for originally!
Some less ideal things to live with
I had to cut one of the fronts on the cross-grain because I didn’t have enough fabric (I had 1m for a size XS. Should really have had at least 1.35 as per the instructions). The white of the broderie doesn’t match the chambray perfectly – but I can’t be expecting any whites to match really can I?! That would be wishful thinking. Also, my broderie piece wasn’t long enough to accommodate the back yoke so there is a centre back seam on it which isn’t my ideal look. I probably would like the gathers at the back to be fuller as well, they don’t look “intentional” enough for me. It would be an easy fix – adding 1.5cm to the CB piece to give total extra 3cm of gathering would do it I reckon.
I’ll admit that when I put the shirt on half done I was thoroughly unimpressed. But I decided to plough through anyway. And when it was actually finished with the buttons on, I suddenly did a 180 and thought it was flipping great! Here’s a couple of pics showing how I might wear it in future if it’s not jeans and a belt.
Feeling inspired to make an Aila yourself? Here’s the (affiliate) link to the pattern.
That’s it for now, till next time.