A few months before Christmas a very dear friend of mine asked me if I would make him a shirt. Now this is something I would never normally do as my sewing time is precious and I’m so slow it takes ages to finish projects. However Leon is one of the loveliest people I know and married to my best friend. He is also a fabric rep and wanted it for his work Christmas party. I knew this probably wouldn’t be any old fabric/shirt.Turns out it wasn’t – it was six fabrics.
Or rather two fabrics in three colour ways each. The front and back are a heavy linen with parrots all over, the sleeves are a lighter linen with giant Hibiscus flowers.
With fabric as bold as this and knowing Leon has the personality to pull it off I borrowed a 1970s pattern from the Made Marion shirt pattern library. (If you’re based in Wellington and don’t know about it, Maryanne has a huge collection of men’s shirt patterns that they will lend for a gold coin donation.)
Butterick 4712 had the look I wanted that wouldn’t chop up the prints too much. When cutting out I made sure every single pattern piece was a different colour way from the next. I didn’t bother with the pockets or epaulets as I wanted the parrots to be the stars. In fact I loved the parrots so much I put an extra one on the collar.
This is probably one of my all time favourite makes. The fabric and the oversized details just made it a joy to sew. I have to admit I felt a real pang seeing it go out the door.
Leon loved it though and it was a huge hit at his office Christmas party. He wore it steadily through the Christmas party season and I got to see it in action at a BBQ at his house on the beach on Boxing Day. I was in full on sewing smug mode at all the compliments he got 😉
Psst don’t tell Leon but I only ended up needing four of the fabrics so got to keep the two more muted versions.