I’m back with two fun shirts–identical, but in different colors–the fraternal twins of the shirt world?
I love a good animal print–not the type of print that looks like animal skin, but a print with pictures of animals, and some of my favorites are tigers and leopards. I have no idea why. There just seems to be a number of cute fabrics out there featuring tigers and leopards.
I’m not sure where I first noticed the fabrics I used for my shirts, but my husband got them for me in my two favorite colorways for Christmas and my birthday in 2020. Not only do I have these prints in lawn, last summer I found the same print in a knit jersey. I’m so excited! Its final destiny is yet to be determined.
But back to the fabric at hand! It was designed by Hello! Lucky as part of a collection called Wild and Free for Robert Kaufman, and it’s 100% cotton lawn, 44″ wide, and came from Fabric.com before it shut down (RIP Fabric.com). The pink is “Tigers Orange” and the blue is “Tigers Sunshine”.
Before beginning this project, I had many ideas floating around in my head. I knew I wanted to make the Closet Core Kalle shirt, but should I made two different versions or versions that were the same, but with contrasting plackets, collars, and cuffs, etc., etc.? In the end, I decided to batch sew two of the same version, each in its own color. I have made the cropped Kalle shirt once before in a speckled/splatter paint print lawn and absolutely love it. I wear it a lot and it has served me well, even as I have changed sizes over the years.
For my tiger shirts, I chose to make View A, lengthened by three inches. I made a size 18. Originally I was going to make the band collar pictured in View A, but part way through the process, I decided to switch to the standard collar so that you could see a bit of the fun fabric even if I wore these shirts under sweaters.
I gave some thought to pattern matching, but didn’t let myself get too wrapped up in it. That hidden placket, with its accordion folds, would have been a bit of a mind bender.
I also forgot to cut out my inner lining for my yokes, but this was fortuitous. If I had cut it out of my tiger fabric, you would have seen some bits of the pattern on the outside. Instead, I cut them out of some scraps of solid pink Cotton + Steel lawn that I had in my stash, which sets off the pattern nicely on the outside.
I found just the right buttons at Joann’s in matching colors in their Slimline collection–great basics that cost about a dollar a card. It was tempting to find something really crazy, but with the hidden placket, you’d never see them, and these buttons really were perfect.
In order to batch sew my shirts, I set up both of my machines with different thread colors. Normally I would always sew my buttonholes on my Elna 3005, which is my newer machine. However, I do actually have a buttonhole attachment for my Singer Featherweight. I told myself that now was the time to learn to use it. As with the Featherweight’s instructions, the instruction booklet for the Buttonholer is excellent.
It recommended making a little sample of all the different dies and stitch widths and, uncharacteristically, I actually did it! I knew I would never remember what I had done or might want to do in the future otherwise. On my blue shirt, I used the 5/8″ die at a stitch width of four (I think) and went around each buttonhole twice. It worked out really well, and forced me to learn to use my machine more extensively.
I didn’t have too much trouble with the sewing, except for getting the interfaced collar stand of the two-piece/standard collar to fit. In the end, I measured down and in by 5/8″ to find out where the ends of the collar stand should touch the edges of the button plackets. Then, I stretched the shirt to fit the collar stand. I had repinned so many times! I finally decided I would rather just stretch to fit and clip the neck edge after sewing.
A few other notes I made for myself that may be helpful to you if you are sewing this: at the point that you are sewing your buttonholes on the hidden placket, you should be sewing through two layers of fabric. It’s also a good idea to place your buttonholes slightly to the outside of center since the inner fold is partly taken up when you sew the placket down. And if you are confused on the cuffs, note that the angled part of the cuff should be on the top of the sleeve.
Also, you could check out the sewalong on the Closet Core website. It’s a little bit different than the directions at certain points, so if one doesn’t seem clear to you, the other might. I usually find Closet Core instructions really clear and thorough, but anyone can get confused when you are deep in a project or if the instructions don’t explain things in a way that makes sense to you.
I cut these shirts out in September of 2022, and sewed them up in October, finishing just as it started to cool off here for fall. I didn’t wear them much, so I put them away for my future self, and was so happy to take them out once spring hit.
It’s still pretty cool here, but I have managed to wear each one at least once, and I look forward to wearing them a lot more as the weather gets warmer. Both colors work great with my existing pants and shorts. I’m not a huge pattern repeater, but I’m really glad I came back and made this pattern again. I started with three yards of each fabric, and I have just about half a yard left of each, so while I often struggle to use my off-cuts, I’m pretty happy to have some little scraps of these fabrics left. I love them so much. And I am so very happy with my lovely new tiger shirts.