The Frankie Shirt

homemade baseball shirt raglan sleeve purple mel stringer patch

A couple of months ago I did Design Your Wardrobe the Seamwork sewing planning program (I might write about this if I feel so inclined). The aim of it is to get you to plan your sewing the way a designer plans their collection – gathering inspiration and developing your ideas before selecting patterns and fabrics. It really made me think about what I like to wear, what I want to wear, and what I actually need in my wardrobe. The answer to all of these questions was CUTE CASUAL CLOTHING! So I went to all the inspiration I had collected and started to plan some non-basic basics.

I had added these tops to my mood board to represent the kind of casual clothes I’m looking for:

Toxic Masculinity shirt is from My Favorite Murder and available here / True Love shirt is from Ramblin’ Rose and can be found here

I have always loved a baseball skirt. I love the classic raglan sleeves and design opportunities they offer. I knew that a baseball shirt would be a nice simple make that I would probably knock up in an afternoon AND it had the potential to help me use up odd bits of jersey fabric that are too small for other projects.

As Tilly Walnes’s new book Stretch! came out around the time of Design Your Wardrobe, it seemed only right that I use Frankie as the pattern for my own baseball shirt (and it gave me an excuse to order one of the signed copies that were available).

Unusually for me, I cut a straight size 7 top. I usually blend between sizes because my waist is about a size smaller than my bust and hips, and I prefer to make sure everything has some kind of waist shaping. The pattern is designed to have a relaxed fit so I will definitely take it in at the waist next time. The only alteration I made was to shorten the top a little because a) I have a short torso and b) I wanted to make more of a feature of the curved hem.

Tilly and the buttons frankie shirt

Sewing up the top was nice and simple, so I managed to knock it up in a few hours. I actually found cutting out the trickiest bit of all. I think I managed to slightly stretch the fabric and so I had a wonky arm and had to recut. The finish of the top isn’t entirely perfect – the neckband is lightly thinner in places where I was sewing too quickly to keep it neat, and the white thread I couldn’t be bothered to change to sew on the neckband shows through a bit. But I think small things like this aren’t really noticeable for anyone except me, and I’ve almost forgotten about them already. Whenever I get too bogged down worrying about perfection in the things I’ve made, I remember that my colleague bought a playsuit from Primark that had the legs in sideways so that you’d have to twist your torso at 90 degrees to wear it.

When I was thinking about planning my spring/summer wardrobe, I noticed that I was pinning clothes with really great details. Clever or funny or just a bit different, I really love an embroidered motif or patch on a simple sweatshirt or t-shirt, so why on earth haven’t I been adding this to my handmade clothes?! This patch was designed by Mel Stringer for Lucky Dip Club about 2 years ago, and I have been hoarding it ever since, waiting for the perfect place to put it. I thought of using a couple of other patches (I’ve been hoarding them without any idea when or where I’ll use them) but I love purple, and once I decided to do the sleeves and neckband in a deep purple, I couldn’t resist adding this lilac patch.

mel stringer

In a nutshell – I bloody love this. It was easy to make and the perfect vehicle for excellent patches! I’m not sure it’s the most flattering garment I’ve ever made but I couldn’t care less about flattering! It makes me feel awesome.

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