“Call me, Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world…”
‘Moby-Dick; or, The Whale’ by Herman Melville
I have a habit of buying books that I don’t intend to read straight away, but that I plan to read at some undefined moment in time when the feeling is right. I think this tic comes from having worked in places where literally thousands of books everyday pass through your hands so you can’t remember the names and titles of the ones that look interesting! As I used to work for Borders Books and later on, the British Library, I now have rather a lot of books bought with either a massive discount or given away free (I used to run events for Borders and the freebies were AMAZING!) and I don’t seem to be able to get myself out of the habit. My copy of ‘Moby-Dick’ was bought when I lived in Japan, and, yes, part of the reason I bought that particular version was because I loved the re-designed Penguin Classics cover. However, I had completely forgotten I had it until very recently when my husband picked it up to take to Langkawi. This in turn reminded me of some fabric I had stashed away (hoarding tendencies?!) featuring a slightly less ferocious white whale! I’ve wanted to make a long-sleeved top for a while (Singapore’s obsession with air-conditioning can be pretty freezing) and had the Airelle pattern gnawing away at my brain, so this was the perfect opportunity to put these obsessions to rest!
The Airelle pattern by Deer and Doe seems to have been made by half the sewing community and there are some beautiful versions out there, but I particularly love Rachel’s beautiful bright version, Paunnet’s man’s shirt refashion, and Gigette’s Airelle with peter-pan collar. As the original pattern has quite an angular collar, I decided to curve mine to mirror the curviness of the whale’s bodies. I did this very simply by eye and settled on a deep curve which I think works well with this fabric. The fabric is a very light and crispy cotton poplin that I think it meant to be used for children’s clothes! However, I liked it too much to pass over the chance and swiftly bought two metres! As the whale print is rather busy, I decided not to complicate matters further by adding contrasting cuffs and collars, but I did use bright yellow piping to accentuate the seam lines. I had thought to add some to the collar as it can be quite tricky to see against all that pattern, but in retrospect, I think it may have been too much if I had.
The pattern itself is very easy to put together and I used french seams where possible. As is usual with any Deer and Doe pattern, each stage is clearly explained and illustrated, and the pattern pieces are very well drafted. This shirt has lots of little details that give it a certain amount of elegance (especially important when you are using kid’s print fabric!), but my favourite is the little tucks at the shoulder.
I considered sewing down the collar because it kept jumping up at odd angles, but after pressing, it seems to be lying flat, so I haven’t needed to do so. The fit around my chest is rather tight and it is a bit of a struggle to take off (!), so I think I need to do a FBA (full bust adjustment) next time I make this. I really need to look into exactly how to do so because my idea of it is rather hazy… Other than that, Airelle fits me straight out of the packet which is yet another reason to love Eleonore’s designs!
Apologies for the mad state of my hair in these photos – it tends to go rather wild if I don’t pin it down with a hairband for a few hours! That, and I think I may need a cut…! Anyway, I had better return to the never-ending jumper knitting! I am now almost finished with the first sleeve of my Dad’s stripy jumper, and waiting for the wool to arrive for my Mum’s Blaithin! Right now I have some pretty impressive callouses on my finger tips from all that knitting! After I’ve finished though, it might just be the right time to read ‘Moby Dick’…