Friday, September 11, 2015

The Florence Shirt

The Florence Shirt may be the most recent pattern released by The Sewing Workshop (TSW). After having such fun with the Cortona Shirt pattern, I have been looking forward to trying my hand with the Florence.

The Cortona shirt has some unusual lines to it and it is a distinctive make. The Florence, on the other hand, seems to be a classic with some contemporary details.

I omitted the buttons on the button band attached to the back, but kept the band. It was a fun place to play with the stripey effect of this fabric but I was not sure I would like sitting on buttons or even leaning on them while seated.

On the classic side, there is the standard collar band and collar, as well as cuffed sleeves and a separate band for buttons and buttonholes down the front. The sleeve is set in and sits nicely right at the shoulder line. The back yoke places the shoulder seam slightly forward. It is really a nice women's shirt pattern with lots of options.

The contemporary details include its tunic length and front hem tucks. It also has a band down the center back with buttons. It does not actually button and in fact is a separate piece that is top-stitched on. I chose to omit these back buttons - could not see myself sitting on them. It is an interesting idea though.

And then there is this cute pleated breast pocket. You gotta love a pocket detail!

The overall silhouette is very appealing to me. The side seams curve very slightly into a lantern shape and the tucks in the front further define that shape.  The proportion is pretty.

Things I changed: 
  • The back yoke is single layer. Easy to fix, of course, by simply cutting a second layer. Otherwise there would have been all those raw edges that get eliminated with the *burrito* method of attaching a yoke lining..
  • The sleeve vents are made with continuous bias strips. Though I've been making tower plackets on my shirts lately, I decided to go ahead and try this out. The technique described in the pattern produced a lumpy edge on the vent. The described technique starts with folding bias strips wrong sides together and pressing lengthwise. Then the double bias strips are attached to the stay-stitched slash. By the time you wrap the double bias around the raw edges and top-stitch, it involves lots of layers and not much room. Now this could have been my fabric, but I strongly suggest testing a sample with your fabric before using the technique in this pattern. I ended up using a standard continuous bias strip as described by Sandra Betzina in her Power Sewing book (what a great reference). 

I finished my sleeve cuffs and my collar stand in a different way, but I think the directions would have yielded the same result. The directions call for the *burrito* technique in these two finishes but I felt more comfortable with hand-finishing.

My fabric came from Gail K here in Atlanta. It is a wonderful indigo blue cotton shirting - one of those pieces that responds to pressing but really does not need it. It is soft to the touch and was a pleasure to sew. It is a kind of Ikat I believe with a striped effect. The stripes ran crosswise so I rotated the main pattern pieces so that the stripes would run vertically on me. The stripes are random in appearance but, like most stripes, it was fun to rotate for some of the minor pattern pieces like the cuffs and the button bands. It was a great piece of fabric to sew.

The buttons are some of those old-fashioned ball buttons. I am not so sure about them. So I welcome your input! Do you think dark blue buttons would be better?

All in all, a fun make. Linda and Erin at The Sewing Workshop have made their versions with border prints and they are fabulous! I am already day-dreaming about my next version.


  1. What a GREAT shirt! I love the manipulated stripes...

  2. Really nice shirt! I love how you've amped it up with the details.

  3. Love it and what gorgeous fabric.

  4. "The Florence Shirt may be the last pattern released by The Sewing Workshop (TSW)." Does this mean "the most recent pattern" or have you heard that TSW is going to cease publishing patterns. Inquiring minds (mine, anyway) are curious. (If it is the latter, I'll be SO sad.)

    Your shirt is fan-tab-u-ous, BTW. You inspire me to get creative beyond the pattern.

  5. Very pretty! I think this ay be one of my favorite TSW patterns and I have a number of them I like.