Monday, August 22, 2016

Revisiting the Egyptian Shirt

Folkwear pattern #104 Egyptian shirt

This is one of those folkwear patterns that is mostly composed of rectangles. It is fun to make something like that from time to time especially with a fabric that has a distinctive weave.

The fabric is a yummy linen I purchased from a local custom clothier who was cleaning out the stash in her studio a few years ago. It is very soft, not at all stiff like some linens. I don't know how to describe the weave, but perhaps you can tell from the pictures. It would be too sheer to use in this fashion if not for the geometric shapes in the weave. It is still a little sheer, but the front facing distracts. And I think it works on this BIG garment.

The facing on this is shaped for traditional applique and then lots of embroidery. One day I'll have to try that! The first two times I made this (years ago), I reversed the facing, stitching it to the outside. This time I wanted to focus on the weave of the semi-sheer fabric and so placed the facing on the inside. Also the facing is made from plain cotton batiste so that the linen weave is undisturbed.

The instructions are to press the edges of the facing 1/4 inch before attaching. Then you are to attach the facing, trim, clip, flip, press and top-stitch in place. I think they missed a step. I prefer to stitch 1/4 inch from the edge and then press inside. I think it would be very difficult to get a pretty curve otherwise. Other that this change, I constructed the facing in the same way.

I tried a few experiments with this. The first one was to add some white pearl cotton stitching to the front bib area, similar to that on the pattern. It was easy to take out, luckily.


I also tried a few closures before settling on these loops made from bias tubes. Now I'm wondering if the buttons are not quite white enough. 

Seams were/are a little worrisome with this fabric. I am hoping it does not fray with use and washing. I might consider dry-cleaning or hand-washing. I used a combination of faux flat felled seams and French seams, so everything is tidy inside and out. I hope it stays that way!

These side seam pockets are easy to construct.

Looking back over these pictures, I'm realizing that my favorite aspect of the pattern may be the shape of the front facing. That would be easy to adapt to other more fitted garments.


  1. Great shirt! I like that the buttons are not bright white- more interesting.

  2. I really love this. It's so cool, both in terms of sticky summer weather, and je ne sais quoi. This is a pattern I'll be on the lookout for.

    I made the "I'm with her" block today. Thanks so much for the link! I'm not a quilter - making the block just about used all my quilting skills - but I will applique it to a tote bag to carry campaign literature as I canvass in a neighboring swing state. So cute!

  3. I would love to see this on you. It looks like a perfect summer shirt. I love the fabric and the cool design.

  4. This is a beautiful shirt. I love the weave in the linen. I too would like to see this on you.

  5. How pretty. I find myself cruising the folkwear patterns very often, the details are so intriguing. And a fresh change from Big 4 patterns, which repeat, repeat, repeat. Your work is lovely.