Sewing, to me, is not just about creating a piece of clothing; it’s about telling a story, diving into a creative, dopamine head space, and ultimately sharing a piece of my personality with the world. I have always viewed “dressing” as an expression of self and sewing allows me to take that even further.
My wardrobe staple has always been the classic button-up shirt. Whether thrifted or handmade, I’ve always leaned towards the oversized ones and playing with the styling (moving away from the work appropriate look to something more relaxed but chic.) However, finding the perfect proportions can be quite a challenge.
This summer, as I continue to assess my closest, projects list, and explore dopamine sewing- I craved a loose-fitting shirt with a length that could either elegantly cover my bum or be casually tucked in – in the words of Goldilocks, I wanted something “juuussttt right.” Not too long, not too short; not too large, not too tight.
The Noa Shirt (a free pattern from Fabrics Store!) offers that timeless button-up silhouette, but what’s fantastic is that it serves as a canvas for customization. Starting with one size up from my measurements, I played (mostly guessed) about what graded sizes I would want the end result to be. Keeping the shoulders and bust at the initial size (to avoid the “swimming in fabric” look), I graded up 3 sizes at the hip, and lengthened to the largest size.
However, I couldn’t resist adding a dash of dopamine to this classic silhouette- inspired by designer Jesse Kamm‘s summer collection, I went outside my comfort zone and made the Noa Shirt from the IL020 Softened Handkerchief Linen, in Bougainvillea.
The handkerchief weight is extremely lightweight and airy. Coupled with the incredibly soft hand, it is my favorite linen to use for summer sewing. The hot pink hue of Bougainvillea allows for this lightweight material to not be too sheer, so I have no worries about undergarments peeking through unintentionally. (However, my hunch says that the white colorway wouldn’t be as forgiving!)
While this project was mostly smooth sailing, there was one aspect that always gives me a bit of trouble – collar stands. Collar stands can be finicky, and I often end up having to unpick a stitch (or 20), and fiddle with pressed folds to get the front stand finishes “good enough”. This is where the lightweight linen works with the sewist! It is much easier to press and steam the 3.7 oz material than heavy linen or other material.
I finished my Noa Shirt with the cutest pink vintage buttons from my collection, and when I put the shirt on for the first time, I knew that my creative brain was happy. The rush of dopamine from the vibrant color, from the beauty of personal customization, and as always, the pride from using my hands was very evident.
It’s not about perfection; it’s about the love and dedication you pour into your creations, and the satisfaction of making something ‘juuussttt right’ for you. If you’re looking to add a pop of dopamine to your sewing, don’t be afraid to pick up that vibrant linen.