The Charlie shirt first caught my eye because of the interesting pleating detail on both the back and front, and I was curious as to the construction method. Funnily enough, I initially misunderstood the front closure to be a covered button placket, but was pleasantly surprised to see that the same design aesthetic could be achieved without having to toil away at buttonholes. One thing I’ve noticed in working with Fabrics-Store patterns is that they always incorporate some clever trick or two, and the Charlie was no different.
I chose the softened IL020 Handkerchief linen in Cobalt because I thought its lightness would lend itself well to the pattern. The body of the shirt is oversized and airy, and the handkerchief linen is just the right weight for that, plus I knew I’d want to tuck it in on occasions and didn’t want too much bulk to deal with. The color feels moody and lush, a direct inspiration plucked from the cool and foggy walks I’ve taken each morning since moving to Oregon.
While I had set aside an entire Saturday to make this shirt, all told it only took me about four hours to complete, due in large part because of how quickly the pleat construction came together. The instructions were incredibly easy to follow and were very intuitive, and all of the notches lined up perfectly to let me know I was on the right track. Even with french-seaming, I had this shirt finished and hanging to dry from the wash before dinner was even started. The short-sleeved view has you use simple bias facing for the sleeves and the pattern includes a handy collar stand guide to make finishing the curve near the front opening quick work.
The shirt (and its dress counterpart!) is friendly to adventurous beginners who want to incorporate more elevated shirt styles into their wardrobe, but aren’t quite ready to tackle a full shirt-front of buttonholes. The pattern is written to include one on the collar stand, but I decided to forego it to maintain the clean simplicity of the pleat. I made a Size 2 based on recommended body measurements, though I think you could play with this one and size up to create a more dramatic oversized fit.
I don’t have many tunic-length tops in my closet, but I’ve been drawn to them in the last several months, playing with achieving a similar look with some of my shorter dresses over jeans (to be honest, I don’t hate that this early-2000s trend is back!). I enjoy the ease and comfort this shirt length seems to evoke, especially in a well-worn linen. The breezy fabric will do well for the warm days Portland inevitably still has ahead of it, but I’m excited to play with layering this one in the coming chillier months. An oversized fisherman’s sweater would look great with the split hems peeking out, or a closer fitting turtleneck would fit nicely underneath.