I have been anxious to try this shirt out for a number of reasons. First, we haven't really talked up the fact that the Starling Dress, featured on the pattern cover, can also be modified easily to make the Starling Shirt. Second, I really wanted to start showing you some variations in styling without the flounce to illustrate the pattern's versatility. Finally, I had this vision of adding piping around the yoke and didn't want to back down simply because I had never worked with piping before. What a pleasant surprise!
This shirt is definitely a nod to my ever growing love of "modern vintage". Here the shirt's modern cut is paired with old fashioned crocheted doilies, picked up from a local vintage shop for just a few bucks (I cut apart the individual medallions you see here from a larger piece.) The main body of the garment is a raspberry colored chambray cotton--both airy and soft--and the yoke is unbleached muslin. Originally, I intended to use a crisp white shirting fabric for the yoke, but changed to the muslin when I realized the pure white contrasted too much with the creamy crocheted pieces. As I mentioned above, I opted to trade in the flounce for a bit of color around the yoke with the piped edging, though I kept the front placket for additional interest. For the piping, I used Alexander Henry's Dasha fabric, which has a crazy mix of colors when looked at in a larger piece, but provided a nice bit of interest when scaled way down for the piped edge.
I should probably mention that I made the size 2T shirt for my daughter, pictured here, who is hardly a size 2T (in terms of Clever Charlotte's patterns or in most ready to wear lines). Never mind the fact that N. will be 3 at the end of the month...my point is, if it looks like the shirt's a little big on her, that is because it is. I am hoping it will be a better fit for when she goes off to school this fall. Oh, and I should also add that she's wearing a pair of Finch shorts from our spring collection.
A Brief Lesson on Piped Edges
I chose to make my own piping, though like bias tape, you can purchase ready-made versions in really bland solid colors at your local fabric shop. It was really easy to make the piping (even easier than making your own bias tape in fact), so I would definitely recommend trying it. All you need is a thick string or narrow rope (I bought mine in the upholstery section of JoAnn's).
The fabric strip to cover the string is cut on the bias (that is, on a 45 degree angle to the selvage edge) in a width that is equal to the sum of:
(1) the circumference of your string (use your tape measure to get a general idea),
(2) your seam allowance x 2 (so 1" in my case since I have 1/2" seam allowances).
The length of the strip and the string you will need will be equal to the length of the seam or edge to be piped plus 2-3" extra for good measure.
If the finished length is longer than a single strip of your bias tape, plan on mitering the corners of several smaller strips together at 45 degree angles.
Once you have the strip cut out, lay the string or cord down the center and finger press the strip closed.
Using the zipper foot on your machine, sew along the string so that the stitches are snug up against the string but not crossing over onto it.
Once you have the piping cord sewn, all that remains is to lay it onto the seam or edged to be piped (with the raw edges of the bias strip flush with the seam allowance of your project) and sew along the string again using the zipper foot. Because you used a bias strip, the cording should have a lot of give to turn corners and curves effortlessly, without unnecessary bunching.
From the step pictured above, the next step in making the Starling Shirt is to place the outer curve of the yoke on the shirt's neck edge/bias strip, right sides together, and finish according to the pattern instructions. Once the yoke piece is flipped back on itself, the lovely piping will be revealed, sandwiched delicately between the main body of the garment and the yoke.
I hope you find a chance to experiment with piping soon. It is such a clean finish to an edge and, as shown here, can add a nice punch of color without overdoing it.