top-halfs wardrobe winter-ish

Named Patterns – Kanerva Button Back Shirt

named patterns kanerva -

I’ve been in Germany for all of two months now, and slowly I’m acclimating to life here. My German language skills are still depressingly lacking (ex: sometimes, the word for 4 escapes me in the moment so I order 5 of something at the butcher instead); it can take two months to learn the word for something as essential to your life as muslin (that word, by the way, is Nessel); but, on the upside, I’ve made a friend or two that I’m excited to have in my life. Moving to a foreign country is always a bigger challenge than we anticipate. Whether it’s building a new community, learning the language, or little things like sourcing muslin, there will probably always be something that’s a little harder than if we were in our native spaces.

However, I have finally (FINALLY!!) found a source for muslin and now have 24 precious meters on a bolt in the sewing room! I know I may have gone a little overboard with the meterage, but I was in a drought and had found an oasis; I couldn’t help but drink up. My unbridled excitement can probably only be shared by those seamstresses who have cut into their stash and committed hours at the sewing machine only to have the finished garment be too big, too small, or just down-right unflattering. (For those of you non-seamsters/tresses, muslin is a cheap cotton fabric that you use to make a quick mock-up of a new pattern to make sure the fit is correct. But really, a muslin can be made out of any fabric that’s cheap and disposable enough to not feel guilty about cutting into, and if it’s a finished project, it’s usually called a “wearable muslin”.)

Unfortunately for this blouse, I still hadn’t found a way to get my paws on some cheap fabric. So my friends, my last wearable muslin for a little while: The Kanerva Crop Top in a Polka Dot Corduroy.

named patterns kanerva -

The Pattern: Kanerva Button Back Shirt by Named Patterns
The Fabric: Olive Green Polka Dot Corduroy from Marunan in Tokyo*
The size: 34
Adjustments: Shortened by 1cm; removed seam allowance on neckline, bottom hem, sleeves for binding; removed 2cm from bottom width via darts

*Side note: I did a little googling to find a link to the fabric store I purchased this from, mostly because I would have loved to share this fantastic, family-owned, 5-story fabric store with others. It was located literally right outside the gates of the Shibuya train station and was my go-to while I lived there. I was a little bummed to find out that it went out of business a while ago, but I guess that’s the nature of the world, right? My parents grew up in Tokyo and have told me about the shops that used to line the main street of our district. All of them are gone now, replaced by MCM furniture stores and ramen shops, except for one shop that still sells traditional dishes and bowls. It’s manned by the same lady who ran it decades ago, but now she’s elderly and when I walk by, I mostly catch her sleeping while sitting upright, Seiza-style, on a cushion.

named patterns kanerva -

I sewed up the Named Patterns Kanerva Blouse in a polka dot corduroy I’ve had in my stash for at least a decade.  I opted to bind the neck as suggested by the pattern, and thought why not just bind all the raw hems? The instructions suggest you remove the hem allowance completely if you opt for binding, so I removed the hem allowance from the neckline as well as the bottom and the sleeve hems. Clearly, this top is bound in all the places. Inside, outside—there is not a single raw edge.

I also edge-stitched the inside binding in a way that makes the stitching visible on the outside, like a top-stitch, including one continuous stitch from the bottom of the side seam to the cuff of the sleeve. This was a major challenge, since, you know, getting into the tiny tunnel of the sleeve with a big machine is tricky stuff. It involved a lot pre-pinning, a lot of bunching, and a lot of poking (or rather, getting poked). But (even as a decorative detail no one will notice), I’m happy with how smooth it turned out.

named patterns kanerva -

named patterns kanerva -

Let’s talk buttons for a second: I think, in the past, I’ve been much too serious about my clothes, and I’ve always been a bit anti-kitsch. I like bright colors, sure, and patterns and short skirts and edgy clothes, but I’ve always held the notion that clothes should still be… proper(…? made with the longterm in mind…?). But I’m in the midst of a transition, and when I find myself ogling flower-shaped buttons at a flea market, I can’t help but buy 7 of them.

Maybe this pendulum has swung too far in the direction of kitsch. I know this top is already borderline too-cutesy. My gut was screaming NEIN, and my poor head was saying things like, “Who cares? They’re just buttons.” And it’s true. They are just buttons— the most tedious but easily replaced design detail on a garment. If in a week I look back on this top in a button-induced kitsch-hangover and think “WTF was I thinking?”, with a few snips and an hour of needle-time, I can replace all the buttons and make this into a whole new top. But let’s be real here: I should be thankful that this top is not lined with flowers all the way down the back, because there was a legit danger of that happening.

named patterns kanerva -

Ok, one last note about this top, and it’s mostly a pattern review. While the top sewed up very easily with no real issue, and the pattern pieces fit together well, I’m a little bit baffled as to the body-type Named is trying to fit. I know it’s designed for a 5’8” woman, which I am not: I’m 5’3”. I measured as 1/2” above a 34 in bust and 1/2” below a 34 in waist and hips. Looking at the finished garment measurements, I felt confident in cutting this in a 34.

I did have to take this in a pinch along the waist, and the bust fits just fine, but I’ve found that the shoulder width is a full inch short on either side and that’s causing fit issues elsewhere. You can see how it pulls on the bust, causing wrinkles and the shirt to ride up, and it gives me pretty limited mobility if I want to remain decent. It also gapes at the neckline instead of resting on the shoulders, which you can see below. I’m a petite woman with a 15” shoulder span, and if this shirt runs small in the shoulders for me, I can’t easily imagine the pattern in this size fitting many other people “off-the-rack” either. I did do some pattern review googling though, and no one else seems to have this problem. It might just be an effect of the way they graded down this particular pattern.

named patterns kanerva -

named patterns kanerva -

I can’t have let this corduroy die in vain, so I might have to try this pattern again. I also have a floral Robert Kaufman cotton lawn earmarked for it, but fortunately that can wait until next year when it’s seasonally appropriate. I would probably grade the shoulder width to a 36 or even 38, and I’d definitely make it up in a muslin first.

Well, I’m off to tackle another Named Pattern: the Bly Overalls! What’s up next in your queues? I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.