Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Guayaberas or Mexican Wedding shirt

To begin this fashion journey we must travel back to March when I visited London determined to finally purchase some Liberty of London fabric.

Liberty of London fabric is extremely lovely 100% cotton fabric that is also extremely expensive. Liberty of London started importing fine fabrics from the Orient over 135 years ago. In 1884 the company began hand printing it's own designs. The fabric was very popular during the Aesthetic movement and Art Nouvea movement in the late 1800s.
Liberty of London fabric is available in the USA but, I found this discount store in a sketchy London neighborhood and still could only bring myself to purchase a remnant.

After much thought I finally came up with the idea of a Mexican Wedding shirt. This style shirt was developed about 300 years ago and no one is sure if it originated in Cuba or Mexico. The main features are the light cool cotton fabric, the vertical pleats in the front and the four pockets for carrying guavas ( thus the popular name Guayaberas for the shirt )

Oops, my research was not very good and I didn't put any pockets on my shirt. The main objective was to incorporate the small amount of Liberty of London fabric I had purchased. 
I'm actually really pleased with the finished shirt, although I am probably the only person to see the Guayaberas influence.

For my shirt I pulled out my favorite shirt pattern that I've used many times so it is already altered to my shape and 5'11 height. 

Shirts I have made using McCalls 3541 pattern

Of course I always have to make things difficult so I decided a hidden placket so the buttons wouldn't show was a great idea. Somewhere I have a book that gives formulas and measurements for creating a hidden placket but, I just do it.
There are basically three main ways to finish the vertical center front edges of a button front shirt. Either fold under the vertical front edges, sew a facing to the vertical front edges or sew a placket to the vertical front edges ( which is like a folded over facing ).
What matters most is that the center front line that is marked on the pattern tissue remains in the exact same place so the finished shirt will fit together properly.

For the hidden placket on only the right side of the shirt add enough fabric ( keeping the center front line intact ) to  (1) fold half the finished width, then (2) fold again double the finished width. Suggest doing it with paper first to get fold depths correct.
The left side of the shirt is finished normally. The left side of the shirt is where the buttons will be sewn.

I am indicating where the stitching line should be
Sew a vertical straight row of stitching through the fabric and front down the middle of the (2) second fold.
This stitching will also catch the (1) first  half width fold and now the folds are anchored and cannot unfold.
The double fold allows the buttonholes to be on the inside fold so when the shirt is buttoned no buttons show.
It's not hard- don't over think it!

Fold the fabric back towards the center front, press well with the iron and your hidden placket is complete. Finish shirt per instructions. 
*hint* measure the neckline now and make sure collar or collar stand will fit correctly

Here is a close up of my Guayaberas hidden button placket when buttoned up.
 Isn't my Liberty of London fabric pretty!

I must confess that I also stitched up two additional shirts with my Guayaberas.
That allowed me to tweak the hidden placket and use up some of my fabric stash.
I often work in multiples.

 Barack Obama WISHES he was also in a cool, stylish Guayaberas!!!

! Viva the Guayaberas !