January 19, 2015

loud


Confession time! You know that I love gorgeous fabric right? I really do. I have this funny thing I do though. I'll buy a piece of fabric - a really knock-out piece - and then I won't use it. I save it. And this year, I was like, we are not going to be doing this anymore! I'm TIRED of saving things. And excuse me, but what in the world am I saving my fabric for? The day I become perfect? I know, this is weird. When I really sit and think about what I'm saving my fabric for, I can't even find a logical answer to this question.


Another confession. I LOVE fine cotton lawn/voile (by the way, I have no idea what the difference between these two are, there doesn't seem to be one). I have a pretty good stash of Liberty of London Lawn and these new Art Gallery Voiles. I had been saving this rather loud Art Gallery Voile for well, I don't know. It was one of those fabrics. It's time, and it's been time for some time (ha ha!), to get with the program and start making some things with all this saved fabric.


As someone who has never been able to find an abundance of button-up shirts that fit, making one's own shirts is a major win. In point of fact, who even knew that I liked button-up shirts until I made one that fit me and didn't feel like a straight jacket?! As someone who absolutely loves loud flower prints and has longed for a closetful of such printed button-up shirts, being able to beautifully fit, sew and choose my fabric (from my own stash!) is dreamy. Dare I even say, luxurious.


This is another McCall's 6649 - and I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing a few more of these colorful button-ups as the year progresses. In fact I can guarantee it. I've got the pattern perfected now. I'm excited to start hacking it. Very excited. One of the reasons I think this pattern is so great is because it has all the darts - two front and two back vertical darts for fit and shaping and also bust darts. The reason this is so great is because there is so much that can be manipulated - to create new designs - when all the darts are present. I have some fun ideas to share with you for future hacks for this pattern and I hope you'll find that once you've mastered fit and perfected a basic pattern, you can start creating your own patterns instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every time you want to sew a different style. Plus I'm starting to get really overwhelmed with all of the amassing of not only fabric, but sewing patterns. I need another sewing pattern like a hole in the head. It's starting to get nuts (like I just don't have room for all of this nor the time to make them all!). Maybe 2015 is the year I start getting real with myself. What about you?


I was most definitely saving this fabric choice. I love it so much. I left off the front vertical darts on this particular shirt, just to change it up. I've actually made up this pattern a couple of times and after tweaking it several times over, I'm feeling confident that I finally hit the gold mine.  I used a contrasting fabric (the stripe) for the cuff and collar stand facing and also the sleeve placket. I love doing this! Love it! I also think I did a pretty good button picking job - the hardest part for me! I didn't want anything that was too loud, too big or competed for attention.


Are you a shirt lover? Do you save fabric? I find that the classic shirt is a very, very satisfying sew. I use many of the techniques from David Coffin's book on the subject and I've also amassed a few old Thread's articles that are pretty clever too. This shirt, it's one for the books - I finally used up a beloved fabric piece and now, I'm wearing it. Loud and proud.
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60 comments

  1. This post really speaks to me! I have been "saving" fabric for years! I always think I need to practice more before I let myself use the good stuff. But really, I need to use my favorites regardless. It's not like I won't find more fabric I love. Thank you for reminding me to use the stuff I already have and love and stop waiting until my skills are up to par....maybe my great fabrics will elevate my makes enough that my sewing will look better.

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  2. First, I love that shirt in that fabric! It's so in-your-face to winter. Liberty fabric is the best.
    And yes I save fabric, who doesn't! But sometimes I'm glad I did, because after awhile it tells me what it wants to be. In the meantime, I like to pet it.

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  3. This shirt is a total success. Your TNT McCall pattern totally shows off the print. And the way you styled is sooo cool along with your pixie!

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  4. I've loved this fabric since it was first introduced and not at all sure what I wanted to do with it. Now I know. I have to have a button down like yours. It's amazing.

    I'm with you on the fabric and the patterns! A few years ago, (after YEARS of not sewing), I started going through my stash to purge with the intention of retiring the sewing machine. Of course that just woke the sewing bug and I started buying again!
    But the patterns! Seriously, so many of the same styles and I keep going back! There should be a drug for that!!

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  5. What a great shirt! I love the perfect fit. I am working on the same pattern, and will follow with interest your hacks. Thanks a million.

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  6. love your shirt. And that you are not saving the "good stuff".

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  7. Love the shirt and the fabric. I also save fabric - for what I don't know... I have been going to a pattern cutting class for a while and my latest project is a classic shirt that fits *me* and hopefully the fabric won't tear at the back of the armholes like a RWT one has done recently!

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  8. How striking! I'm curious... When you buy a fabric with no particular pattern in mind, how much yardage do you get? I have the same problem with yarn. My stash of each never seems to have the right amount of yardage for whatever project I later decide to attempt, so the piles keep growing.

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  9. Gorgeous!! You've definitely done this fabric proud! Even better that you made this beloved fabric into a classic shirt that can be worn and loved everyday, rather than a precious party dress or something that only gets to come out for air once or twice a year! I think that's REALLY doing your special fabric proud!

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  10. Gorgeous! I have a the same tendency to save all my nicer fabrics... for what? This shirt is wonderful. Can't wait to see more of what you've made with 'saved' fabrics.

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  11. I love the fabric, love the shirt! Great job. I made a button-down shirt a year and a half ago, inspired by your "Everyday Wardrobe" series. It's a blue chambray, very wearable: http://www.quietudeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/burda-style-7136-chambray-shirt.html I haven't made any more since because I was pregnant and then losing baby weight. I'm finally back to the point where I'm fitting into my "normal" clothes so I hope to do some sewing for myself this spring.

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  12. Great print for a great shirt! I "save" some fabrics until I have a TNT pattern match. Don't want to waste a really nice fabric on a pattern that doesn't work. But I've definitely gotten more ruthless over the years. I mean, there's always more fabric.

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  13. Last week when you showed that fabric I almost bought some for a button down. I love yours! Now I need this fabric. Looks great on you.

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  14. I am a fabric saver too! Though I am making it my mission this year to use everything in my stash before I buy anything else…. you have tempted me with this fabric!! It looks great!!

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  15. Love this shirt! I just ordered this fabric from your shop last night to make my own button down shirt the sewaholic granville. I love that it has a black background it makes the loudness of the print so much more wearable in my opinion.

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  16. Awesome shirt, love the loud fabric. I save fabric too, but, this year I'm participating in the Stashbusting Sewalong of 2015 on FB and so I am committed to using the fabric I have already and so far so good! haven't bought any fabric since December. Unless it's for a specific garment/project, ha!
    I love looking at your shop and hope to buy some of your fabric next year!

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  17. Yes, 2015 is the year when I fit my perfect sloper and then make patterns off of it for personal use. Too many fitting changes, I just don't have time for that!

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  18. Yep I'm a fabric saver too, usually waiting for that perfect project for my perfect fabric. 2015 is the year I start using it too! I would love to conquer a button up, I have this button hole phobia that I am going to overcome in 2015 too - I know its a big year for me!LOL Your button up fits great and I love your fabric choice. (any button hole tips would be greatly appreciated - suggestions on the best interfacing to use as I've read that it key to a good button hole)

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  19. Love the shirt and the fabric!!! Do you interface the collar, front band and cuffs? I find that the store bought shirts mostly aren't interfaced anymore and everything is limp. I don't buy shirts anymore because of that.

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  20. Your shirt is awesome! I don't think it's loud. I love the colors.

    You said it perfectly...I do the same thing...buy and save beautiful fabric. Mainly because I don't want to make a mistake when I cut it. (So what if I do? What will happen?) I want to save it for something "special". Really? Why not make every day "special"?

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  21. and...the striped contrast is perfect!

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  22. Yes, I save fabric for some point in the future when I'm perfect and I have so many patterns it becomes paralyzing to figure out what to sew... sigh. Anyway, your shirt is SO amazing! I love the peeks of stripe contrast and the fabric is wonderful.

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  23. Yes! I do that too! I buy beautiful fabric that seems too beautiful to sew up! It's completely illogical. I love your gorgeous colourful shirt.

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  24. Sunni, everything about this post is fabulous. That fabric is obviously gorgeous, and I'm so glad you finally decided to sew it up... into a stunner of a shirt! The stripes are such a great contrast to the floral, and adding a contrast along the button band is one of my favorite ways to elevate a shirt a bit. Your version looks super luxurious. Wear it with pride!

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  25. I'll admit, I'm a bit scared of loud prints. Often I'll see a bright dress or top and think, That's great for her but it isn't for me. But this top I love! I think because the floral pring makes it very feminine, but the button-up style keeps it classic and wearable. And, of course, the striped details are great!

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  26. Okay first A) I ADORE this and it looks stunning on you. Such a breath of fresh air in winter. B) This fabric is doing my head in and I'm now totally considering using it as a lining for a short version of Grainline's new Cascade duffle coat. But back to your shirt! I totally know what you mean about saving fabric. I do it too (especially vintage yardage, oy) and it's stupid. I've already resolved to do that less this year and sew through some of what I've been saving. It does no one any good just sitting there in your stash being stared at. Make yourself happy and whip up something awesome with it, like your shirt! :)

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  27. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I have admired that fabric and wondered what to do with it, but now I know that it is meant to be made into button ups. I have to join the party. TWINSIES? TWINSIES.

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  28. 1. I love cotton voile as well. I want to buy more of it but I need to deplete my stash

    2. Great top. Love the striped facing details.

    3. Seriously!!! Why do we save fabric. I have some fabric I save for years. By the time I sew it, it may be out of style, lol. But I am depleting my stash.

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  29. Gorgeous shirt! And congrats on perfecting a shirt pattern, definitely a landmark occasion, and an excellent (even logical!) reason to start bringing out the saving-til-I'm-better fabrics we all apparently have. I've certainly got plenty, along with well worked out reasons why it makes sense to keep skipping over them.

    Along with needing to perfect my patterns first, my favorite is that I often seem to prefer to dream about all the amazing things I COULD do with my always too short length of treasured stuff, than to commit...at which point all the potential gets frozen into something specific, never quite perfect...OR so perfect that I soon wear it out. I mean, until you cut into it, your fabric's full of dreams! But as soon as you cut...it's on a one-way slide to some ignominious end, like the thrift shop, the worn-out bin, or, almost worse, if you're a teacher, off to the rack of too-good-to-wear/needed-as-a-sample!

    All that's why I was so delighted to hear of Claire Shaeffer's wonderful recognition that she's a sewer AND a fabric collector; hey, me too! And what's more fun than realizing you have to go buy some more fabric right now, anyway?

    Re: voile/lawn, I was certain I could jump in and clear THAT up...but some quick googling reveals that relentless language/usage entropy seems to have thoroughly muddied up water I thought was clear (as per usual).

    I'd understood that voile was always semi-transparent. AND woven with a distinctive hard-spun (and expensive) yarn, so it was also quite crisp, not as much as organdy, but more so than batiste, all sheer fabrics. Lawn was NOT sheer and woven from a much looser-spun, silkier sort of yarn, always thinner, softer and finer than, say, poplin or broadcloth, all NOT-sheer. Certainly the old-school shirting sellers I swatched from and canvassed when I wanted to define these terms in my shirt book supported those distinctions; e.g.:Tana Lawn's not sheer! But look around now at both sellers and even textile historians posting online and "sheer", "soft", "crisp", "fine", etc., etc. appear to be applied equally in definitions of either fabric, plus many others. So...I'd say they've basically become...undifferentiated, as you say. Too bad, I think, but so it goes.

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  30. Yes! I save fabric too. Thinking it's so lovely I need the perfect pattern to come along. I also have a hard time with button down shirts. I love to be able to get the right fit soon. Your shirt rocks!!! I am looking forward to your future post to come.

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  31. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of us who save fabric, likely for many of the same reasons :) If I see a piece of fabric I love, I buy it (depending on the situation and money availability of course LOL). It does get used when the time is right, and usually that means either a) when I find the right pattern for it, or b) when I run out of money to buy more fabric! (which is happening right now, as a matter of fact!) LOL

    It's a very good feeling now that I have begun to actually use fabric I stashed when I first began sewing because even though I'm nowhere NEAR perfect, I at least know better now how to use the fabric to its best advantage and make things I will actually wear. It's super satisfying to be able to transform these long-saved gems into something wonderful that can be loved and worn as it should be - that said, I do love perusing my beloved unused treasures occasionally and dreaming of what they might become :)

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  32. Love your loud and proud shirt. Your comment about saving fabric "until you are perfect" really resonated with me. I think we'd be friends if we lived in the same part of the planet.

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  33. OMG! I just bought this fabric from you with the intention of saving it! Oh no! Not now! This is a great look and I'm going for it! Thanks for the kick in the butt!

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  34. LOL a kindred spirit!

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  35. This is a gorgeous shirt! I'm in love with this fabric. I've never made a button down shirt, but would really love to. I'll have to try this McCall's pattern and see what I can come up with!

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  36. I loved seeing this shirt in process on Instagram and the finished product is so great! That fabric is so much fun and the contrasting striped fabric is such a great touch. It looks perfect on you!!

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  37. You are the coolest fake rocker I have ever seen. You should be rocking out in that gorgeous shirt!
    Love your thoughts on saving fabric and all the patterns. I am trying to use the patterns I have this year too! Hurrah for the resources we already own.

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  38. Oh how I wish I could sew a blouse to fit me perfectly! I love button up shirts too but being short, busty and, um, chubby...well, needless to say a good fit is hard to find off the racks. This is beautiful and I love the contrasting bits.

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  39. Love this, although I could never pull it off! I made my first shirt at the end of last year so I'm very much into shirts at the moment...great pattern

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  40. I love a classic button-up! So many details, and they always look so tidy on the inside. And, in my case, there is a LOT of room for improvement! I always make mine for my boyfriend which means no darts!

    That is a gorgeous fabric. I definitely save fabric, but usually because I have a Plan for it that I don't have the time/skill/pattern for. Or else I'm still trying to come up with one...

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  41. Love your shirt! And yes I save fabric for some crazy reason. I've been trying to use it up.

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  42. It IS fantastic! I want a whole closet full of button up shirts like this, too. Love, love, love it.

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  43. I can tell from your posts that you're interested in textiles and their definitions and differences, so after your comment thought you might like this post by The Dreamstress on the difference between lawn and voile (and other fabrics)! http://thedreamstress.com/2010/07/voile-lawn-muslin-whats-the-difference-the-long-answer/

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  44. I should add, your shirt is gorgeous! Love these bright colours, so unusual for a shirt but just perfect.

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  45. Awesome shirt the colours look great on you. I hoard too and have some expensive Japanese gauze I can't bring myself to cut.

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  46. I really like the colors and the 'loudness' and the gorgeous flowers on the material. Thank you fro sharing your strengths & 'weaknesses' like hoarding material. I think most of us do that.

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  47. Totally Cool! I'll put my fabric stash up against anyone; however, I'm not at all proud of that. This really speaks to me.....get out of the ditch and begin using that luscious fabric. Great post and love the shirt.

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  48. Ahhhh, this is awesome! I've definitely been guilty of hoarding favorite fabrics, but as I was looking over my 2014 makes, I realized that three of my very favorite things were made with fabric I'd been saving for ages. That's a pretty good case for using stuff you love! I just cut into a Liberty silk twill (!!!) that I've been too scared to used, and tragedy's been averted so far!

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  49. I like to think that I "collect" fabric more than I save it for the right project but it amounts to the same thing. Due in part to my love of fabric but lack of confidence in my sewing skills. Won't get better unless I actually sew. Great shirt (love the boots too)!

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  50. I'm taking your zipper class on craftsy! So great! I love the class and learning a lot. I have to agree with you that I can't find enough button up shirts that fit. ugh! I'm going to try to make my own.

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  51. Great shirt and lovely colors in that print!
    I butchered a great deal of good fabric already, but you know, I still get better results with a fabric I enjoy working with than with a so-so one.

    About the lawn/voile thing. I'm currently working on an e-book on this topic (what's the difference between types of fabric and what's it called in Dutch/French, for easy shopping online) This is what I came up with in my research:
    "Lawn is a semi-transparant, lightweight cloth manufactured using a plain-weave. If the yarn is combed the fabric is usually named Nainsouk. It usually has a bit more of lustrous shine to it. If it’s brushed it’s usually named lawn. Lawn is great for tops, shirts and light summer dresses"
    "voile is a semi-shear, lightweight fabric made using a plain weave. It’s very fine and has a net-like quality. Ideally made out of cotton, it’s perfect against the skin."
    So from this research I'd say that voile is more "netlike" than lawn and a tad less firm.
    (But hard to spot the difference, still!)

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  52. Yes it's bright, but oh, how I love it! I have some 'bright' black floral cotton I've been saving for a button down shirt. Now I'm convinced I really need to use it. I may even steel your idea of contrasting plackets.

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  53. God, this is gorgeous. not loud at all, either - just happy and cool! I too save certain fabrics - one liberty lawn print in particular i cannot but cannot bring myself to cut - I can't find it anywhere and love it so much and keep waiting for the perfect style to jump out at me! It's in shades of blue and it is flowery but not ditsy - it's very 70s, actually - and I can never decide what to do with it. Others I have no problems with:).

    I think that classically the diff between lawn and voile is that the latter is supposed to be sheerer and slightly drapier. I find liberty lawn is not sheer - I never felt the need to line dresses made from it. Certain voiles, I have. But nowadays they are practically all the same!

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  54. Your shirt looks fantastic - I love the colours against your hair and complexion. Adding stripes for contrasting details is a stroke of genius too.

    Also love your green clock!

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  55. Wow. That fabric is da bomb! SSB https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  56. Oh, that fabric is absolutely gorgeous, I totally get why you wanted to save it. The shirt looks perfect!

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  57. I love your style! And this shirt! Fantastic job, especially in the details. I am the same way: owning an insane amount of sewing patterns. Hopefully, 2015 will be a saner year for me in the pattern department.

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  58. Ahh, an absolute stunner of a fabric and perfect for a shirt. I'm such a sucker for florals. And you are so right--what am I saving that Liberty of London fabric for? Actually I finally figured that out this week, but that makes me want to cut all my nice fabric now.

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  59. 1. There is little in the world easier to sew up -- and more satisfying to wear -- than a classic shirtwaist. I lub me some shirts. There are many reasons why a yoked shirt with a stand collar has been a standard garment for men and women for a thousand years or more. Both the "shirt" and the "skirt" are derived from the same, unisex garment: the shift. Men and women wore long linen shifts under their robes in medieval times. As men began to favor trousers, the garment was shortened so they could tuck it in. Women, on the other hand, began to favor dresses that nipped in at the waist. They lopped off the bottoms of their shifts and used them as petticoats. Consonant shift turned "shirt" into "skirt." (This happened to fish, too, who travel either in a "shoal" or a "school." The word "schedule" is going the same way: it can be pronounced either with a hard or a soft "ch.")

    2. I not only save-for-later good cuts of cloth that I have bought, but friends and neighbors gift me with good cuts of cloth that their mothers and grandmothers hoarded until death. I have GOT to start using some of those silk chiffons ... .

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  60. Three yards is a good average to purchase. You can almost always get a dress or a pair of slacks out of three yards, and certainly a shirt or blouse. Well, depending how wide is the fabric, and how wide is your body.

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