A nice Fabricmart chambray inspired my very first knockoff. I’ve swiped plenty of details in the past, but never started a project with the idea of making a copy.
A while ago, I made a classic chambray shirt with black/white woven fabric. This yardage was similar but blue, so I wanted the style to be a little different. Did some googling and found an Eileen Fisher shirt that is just my style. Here’s a link to the original: Eileen Fisher chambray tunic
My fabric is almost a dead ringer for the one used by EF, except theirs is a cotton/hemp blend, I think, and mine is all cotton.
The starting point is a shirt from the 5/2014 Ottobre Woman magazine. It’s #18, called “Autumn Palette”. It’s an oversized shirt with the back gathered into a yoke. I chose it because the fit and slightly dropped shoulder/sleeve combo match the original.
Step one was making another tracing of the pattern that could be sliced and diced into the EF style. When you’re making changes like this, it really is easier not to have seam allowances to work around.
Here are the details I wanted to capture.
I guestimated that the waistline seam on the EF shirt was below waist level, so I cut the pattern front horizontally at the same level. The original pattern front has cut-on CF bands. I kept those for the upper front but trimmed them off at the center front for the lower “apron” portion, which gets cut on the fold of the fabric.
The back of the inspiration shirt has a really deep yoke with a little hanging loop. Ottobre has shaping built into the yoke seam (which might not be the case with the EF shirt, but I decided to keep the shaping), so to lengthen I added inches to the bottom of the yoke and removed them from the top of the back. Then I referred back to the original pattern to true up the back armscye shaping.
Added some extra on the pattern tissue for the turn-back at the hem vents.
Lastly came the neckline, the only really persnickity part. You can see that the neckline is slightly scooped in the front and on the shoulders, too. The pattern comes all the way up to the neck, where the neckband would attach. I drew a new neckline on the front and back pieces to reflect where the upper edge should be on the finished garment. Center back stayed at it’s original position; I didn’t want the back neckline to dip. Trimmed off that excess.
Then, it looked like the neckband on the inspiration shirt was 1 1/4 inches wide. Measuring from my new neckline, I marked all around the neck 1 1/4 inches, front and back. Cut off the bands and taped them together at the shoulder so the fabric will be all one piece (with the center back on the fold). Last step: round off the edges at the center front like the inspiration shirt.
EF’s shirt has cuffs and little tabs and buttons on the sleeve to secure them when rolled up. I decided to leave off the cuffs and button/tab arrangement. I left the sleeves with a plain hem and will roll them up without the help of sleeve suspenders. This meant lengthening the sleeve pattern to compensate for leaving off the cuff.
In cutting out, I laid out the pattern pieces and then marked the seam allowances with a sliver of soap. I really do prefer to keep my patterns without seam allowances. That’s because I do mostly TNT type sewing.
I’m about halfway through the sewing at this point and can tell already that the hi/lo effect isn’t as noticeable in my version as EF’s. I’ll critique my knock-off prowess in the next post.