The North Western Shirt | Diane
Because I'm not a total unreasonable taskmaster, the ladies who contribute to the Sew Weekly are allowed to sit out challenges from time to time. Adey's on vacation this week and instead of picking someone to replace her, I decided to ask the community for volunteers. The community, always thinking about each other, nominated Diane to fill in. She's been a Sewing Circle member since the beginning and has been such a welcoming and inspirational personality! I'm so happy to have Diane show us how to do Western, UK style this week.
Fabric: 2 Metres Cotton Chino and 1 Metre Cotton Handwoven
Pattern: Simplicity 9689
Notions: 12 Metal and Pearlised Buttons
Time: Around 12 hours sewing
First Worn: In these pictures
Wear Again: Yes, makes a great jacket
Total Cost: About £25 sterling, including everything
Firstly, a big thank you to The Sew Weekly community who enabled me to be here – particularly Charlotte Tilley, who set the ball rolling and who, like me, has been here from the very start. Also Cathe, Judi, Rachel, Paloma and Kat – Kat also deserves to be in this spot and I'm sure she will be very soon, with her own original take on the challenges. I hope I can make you all proud of me this week.
Western is the perfect theme for me because I already had most of the materials and the inspiration which is probably what swung it for me to be here! Here is my 'North Western Shirt' (all will be revealed why), which also doubles as a light jacket. There's always a story behind my fabric and patterns …. I bought the pattern after being on holiday on the west coast of the USA many years ago. My Dad had retired and wanted to take the family somewhere memorable. We did the whole works, starting in Los Angeles and touring round the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Yosemite and cities including San Diego, Las Vegas and San Diego, together with the Pacific coastline – all in two weeks!
We had a fabulous time. See the photo of me in fabric heaven at the Bazaar Del Mundo in San Diego!
One of my souvenirs included the little red cowboy print bandana I'm wearing with the shirt, from Pier 39 in San Francisco – I did want a shirt at the time but never found one, which is why I bought the pattern on my return – it's been unused, as I've been so busy in the intervening years with work and study. I've combined it with inspiration from another pattern I found a couple of weeks ago – I used it to make the cuffs and collar 'rounded' and more feminine.
My shirt fabric also has it's own story. The green check is a hand woven souvenir from Quarry Bank Mill, a working spinning and weaving mill in the North West of England at Styal, Cheshire, owned by The National Trust. I am originally from Manchester, in this area. I visited on one of my trips 'back home'. At the mill, there are daily demonstrations of working machinery and tours are a feature. It's heyday was during the Industrial Revolution. I bought the fabric length during a talk on the earliest beginnings of spinning and weaving - the North West was perfect for manufacture of cotton cloths because of the damp climate there. My fabric has lots of irregularities in the weave, which I like.
The main fabric in my shirt is from my local fabric store in Norfolk, East Anglia, where I now live. They happened to stock the perfect contrast and proper metal and pearl effect western shirt buttons. Which brings me neatly round to the location for my shirt in action! There's plenty of livestock in the fields around this area, the horses are just a short walk from my house – I hope I don't look too out of place, as sometimes I feel a bit 'town in country' – nice horsey!