Sew Queer: Secret Messages

Today’s post is a two-for-one, and, if I’m being very honest, it’s also grossly cute. After making Morgan’s last Negroni, I feel on a mission to slowly fill their wardrobe up with other shirts in similar muted color palettes and patterns. I knew they’d love the soft, almost crumply texture of the Robert Kaufman/Sevenberry Nara Homespun, which is really delicious. The minimalism of the patterns appeals as well, and I loved the slight irregularity of this drip/stripe effect.


The linearity of the pattern also allowed me to give a contrast effect by cutting the pockets and cuffs on the bias, and I love how snazzy they look.

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In keeping with tradition, I also used a different fabric for the inner yoke and inside of the pocket flaps, as a little secret message. This time, it was leftover scraps of the fabric I used for my last Cashmerette Harrison.

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When it came time to make up my next project for myself, I thought why not give myself some secret messages as well? I had already picked out a lovely chambray for a long-sleeved Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirtdressย and realized that the Homespun would look so nice as an accent.

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I just had barely enough to eke out a yoke, cut in two pieces on strategically-placed bias, two inner cuffs, andย nearly all of the bias binding needed for the hem (I ended up finishing the last bits with scraps from Morgan’s first Negroni, so it still fits with the theme). I love the way the fabric sort of looks like shooting stars here, to compliment the moon buttons.

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(Moon buttons are from Jewels in Fiber)

I wanted this Kalle to be a super-practical, throw-it-on, multi-season make, so I opted for the long sleeves, added a bit of length, and gave it two big side seam pockets, on top of the alterations I made when I last used this pattern.

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Honestly as it started to come together I was a little afraid it would become a big, old fashioned nightshirt. I think the buttons and the turned-up cuffs just barely save it from that territory. But it’s very comfortable to wear, so mission accomplished!

My version has a good amount of ease through the hips, in keeping with the spirit of the original altered to fit my body. I think the pockets add a bit of bulk, but any concern about that is completely mitigated by the convenience of having them!

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As for the sleeve extension, it needs a bit more work to fit correctly on me. I had already added a bit more ease to the short, cut-on sleeve of the original pattern, so I added that width to the sleeve head, tapering down to the cuff, and just crossed my fingers that the amount of ease included would be enough. It is — but just barely! If I make this again, I’ll add another inch or so of ease, lengthen the cuff a smidge, and pleat in any excess. That should keep it from gaping at the forearm like it does now, even with the small placket button.


It’s almost too cute, but I love that we secretly match. Particularly because we’re shaping our lives at a distance from one another, I value ways of making that remind me of them and that draw connections across the space between us. Thinking about little secret messages reminds me of the reasons I sew: to craft things that fit bodies and tastes and identities, whether that’s me or Morgan or another recipient; to create clothing that carries stories, emotions, and care in its stitches; and to connect to long histories of making and making do.

If I hadn’t been looking for fabric for Morgan, I might not have lingered on this relatively simple print. If it hadn’t been for the emotional connection I had to these leftover bits of fabric, I might not have gotten so creative at using every little scrap. I already knew that in sewing I had found a place of infinite and eternal learning, and I’m finding it immensely pleasing that in incorporating this particular iteration of my love into my sewing practice, I’ve learned new ways of looking at, handling, choosing, and caring for my fabric as well.

10 thoughts on “Sew Queer: Secret Messages

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  1. D’AWWWWWWWWWW! So adorably cute! Morgan looks so happy, and so do you. This is such a subtle, secret take on “couples wear” that is popular in Japan – or it was when I lived there! ๐Ÿ˜‰ May I suggest matching pyjamas next?


    1. Aw, thanks! I didn’t want the matchiness to be too “posing for our Christmas card,” you know? Matching pjs could be pretty cute, though (and maybe Imogen needs some too?)


  2. I am pro-pockets. I am also pro-bulk! Lots and lots of one thing I like (fabric) wrapped around the lots of lots of another thing I like (me)! Yay for bulk! All those fabrics look so dreamy and soft. I’m attempting to finagle my partner into contrast linings but alas I am outmaneuvered at every turn (by them saying “no thank you”). Yours look awesome!


    1. I love this embrace of bulk! Yes! There are times when I’m trying to get a very specific line and pockets have to be sacrificed to it, but for the most part I think I’m happy enough to stick them in just about anywhere. Thanks!


  3. this is SO wonderfully cute and adorable and clever and sweet. I’m 100% shamelessly cataloging this idea for me partner gifts idea list.

    also, that stripe print is fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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