Modern Day Pirate

Note: I received the fabrics for these makes from Stonemountain & Daughter as part of their Stonemountain Sewists project.

When browsing fabrics to use for my contribution to the Stonemountain Sewists project hosted by Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, I was drawn over and over to their gorgeous yarn-dyed textural cottons. I’d been watching a lot of pirate period drama Black Sails (seriously, watch it if you like complicated and morally ambiguous characters, especially women, and compelling queer storylines), and I found myself daydreaming about an 18th-century pirate-inspired top that could translate to the 21st century with the right styling.

Poring over images of costuming from the show, I narrowed my ideas down to a concept: a yoked neckline with button-and-loop closure, pleating detail at the shoulders, and a blouse fit in the body and sleeve. To create this, I went back to a pattern I’ve used before, the Kalle shirt. While I no longer support Closet Case Patterns, I had already used this pattern and made it my own, so I knew it would work well for this.

I selected a yarn-dyed cotton with a stripe pattern. These stripes made it really easy to create stitched-down pleats, as I used them as guides for width and stitching! I added width from the shoulders to the hem to create extra volume that I pleated at the shoulders. I similarly added pleats to the top and bottom of each sleeve and the back of the neck. The back piece I cut as one rather than a back and a yoke.

I added detail with button loops and hand-stitching using a dark green perle cotton. The buttons are vintage hand-engraved metal shank buttons. They were tarnished badly when I got them, but some ketchup and a soft toothbrush cleaned them up nicely!

I paired my pirate top with another Blueprints for Sewing A-Frame skirt in stretch twill. I love them together but they also work so well as professional clothes with personality – exactly what I need as I get ready to transition to a new job as an Assistant Professor!

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