liesl’s recital shirts

Shortly after our new Recital Shirt sewing pattern started coming together I had an idea for a version of the shirt I wanted to make for myself. I wanted to use a fabric you might not expect: silk organza. Why? I love the idea of crisp, sheer, ravel-ly (is that a word?) organza. Actually, it’s a bit strange that the organza doesn’t appear to be very sheer in these photos, because when I put it on the first time my daughter insisted that I need to wear a camisole under it. I thought it would be fun to play with the sheerness of the fabric and wear a champagne-colored bra that could be seen from the sides and the back but not the front of the shirt, because of the pleats. S was having none of it. (I guess I need to make friends with this pre-teen embarrassed-by-mom stage because it’s clear I’ll be spending a lot of time with it.) So yes, I’m wearing a camisole with it. This time.

Liesl's silk organza Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

Liesl's silk organza Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

Liesl's silk organza Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

Liesl's silk organza Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

Anyway, back to the organza. It holds a crease beautifully, so it was really quite nice to work with, although it has no cross-grain stretch whatsoever so I needed to account for that with the facings. (In other words, if you try this yourself, cut the facing from the regular collar and cuff pattern pieces instead of the facing pieces.) Also, when you’re working with fabric that’s both sheer and frays very, very easily (have I mentioned how easily it frays?), you need to think about how you’re going to treat the seam allowances, since they’re visible. I chose French seams for the sides and princess seams, but for the other seams (collar, sleeve cuffs, yoke) I trimmed the seam allowances to approximately 1/8″ and used a tiny zigzag stitch to finish them. I also used an extra layer of organza as interfacing in the cuffs and collar. That’s about it; nothing really crazy about sewing this fabric. It took a bit of time, but it was a fun exercise!

And speaking of fun, this shirt is a blast to wear! I like to dress it down with my ripped and torn jeans, as shown, but it also looks great with dressy trousers and pencil skirts. Every time I wear it I get loads of compliments. I think it would be great as black tie with my formal tartan skirt for the holidays, too. Maybe we need to have a party so I can try it out?

I also sewed the shirt in denim chambray, and this has become a true wardrobe essential for me. I wear it at least twice a week, I think. I used Robert Kaufman’s Folsom Crosshatch Denim for this one.

Liesl's denim chambray Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

Liesl's denim chambray Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

My favorite way to wear this shirt is with black trousers and pencil skirts. I’ll tell you more about this particular pencil skirt next week. The shirt is long enough that I think it looks good untucked or in a half tuck, but it also looks really pulled-together tucked in. You know, the way shirts are supposed to be worn.

Liesl's denim chambray Liesl + Co Recital Shirt

So I guess I made my two Recital Shirts from fabrics on the opposite ends of the spectrum: denim and silk! Have you tried this pattern yet? I hope you will!


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  1. Love these and I’m really keen to try that skirt pattern too. Tell S that she’s lucky she didn’t grow up in the 70’s when mums refused to wear bras and visible nipples were all the rage! 🙂 We can only hope to embarrass our kids half as much as our mums did us. I think the both shirts are fabulous!

    1. Ha ha! I grew up then too but must have had a more conservative mom? I feel like moms didn’t aspire to be cool back then so much, though. Or maybe that’s just my perception? Now we have “yummy mummies” and things…

  2. Julie

    I adore the organza! I love how it drapes so that sometimes you are seeing two layers and it’s opaque, but in other areas it might be one layer and sheer. So graceful. As for S – I fear it’s just the beginning. Mine STILL won’t acknowledge me at her school (she’s almost 15) and once asked me to please color my greys before a dinner at her teacher’s house! And, I’m not nearly as cool as you. xo julie

    1. Glad you like it! And I feel your pain. When is gray hair going to be cool? I’m waiting…

  3. Great shirts! Can`t wait to try my hand on this pattern! I made the Classic Shirt and I tend to wear it a few times a week so I really need more shirts!

    1. Oh, that’s great to hear! I was just thinking I need to add more of them to my rotation, too.

  4. sarah

    Love both of these. Can’t wait to order the pattern and sew some up for myself!

    1. Glad you like them, Sarah! I want to see how yours turn out.

  5. Helena

    What is that skirt pattern? It looks ideal for me to make for work.

    1. Thanks! It’s my new Lisette for Butterick pattern B6493. Like I said, I’ll tell you more about it next week.

  6. Anne Johnson

    It’s really interesting to see a pattern made up in quite different fabrics. Thanks! I am curious about the buttons you used on the organza shirt. They appear yellow instead of white. Is this a camera/photo trompe l’oeil or a choice so that the buttons stand out a bit?

    I am meaning to make up the Classic shirt once I figure out which size I should make. I’m not sure how to use my cup size and the bust size in your chart. It would be easier for me if the high bust measurements were also included.

    1. Anne, I chose a thick mother-of-pearl button for my organza shirt, so the pearl might photograph a bit yellow. I just wanted something suitably luxurious for the fabric, so an exact match wasn’t as important as the material itself.

      Here’s a post to help you with choosing a size, which explains how to use your high bust measurement to determine the correct size. This is just a guideline, however. Ultimately, you may just need to test it in muslin to check whether the size is correct for you.

      I hope that helps!

      1. Anne Johnson

        Thanks Liesl, that does help understand your process. I’m going to start with the 14D and then decide if I need a slightly smaller size. I normally get reasonable results with Vogue, Butterick and McCalls if I take my high bust measurement and add 2” for a B cup. Then I make adjustments from there.

  7. Jennifer Isabelle Hepler

    I was thinking chambray and linen so now want to make them!

    1. Oh, I hope you do!

  8. Sandra Hartwig

    Awesome shirts. I so love your patterns. I have almost finished a button up shirt for my grandson , and have the recital pattern for myself next. Instructions for the tower placket and collar are fantastic, feeling proud of myself

    1. I’m glad you like them, and thanks for saying so!

  9. Both shirts are beautiful and so versatile! I’m excited about this skirt too!

    1. Thanks, Emily!

  10. Sharon

    Totally stunning Liesl 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon!

  11. You look stunning Liesl. I am laughing at what your daughter had to say, and I can see us heading that way…soon. (Mine is nine.) I am itching to try this pattern, and might indulge in the pdf version soon.

  12. Reeni

    You look great in both! I do love the silk organza version, though I would probably make mine in a dark color… I have let my 9-year old dress me for things when I am to see her friends/friends’ parents, it seems the best way to avoid her epic judgy eyeroll.

  13. Vernagrace

    I love the detail you have included on this shirt! Beautiful job, in all the different fabrics, I’m a chambray kind of girl, and I think that’s my favorite! S is adorable!

  14. Dee M

    You look beautiful in them both, and I love your hair. This is a gorgeous shirt and is nice in both fabrics. I seem to always mess up when wearing white so don’t wear it often, and chambray isn’t good with my skin tone, but I am sure I can find a lovely color to use instead. And Farmhouse Fabrics just posted about getting new silks in their store. I do love the feel of silk.

  15. Mary Gehling

    Hi! I have made the Classic Shirt and love it! I see that you can interchange elements with the Recital Shirt to add even more style options. Is that referring to collar changes or could the the Front of The Classic be paired with the back body of the Recital? I would love the option of back darts, for instance. Both are lovely and I really enjoyed making the Classic Shirt.

  16. I want to try both versions you show here. Really cool! Good tip on using another layer of organza as interfacing in the cuffs. Not sure about where you finished edge with zigzag. Wouldn’t the collar stand be enclosed?

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