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Button Cufflinks and French Cuffs/ Rocking a Rachel Top with a 60's Vibe

The Rachel Blouse pattern from Seamwork has become my go to pattern for a stylish button up. This is my second Rachel button up and I continue to hack the pattern to create the ultimate, perfectly fitted shirt. You can see the longer Tunic style Rachel I made here.

Let's talk about the fabric shall we... As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to have it. I love the stylized floral pattern that is reminiscent of the 60's. It is a 100% cotton poplin from the Zing Collection at Minerva. It has enough stand to look crisp and tailored and is a medium weight fabric. I absolutely love this kind of cotton, especially for shirts, blouses and dresses. It feels decadent to wear and it is so comfortable to wear as there is a bit of stretch to the fabric. A winning combination as far as I am concerned.

The print is a fun abstract floral that combines several neutral colours in a creative fun way. Due to the nature of the print you don't have to worry about pattern matching the front placket which is really nice. The darker beige, black, white and navy make it easy to pair with basics that you already have in your closet and the brighter blues and teals add a pop of colour. It offers just enough darker tones for the fall/winter season paired with navy or black and the brighter hues will be perfect for spring/summer paired with white or tan.

I chose the curved hemline for this particular shirt to coordinate with the circular patterns of the flowers. I matched the fabric pattern on one breast pocket using my parchment paper trick which creates a perfectly fabric matched pocket that is almost invisible! I cut the pocket pattern piece out of parchment paper and place it on the front bodice where the pocket will be sewn, make sure to fold the pattern down along the sewing lines first so it is the size of the finished pocket. Once you have the pattern piece in place simply trace the fabric shapes underneath. Then take the traced pattern piece and match it to your fabric, making sure to unfold the pattern piece to allow for seam allowances. This technique is quick and easy and gives you a perfectly matched pocket every time. You can see how I used this technique here for the Men's Tropical Shirt Pattern as well.

I made a size 12 and lengthened the bodice by 3 inches so I can wear it untucked. I chose the curved hem option as it adds interest to the hemline and I thought the curve worked well with the circular patterns of the floral print. The extra length allows for it to be worn open over a camisole as a jacket, for layering under a cropped jacket or a sweater. This is versatile pattern and you can really have fun with the choice of fabric.

I lengthened the cuff pattern piece by 2' so that I could fold the extra long cuff over to create a French Cuff. I love having an extra long cuff, I think it looks chic and stylish and adds interest to an otherwise basic pattern. Having a French Cuff is such a treat for me as most RTW shirts barely had sleeves long enough let alone extra long for this kind of cuff. Yet another reason why bespoke custom patterns are the best!

I wanted to create a cuff link style button hole for this shirt so I made a button hole on each side of the cuff. To make the actual cufflink I took two buttons and attached them with a strands of embroidery thread. Thread through the button but don't pull the thread all the way through. Knot the thread behind the button snipping any extra thread strands to keep it neat. Sew the thread through the second button and pull until the buttons can sit side by side. Tie a knot behind the second button. Once the buttons are tied together I wrap the thread using a basic loop method to strengthen the thread. Now you have button cufflinks that match your garment perfectly, and you can use them in any French cuff. It is a fun way to use vintage buttons as well. If you need more of a visual step by step check out this YouTube

These particular metal buttons work perfectly for a button cufflink because they have the loop at the back. Button cufflinks add a fun, creative element to a French Cuff.

For my next Rachel button up I want to experiment with a ruffled cuff. After all...

There is Sew Much to Design.

Happy Sewing,

Lou Sheffer


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