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Entries in Shirts (17)

Sunday
Oct072012

Molly's Sketchbook: Embroidered Denim Jumper

When I visited Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula two years ago I was blown away by the beautiful beaches and the ancient ruins, but what made a truly lasting impression were the incredible dresses worn by so many of the local women. These simple white cotton garments, adorned with bright floral embroidery on the bodice and hem, are called huipils. I bought two, but it took all of my self control not to buy twenty of them!

“Huipil” is a catchall term for a loose-fitting rectangular shaped dress or tunic traditionally worn by the indigenous women of Mexico and Central America. They can be long or short, simple or ornate, wide or slim. Whatever their shape and style, huipils are stunningly well-crafted and effortlessly chic! The dead-simple silhouette flatters everyone and drapes perfectly without any finicky shaping.

Ever since my trip I have wanted to try my hand at my own version of this classic dress. Robert Kaufman’s Cotton Linen Chambray in a beautiful deep indigo seemed like a perfectly unique jumping off point. It has the sturdiness of denim, but the grace of a genuine huipil. Combining traditions, I stitched the embroidery in a simple sampler style, choosing a spectrum of DMC Pearl Cotton in blues highlighted by a shock of bright yellow.

In a nod to the versatility of the traditional huipil, this little jumper can be worn by a younger child as a dress and then transition into a tunic for an older child, like Coco, who is 7. And put it on all year round, in the summer on its own and in the cooler months over a long sleeved tee shirt. It’s really no wonder these dresses have been around for so long!

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Sunday
Jul222012

Whit's Knits: Pebble Tank

We talk a lot about color here, but beautiful texture is really just as intriguing! Texture is the reason we bother with stitch patterns; it's why we decide between hand-spun and machine-spun fibers; and it's why we adore some of our very favorite yarns, like Alchemy's Silken Straw, Knit Collage's Pixie Dust and this one, Habu Textiles' Natural Cover Cotton.

At Habu's workshops, fearless designers explore innovative ingredients and fascinating spinning techniques, embracing the wild and interesting textures that result from their mad science. Natural Cover Cotton starts with a simple cream colored plied cotton yarn that is then beautifully wrapped in a very fine colored thread. In reverse stockinette, I think the effect is absolutely gorgeous, like the stony bed of a mountain stream or the pebbly remains of a retreating tide.

The simple silhouette of a warm weather tank is the perfect backdrop for all of this earthiness. Together the impact is chic and casual. Wear it with jeans and flats in Soho or with shorts and moccasins in the Rockies!

 

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Thursday
Jun212012

Molly's Sketchbook: Newborn Kimono Shirt

My mother is now retired, but for most of my life she was the head designer and co-owner of a children’s wear company called Sweet Potatoes. Growing up I would occasionally find some of the very first clothes she made for me carefully tucked away in a trunk. I always marveled at how tiny the newborn sleep sacks, jackets, and dresses were. I couldn’t believe I had ever been that small!


Inspired by one such sleep sack, edged in bias tape and made for me thirty-three years ago, I designed this Newborn Kimono Shirt for my own little one who, as I write this, is due very soon (but who may have been born by the time you read it!). I realize that newborn clothing doesn’t fit fast-growing babies for very long, but I love the idea of showing her just how little she was!

For the body of the Kimono, I used natural Essex Linen which has a beautiful, timeless heirloom quality. And for the binding, I used Nani Iro's adorable new Bias Tape. I love its subtle but playful polka dots, especially because I think they work equally well for a baby boy or girl. The Kimono's construction is very simple but with attention to important details, so it doesn’t take long to sew, but it will last a lifetime! --Molly

P.S. In case you all are wondering, YES, Molly had her baby!  Guadalupe Raquel was born on June 17, 2012.  Both Mom and Baby are doing great!  Congratulations Molly!  xoxo - Purl Bee

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Sunday
Jun102012

Laura's Loop: Everyday Linen Raglan

Growing up as the sister of two older brothers, to say I was a tomboy is a bit of an understatement. I was one of the boys! While my girlfriends were playing softball, I insisted on being in the all-boys baseball league. My 'Sunday's Best' consisted of hand-me-down golf shirts, khaki pants and bucks. I blindly and adoringly echoed my brothers' every move. If they wouldn't wear it (or do it or like it), well then, neither would I.

So for those who knew me back then, my current love for linen dresses and fancy clutches, cashmere wraps and backless sweaters, floral hankies and pretty much all things fem is something of a shock. Yet while my style has drastically shifted, those tomboy roots do run deep. Put me in jeans and a t-shirt and I am one happy camper. Put me in jeans and a linen shirt, and I'm in heaven! 

This lightweight, 3/4-sleeve raglan top harkens back to sunny days at the ball park, but with the natural elegance and drape of 100% linen. It's the best of both worlds, classic and casual for everyday, but not without a pinch of feminine subtlety. 

Knit up in Euroflax's beautiful sportweight linen, this favorite yarn of mine pairs a rugged durability with a chic grace, a duality I have come to greatly appreciate!

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Thursday
May032012

Laura's Loop: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top

I can remember lying for hours under the pergola in my grandmother's yard. In the fall I'd watch the grid-like shadows shift across the grass as the sun moved across the sky. And in the spring I'd stare up, tracking the path of the vines weaving in and out of the lattice work structure. Empty or abundant, I loved the woven wood overhead.
My fondness towards this geometric patterning does not stop at the garden wall. It carries over to painted kitchen floors, pie crusts and, as you see here, knits! The lattice stitch I used is an organic interpretation of the woven grids and crisscrossing ridges that I find so fascinating and beautiful!
I made this Cap Sleeve Lattice Top with one of our newest (and most favorite!) yarns, Madeline Tosh's Sport. It's a superwash merino wool, machine spun but hand dyed, with gorgeous depths of color (even in the neutrals). The pattern, like the sweater, is easy breezy, knit up the back over the shoulders and down the front, two seams and you're done! 
Watching the sparce grid of the pergola become overrun with wisteria and roses was a sure sign of the hot summer days to come. This sweater is a delightfully quick project to welcome spring and to wear right through summer. I think if I found myself sitting under that pergola right now, I'd be sporting this top, cool beverage in hand, gazing up at the greenery! -Laura

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