It’s all about the sleeves (and the gathers!)

A review of Thea Boho Sleeve Shirt

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Reviewed by on 29th April, 2020

As a long-term fan of Liberty fabrics I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their new pattern range, which are beautifully styled in gorgeous website photos. The pattern envelope is generously sized and made from robust cardboard, so when used the pattern pieces can be easily put back inside. There are in fact two complete patterns in the packet to cover the size ranges, and size 14 is included in both. I was surprised to find on opening the pattern tissue that the pattern is in fact produced by McCalls, under the Liberty branding. The pattern and the instructions are therefore consistent with those from McCalls and other commercial pattern companies.

I have rated the pattern 4 out of 5 for three reasons. Firstly, there are no finished garment measurements either on the pattern envelope or the pattern tissue. Commercial  patterns often have large amounts of ease so I sized down from my body measurements, which would have put me at a size 14-16, and instead made a size 12. In practice this turned out to be fine for me. Secondly, the pattern is described on the envelope as ‘Easy’, which could mislead people into thinking  it’s suitable for a beginner. Depending on which option you choose, it’s actually quite an involved make. Each version has a collar stand, hidden buttonhole placket and set-in sleeves, and the long sleeved versions involve quite a lot of gathering. Thirdly, the instructions are relatively brief and don’t compare well with the level of guidance from some indie pattern brands.

That said, I am thrilled with the way my shirt turned out. The pattern contains several options, meaning you can get a range of choices from it. You can choose a band collar or pointed collar with stand; short sleeves, long sleeves with two layers of frill or long bell sleeves gathered into upper arm caps and cuffs.  The front and back body sections are gathered into a shoulder yoke, meaning that bust darts are unnecessary. The front plackets are made from self-facings.

I made version C, shown on the pattern envelope, and the design is lovely. I used Liberty Tana Lawn, which worked beautifully. Silk and linen are also recommended on the pattern envelope as well as cotton. It’s important to avoid anything bulky because of the gathering.

I will definitely make more of this lovely shirt.