Aloha Tiger

Inspiration during lockdown has been great but the lack for materials has been a major setback. There were a lot of things I wanted to try but it was difficult to source the correct art materials and there was only so much I had at home. So when I am bored, I naturally drifted to online browsing. Turns out one of my most used search word is ‘tiger’. Go figure!

This time, the search came back with a very promising result, in the form of a printed tiger fabric that is made in Japan. I love Japanese fabrics because the quality is amazing and you really get what you pay for. I know this because when I was in Japan last year, I was shocked at some of the high prices on certain items, but when I had a close look I realised the work and quality that had gone into it. Although it was expensive, I took the chance to buy it because I imagined how amazing a Hawaiian shirt would look in that fabric. Yep, I was also influenced by the Hawaiian Shirt challenge on the Sewing Bee.

While waiting for the fabric to arrive, I decided to draft a Hawaiian shirt pattern. I had a basic pattern for a shirt and all I had to do was draft the collar. Usually I would draft the pattern flat but I couldn’t visualise how the fit would look on the body and wanted to avoid numerous alterations to the pattern.

So instead I decided to drape the collar to ensure that it fitted well, but also to ensure that the revere was in the right position. In order to do this, I drew part of the pattern onto a piece of scrap fabric and played with the collar until it looked right.

Pattern cutting is actually very simple if you analyse the problem methodologically. It is basically manipulating a shape onto another shape to fit on the body. Through utilising a range of pattern cutting techniques, you have an arsenal of tools for problem solving. There is no right or wrong way because it is what ever the pattern cutter feels comfortable with to achieve the outcome. I have said this before but a group of pattern cutters can achieve the same outcome while utilising different methods. Versatility is the key word but also throw in experimentation. Also remember that most of the time, the answer is very simple. Unfortunately, we tend to overcomplicate it.

Moving along, the fabric eventually arrived and I immediately started to cut the fabric. However, I had a horrible time trying to match the front because after pattern matching it numerous times, I still got it wrong. It must have been one of those days so I took a tea break, gritted my teeth and persevered. The results paid off though as the pattern matching was perfect.

I was also really happy that I spent the time to draft the collar as it came out exactly how I wanted it to be.

As I age, I find myself more patient with sewing. The anticipation of wanting to make something quickly often results in poor construction or less than perfect stitching. If there is one thing to learn, it is to take your time and ensure that the stitch is a millimetre within the line. Otherwise, take the seams apart and start again. The may sound pedantic, but not only was the fabric expensive but this is a garment that I intend to wear for a long time so a bit of care and attention goes a long way.

If there is one thing expensive clothes have in common, it is the attention to detail and I always love spending a bit of time in my work to highlight this. In this instance, it is the slit on the side seams. I wanted to make sure that it looks perfect on the outside and inside. I know people don’t pay attention to the inside but you will change your mind after looking at garments that masters like Christian Dior and Charles James have created. The outside of their gowns tells of their vision while the inside shows their intelligence. Looking at both immediately tells you that their designs had depth.

Anyway, I kept all of the offcuts and guess what I made?

What else?


About syvyaw

Eat, sleep and think Fashion.


  1. Beautiful. Pattern matching was something I never ever considered in most of my sewing experience, and tbh, I still rarely bother. I know some people obsess with it, but I recently read a comment which [I feel] justifies my approach: pattern matching is a fabric wasteful technique, which historically was never relevant- fabric being expensive and labour intensive mans you waste NOTHING and piece oddments together where needed, Some of the most stunning historical gowns are pieced all over the place.
    Of course kimonos and the like are the original zero-waste garments!
    Your shirt is GORGEOUS and I love the matching mask. I’m making quite a few from my favourite remnants, just because!

    • Indeed. Pattern matching is very wasteful especially if the repetition of the prints are far apart. And to be honest, some prints are too small to bother with the effort. On certain fabrics where the print is the main focus, I match them as the mismatch can sometimes be very annoying to me (cue my OCD). My rule is either to match them perfectly or mismatch them so well that you can’t notice. Both takes effort though as Sod’s law dictates that when you don’t want to match them and cut without planning, they come out ‘nearly’ matching and ruins the whole look.

  2. Violet

    The pattern is so impressive. I rarely take the risk as I have no patience!

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