The shops are full of cowboy-style shirts with pearl stud openings and breast pockets, usually in denim or check. For months I’ve been meaning to make my own version; one that’s a bit badass, like something the Salamanca cousins would wear with their skull-tipped boots while on a (probably murderous) Saturday night out.
Cue experimentation with designing a cheerful, kitschy sugar skull motif. I made a copy of the yoke in a pearly-silver fabric and sandwiched it between the yoke and the shirt back (which is in a fine Italian needlecord from Fabric House, again). The skull and the flowers are cut away from the yoke which is zigzag-stitched to the foil.
The sparkly pink and magenta bits used to be the fabric wings of my daughter’s Barbie Mariposa doll: yes, I’m mean!! The green, sew-on jewels were from one of the haberdashers alongside Walthamstow market and I also used some Gutermann metallic thread.
The inspiration for the design of the actual shirt came from an altogether different telly source: Madonna! Remember her super video for the equally excellent Don’t Tell Me? I’m not talking of the check shirt she wears at the start but the clingy leather (or probably even latex) number she wears just over half-way through, during the line dancing routine. Click here.
Oi, eyes off the cowboys! You’re supposed to be looking at Madge’s shirt.
Oh I see…. You were admiring the dancing.
For the body of the shirt, I used an old Butterick 4607 pattern, which I have some reservations about as it’s way oversized (I’m a 12 but made an 8) and a bit on the dowdy side – Madge would not approve. I changed the bottom edge of the yoke and gave the collar a 70s look. The sleeves are completely different to the original. I made them leg of mutton (I wonder if Madge, like me, winces at the mention of the word!), kept the width but then put 5 equally spaced pleats between the bicep and the elbow so that they’re narrowed before widening out again. I’m particularly pleased to have worked out how to make piped cuff plackets - that was a brain-draining afternoon or two, I can tell you.
The pearl press studs match the piping and the foil. To finish off the project, I took a trip to Soho and had the studs inserted professionally at a cost of £4.40 for 11 by DM Buttonholes. Much better than hammering them in myself on the chopping board using the steak tenderizer!
Whatcha think?! If you were a cowgirl broken bad, how would yours look?