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Tori Richard Cotton Lawn – A tale of lobsters

Fringe Lobster 4b

It seems that as the weather gets colder and summer really comes to end (I’m clinging to it folks!) I feel compelled to sew a final garment in a lightweight cotton lawn fabric.  I really didn’t need my annual tradition as an excuse this year because this cotton lawn isn’t just any cotton lawn, it’s a Tori Richard cotton lawn.  Ok I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the name, but after doing some research I was very excited to get my hands on this fabric!

Cali Fabrics carries these Tori Richard cotton lawn prints, and according to Tori Richard’s website, they are all still printed in Japan with the same mill they have used for almost fifty years.  After selecting the Off-white Lobsters on Black Fine Cotton Lawn, I must confirm that the fabric is exactly as described:  it definitely resists creases, is lightweight and opaque, and has a very subtle luster.  I absolutely fell in love with it the moment I pulled it out of the box, and those lobsters are just so adorable!

I chose to make myself a blouse using the Fringe Blouse & Dress pattern from Chalk and Notch.  I typically don’t make myself garments using novelty prints, but this isn’t your typical novelty print as the lobsters are quite understated (something I never thought I’d say), and if you didn’t look very closely, you may not even notice I’m wearing a crustacean print!

This fabric like most cotton lawns has a crisp drape with some structure, so this was something I had in the back of my mind when choosing Fringe’s view A blouse.  The sleeve design does need a fabric with a softer drape to give that cascading look when they’re buttoned up, but I really didn’t mind either way, as the sleeves can be rolled up too.  In the end I like them both ways, but it’s something to keep in mind when selecting a pattern.

This was a fun and quick sew since cotton lawns aren’t a super high maintenance fabric.  Pre-washing/drying, using a smaller needle size, and selecting a lightweight interfacing are the only precautions I took here.  It can also be helpful to use a light colored, removable chalk marking tool for pattern markings.  I tested a spot first to make sure I could easily see it and remove it before drawing my darts.

I’m pretty happy with my blouse, although I see I need to lengthen my bodice and adjust the placement of my top button, but after working with this fabric I think it would be just perfect for a more fitted top or dress.  Its structure and subtle sheen give it a touch of fanciness that you wouldn’t find in other lightweight cottons, and it’s crispness lends itself to fabric manipulation techniques like pleating.  Can you just picture a semi-formal black dress covered in lobsters?!  Yeah, I could totally pull that off!

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