One of my favorite things about designing patterns is the dialogue it creates between myself and sewists all over the world. I love hearing from you all!
One of my friends and former students got in touch recently about an idea she had for a pattern hack. She's made a few Cabins and loves them, but foresees some problems with functionality in her post pregnancy wardrobe: AKA needing better access for breastfeeding.
I'm a big fan of a henley shirt placket. I have quite a few in my wardrobe and while I don't need them for the aforementioned reason, I fully appreciate their functionality. So this pattern renovation is for everyone, but hopefully will be extra useful for new mamas.
I've created instructions and an extra pattern piece for this purpose!
First, a bit about my henley placket Cabin. I used a lovely silk I picked up at a discount fabric store I visited in Western Mass. You know, the kind with the bolts of fabric stacked to the ceiling on wooden shelves in a large industrial building, full of buried treasure to be discovered.
It was labeled as denim, but I suspected by the look and texture (and later confirmed with a burn test) that it was actually raw silk. The fabric itself has a wonderful drape but is quite dense. My seams proved extra bulky, so while I used the reverse of the fabric for a contrast placket and pockets, I opted for some quilting cotton to use for the neck and sleeve binding. I also finished the pockets with a serger, rather than creating the french seams that the pocket calls for.
I decided to use the selvedge of this fabric as a design detail, both on the placket and the hem of the dress.
Sometimes I like to wear a belt with Cabins for a more cinched waist, but a belt would get in the way with the placket alteration. I decided to add ribbon ties at the back waist. I had originally planned to make the ties from the silk fabric, but the bias tubes I made turned out too thick and stiff to use. Instead, I used 1/2" natural twill tape. I still feel like a matching tie would look a bit better, but I'll sit on this one for a while before swapping it out. From the back, it kind of looks like I'm wearing a kitchen apron (not necessarily a bad thing). If you'd like to add ribbon or self fabric ties to your Cabin: Cut 2 ribbons/ties equal to your waist measurement (this is an estimation...you might want shorter ties and can adjust as necessary). When sewing your side seams, sandwich the end of each ribbon between your front and back pieces at the waistline notches.
For the placket itself, I went back and forth between what kind of closure I would use. Buttons seemed too busy, so I decided to keep it low profile and sew on some large snaps. I love snaps and feel like they never get to shine. In this case, I used bright red thread so they would pop when visible. I also considered adding the kind of snaps that you hammer in. I love those and have quite a few in my stash. I'll be thinking about them for future projects.
I also decided to use the selvedge as a detail. The hack instructions don't describe how to do this, but all you have to do is skip folding under the long edge of the left side of the placket piece while sewing.
You can add buttons to the placket instead of snaps and I've given a template for each in the pattern. For buttons, it shows the placement of three and for snaps, it shows the placement for two. You can add more snaps as desired, but two seemed to do it for me.
As evidenced by the leaves, fall is most definitely in full swing. While I was able to take these pictures sweater-less in relatively minor discomfort (it was nice and sunny!) I definitely threw on a cardigan after pictures were done.