Rouge et noir


After making the White Devil costume with its faux panels, I decided to have a go at doing a version of the original pattern with actual bodice panels and seeing what it looked like. I’ve made V8772 six times previously (1-4, 5, 6) if you don’t count the costume, and now basically use it as a bodice block, to be copied and altered whenever I feel like making a generic shirt.

I hied me to the stash and came out with some soft red stuff that may be a cotton-linen blend (left over from the Glastonbury Shorts) and thin black polycotton that used to be a bedsheet (left over from my fourth V8772). For some reason the red is really hard to photograph well; a number of the photos have been adjusted for contrast.

I traced off a copy of the front pattern piece and drew lines connecting the top of the front dart to the apex of the bust dart, then cut the new pattern piece apart along the dart and connecting lines. Setting the panels in was … interesting. Not being a quilter, I do not have my mum’s wealth of experience with set-in corners, so after some bunching and swearing and unpicking I elected to topstitch around the panel edge and essentially create a lapped seam, except with the edge of the main section turned under to be tidier.



I really liked the effect of the black and red, and and immediately decided that it needed more black accents. I got out the leftover bits of the black fabric, and set about trimming everything that could be trimmed with self-made black tape. It’s not actually bias tape – it’s cut on-grain, but the fabric is old and forgiving and could be coaxed around curves.

The collar: rn-collar

The sleeves: rn-sleeve

The hem: rn-hem

The button plackets: rn-plackets

After I’d done the plackets, my partner mentioned that it was starting to have a distinctly military look. I decided to run with it, and add on a set of button-down shoulder tabs taken from an old black shirt I had lurking in the scrap pile. With those safely on, it looked good but needed something else.

Enter the scrap trimmings bag and a judicious application of gold braid.


The braid is stitched down with a narrow zig-zag – it’s not tidy but it is secure, and that was the important thing given how much it unravels. The underside of the tabs is a mess of golden fuzz. I also managed to put the braid on one of the tabs the wrong side up – I unbuttoned the tab and pulled it out flat to put the braid on, and misjudged which side of the tab would end up being visible. Rather than unpick the braid, I unpicked an inch of the sleeve seam, took the tab out, turned it over, and put it back.

I stole the buttons off the same black shirt, with black buttonholes. The buttonholes were the quickest I have ever put in – my machine’s 4-step buttonhole function is pretty neat, but prone to going sproing occasionally; six buttonholes without so much as an ominous clunking noise is pretty much unheard-of. I sewed on all the buttons one Sunday night while watching the Avengers movie.

The final product is swanky and sharp and extremely comfortable, and I love it to bits. It’s smart done up or casual worn open over a tank top, and I think it could have the potential to be formalwear-smart with the right jacket and trousers.


Vive la révolution!

About Craft (Alchemy)

I make things and make things up.
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3 Responses to Rouge et noir

  1. jadesabre9 says:

    I love this shirt! Well done 🙂

  2. Thank you – it’s been getting a lot of rotation since I finished it.

  3. Pingback: V1419: Blue his house with the blue little window … | Craft (Alchemy)

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