I finished something!

mariacha's picture


I made a thing. Here it is:

Shirt on the dummy

It uses a relatively standard pattern for a men's button-up shirt. Taylor picked the pattern on a whim, and the lady at the sewing store was very helpful in making sure I got enough fabric and iron-on fusible interfacing. That's good, because all the numbers on the back of the pattern were gobbledegook to me.


I have a complicated attitude toward clothes. In my youth I shopped almost exclusively at thrift stores, where $20 would get you 5 pieces of clothing. Once I got married, Taylor became increasingly uncomfortable with shopping at thrift stores.

"Someone probably died in that," he would say. (Perhaps it helped that my primary interest at thrift stores was the kind of men's trousers preferred by the elderly.)

So I moved up to JC Penney's. Extravagance! I know. That worked well when I was in my 20s and fashion prefered women with curves. That is not the case right now. The oversized burlap sack on leggings look turns me into a walking pillow.

So why a shirt for Taylor? I always do better work when sewing for someone else, for one thing. Plus, well, he seemed excited about it.


What worked:

I will begin by admitting that I grew up in a house with a lot of home sewing, but I also had virtually no patience for it. I attribute this to my learning style, which is very much a "follow the directions" route, not meshing with my Mom's teaching style. Our sewing machines were always second hand, so we never had an instruction manual. So when the bobbin needed to be replaced or the needles rethreaded, all work ceased until Mom could fix it.

The two most important tools for this project were the sewing machine and the internet. Despite being labeled as "Easy," the pattern still contained a lot if jargon I didn't know: nap, shelvage, slipstich... I was able to look at the internet for video tutorials and at my sewing machine manual for further hints and tips.

I also bought my first iron. No looking back now.

What didn't work:

I made a few mistakes on this shirt, but none probably as consequential as the last: I forgot to take into account seam allowance when sewing my buttonholes and ended up putting them too far from the edge. Now the fabric sort of flaps over, and will probably wave jauntily in the breeze. I am trying to come up with some way to fix this, but I'm concerned that anything I try will make it more obvious.

Button problems

Another challenge was the material. Taylor chose a knit, which, of course, led to stretching issues. I know knits can be a pain, but I want to work with old tshirts, so this was good practice. I took things slowly and relied heavily on stay stitches (this was a new term).


Other than that, I just need to practice my slipstitch work -- the tedious stuff that's all done by hand.


I've got a pattern for a wrap dress, so I'm trying that next. A nice, summery dress -- I might even finish it before autumn.





Surprise action shot!

Action shot

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