Red Jeds Redemption

A bit of a thud down to earth this week, from flighty capes to good solid pants. A quick aside: I’m writing this blog post the weekend before the US general election, and it will post a couple days after, so hopefully it won’t feel totally out of step with reality. I’m hoping, in fact, reality will be heading in a more benign direction.

In the meantime, how about a trip to Canada with the Thread Theory Jedediah pants? Well, the pattern is Canadian; actually, we’re in the park at the end of our street. This is the third pair of Jeds I’ve sewn this year, and the 8th…9th?…pair I’ve sewn overall. It was also the first fly-front trouser pattern I ever made!

I was so intimidated the first time – I’m not sure exactly how long it took me, but I carefully sewed my zipper fly, flat-felled or bias-bound all the seams, and finally, nervously, forked them over to Professor Boyfriend. I had decided to start with trousers for him because he’s a nice uncomplicated long rectangle, so I thought I could focus on construction and not worry about fitting; to which I say now, HAHAHAHAHA. There was something like 4 extra inches at the waist. I took them in (inexpertly) and they were still (unsurprisingly) baggy, but wearable. Professor BF loyally wore them until they fell apart anyway. So of course I rewarded him with a second pair that was far, far too small.        

I’d like to pretend the third pair was just right, Goldilocks-style, but truthfully I’m still tweaking these every time I sew them. Now I’ve flipped-flopped – I’ve practiced enough construction that I can whip up a pair PDQ, but I’m making incremental changes to fit. Is it possible, even likely, that his body is incrementally changing over the years, also, and that my pace is too slow to keep up with reality? NO.

Anyway, I’ve cut and taped and slashed and re-taped my initial pattern so many times that it no longer has a relationship to the size chart, but it’s in the range of a 32 waist, with a generous flat seat adjustment and slimmed legs. I’m not sure if my initial fit mishaps were due to measuring error (most likely), cutting/sewing error (second), deliberate pattern ease (third), or pattern error (least likely; I’ve been happy with Thread Theory patterns in the past). They were some goofy trews though.

The pattern calls for 3ish yards of fabric, depending on fabric width, which I found to be way too much.  I can make 2 pairs of full-length pants from 3 yards, and once I even eked 1 pair of trousers and 1 pair of shorts from 2 yards, so I think most sizes could safely buy less.            

The common area for adjustment seems to be the seat seam. It’s shaped like a “J” hook, with an almost right-angled corner; I didn’t do an ‘official’ flat seat adjustment (I didn’t know what one was yet) but I slapped a wodge of paper into that corner and smoothed the curve, and it improved the fit a lot. I may have overdone it, so I’ll scoop it a *little* more next time. If you or your prospective wearer has got das booty, you might not want to make any changes at all. I also shaved down the hip curve on the front and back, which necessitated scooting the pocket over a bit, so the hand opening would remain large enough.  

I now use the CC order of construction and fly zip method; otherwise I follow the Jed directions. By the way, this is the pattern that taught me to cut my notches pointing outwards, not into the seam allowance, which I now do for everything! Even though I don’t flat-fell these seams anymore (my serger has made me complacent), it’s nice to have the option. I also LOVE the front pocket construction – it looks so tidy and professional when done right. These, however, are not quite right. Instead of pocket facings, I cut the pocket lining from the main fabric (these were a q sew – pandy pants, if you will – and all my cotton scraps had been used for masks). Predictably, the openings stretched out a bit. It’s not horrible, but a nice stable cotton pocket bag would have helped.   

The main fabric, by the way, is a vintage wool (blend?) that came from some of my oldest friends! They have an ancestress who worked in a US woolens mill, and this cranberry piece was leftover from her stash of remnants from the mill! If I had made these out of lockdown I would have purchased coordinating thread instead of cobbling together some red odds and ends, but when you gotta sew, you gotta sew.

I love this pattern for smart-casual trousers! Professor Boyfriend reports that they’re warm, comfortable, and the wool doesn’t itch at all. I’m certainly going to make more, and more, and more – I’ll probably hem them a little deeper next time, raise the pockets a ½” or so, and maybe slim the legs even more. I’m not tired of sewing them yet, and he’s not tired of wearing them. So we’ll call it a match. 😎

Pattern: Thread Theory Jedediah pants

Pattern cost: NA

Size: ???

Supplies: vintage cranberry wool, gift; thread from stash; zipper, Sewfisticated, $1.30

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $1.30

He’s a (Trapper) Keeper

A Bird Shirt has landed!

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Professor Boyfriend and I use the phrase “bird shirt” (inspired by New Girl’s Winston Bishop) to describe any wonderfully patterned button-up shirt, not necessarily with a bird print, usually worn by a male-indentifying person. Think the shirts made by Wanderstitch and Emma’s Atelier, for and sometimes with their partners! Our fabric store ritual is to walk around, I point at a fun patterned fabric and Prof. BF tells me why he doesn’t like it. But not this time!

Me: Would you wear this?

Him: Yes. I’ll get that.

Me: …what?!

Him: Yes. How many yards?  

This project jumped the queue because I was so excited. Also because I’m avoiding my first winter coat project (I’m scared!) and sewing the Fairfield shirt in a highly cooperative cotton, no less, is a comfort sew, and because I found a new collar stand technique I really wanted to try (more on that later!).

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I’ve sewn this pattern for Professor Boyfriend 12 times in the last three years so at this point I’m just tweaking. I don’t have any technical fitting knowledge re: men’s shirts but he feels comfortable and I think he looks v. v. handsome so we’re happy! I flat-fell everything, though this time I decided to flat-fell the side seams opposite to the directions (so I have two lines of stitching visible inside the garment, one outside, instead of the reverse). I made this minor change because I haven’t been totally happy with the appearance of my bottom thread while sewing lately. A needle tension issue, maybe? But sewing with quilting cotton is so stable and soothing.

This is one of Ruby Star Society’s first releases. It is niiice. I think Ruby Star’s designers used to work a lot with Cotton & Steel, but I get the impression Cotton & Steel was up to some funny business about royalties and licensing fees. Anyway, new brand, same great taste! This fabric is sold with the quilting cottons but it’s edging towards being a lawn, in my opinion. Apparently, that luxurious cotton feel + flashbacks of nineties school supplies is the winning formula for Professor Boyfriend.

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I didn’t pattern match (ya think?) but I only got one double-noodle, on the pocket. On this draft, the pocket is raised 1.5” from the Fairfield pattern markings. Professor Boyfriend requests another half inch or so next time.

I did fussy cut the plackets! When was this shirt made?

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And how do we feel about it?

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Yay, fun selvages! Further yay, most accommodating fabric! It presses so crisply. This straightforward fabric was a great opportunity to try a new-to-me collar stand technique.

Remember when everyone was sewing the Archer and following those effective but fiddly directions, and then the Four Square Walls method blasted onto the scene? I was never really happy with my collar stands either way, especially compared to RTW – which is silly, because those are sewn by professionals whose experience dwarfs mine. It continues to be important to remember that, but listen, sinners! I have found A BETTER WAY.  

Actually, Mainely Menswear found it. I followed his link. It’s all in this video! There’s no spoken explanations, but it’s truly masterful sewing.

However, I prefer reading directions to watching or listening. Since I plan on using this technique forever now, I’ve made some diagrams I can follow in the future (focused on the stand, not the collar – here’s some collar techniques from Closet Case). All seam allowances should be ¼”. The interfaced side of the collar will show when the shirt is worn; the interfaced collar stand will be on the inside, touching the neck. If you try following these, please let me know how it goes!

1. Interface, stitch, turn, press, and topstitch collar using your preferred methods. Baste the raw edges within the seam allowance. Set aside.

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2. Reshape the ends of the collar stand pattern piece as shown and cut x2 fabric. Cut x1 interfacing, and remove the seam allowance from the short ends and neckline edge.

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3. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one collar stand. Press up the neckline seam allowance to the wrong side, along the edge of the interfacing. If your fabric is shifty or slippery, you may want to baste this in place.  

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4. Place the interfaced collar stand right side up, then the collar, interfaced side down. Sew or pin together. Place second collar stand piece, right side down, and sew together, pivoting with your needle down at the collar stand corners.   

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5. Fold or press the seam allowances along the stitch line, just in the collar stand corners. Hold the seam allowances and one side of the collar stand between your finger and thumb. Flip the other collar stand piece right side out, over the seam allowances. Repeat for the other end. This should create neat, symmetrical collar stand ends.

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6. Mark the seamline on the inside of the uninterfaced collar stand by running a fine marking tool along the folded neckline edge of the interfaced collar stand.

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7. Pin the uninterfaced collar stand right sides together with the body of the shirt (front plackets and shoulder seams completed). Line up the edges of the collar stand with the edges of the front plackets, and sew or pin the ends in place. Then pin the rest of the uninterfaced collar stand to the neckline edge, and sew in two steps, from the center out. Hold the interfaced collar stand out of the way, and sew directly on your marked line.   

8. Turn your completed collar and collar stand right side out, tucking seam allowances inside. Remove basting stitches, if necessary. Pin the folded edge of the interfaced collar stand directly over the seamline between the collar stand and shirt body. Topstitch all the way around, with the interfaced collar stand (inner collar) up.  

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Done! This was, by far, the intersection of the neatest collar stand and the simplest collar stand technique I’ve ever sewn! And the result:

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It’s a straightforward low-bulk finish and the stitching is seriously so easy to get right on both the inner and outer collar stand simultaneously. Everything just lined up! This is it for me for collar stands. You can tell I’m sincere since I retraced my pattern pieces onto cereal box cardboard, and that’s the good stuff! This whole shirt is good stuff, I think!

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And this guy’s not bad stuff, either! See you next time!

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Ruby Star Society Anagram cotton, $30.00, Gather Here; buttons, $6.00, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $36.00

Diagnosis: Trouser

These pants don’t fit!

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People, these pants don’t fit!

Obviously nobody is delighted when a project flops, but I’m actually excited to write this post, and it’s mostly down to my new acquisition – Singer’s Sewing Pants that Fit. This book was recommended on the Pattern Review forum when I asked a pants question, and its clear diagrams and jewel-toned eighties style madness do NOT disappoint. Also, there’s so much experience and generosity on the PR forum, it’s amazing!

My eventual goal is to sew a trouser-fit or carrot-leg pair of jeans. I couldn’t find an ideal pattern but I remembered Made by Meg’s jean-style Lazos, and decided THOSE, I want those! So I bought the Lazo trousers PDF and got to hackin’. Arguably too much hackin’ all at once. But now that I look back on my inspiration pair, also signally failin’ to add a yoke as Meg did. Oops.

My wearable muslin, which I’m talking about today, is not a success, but that means it’s time to read…those…wrinkles!! Eventually!

Anyway, this is going to be a long one.

Chapter 1 – What I Did

I started from a size 16. I’d recently removed the tucks from MN Flints as per the tutorial, as a learning exercise, so I thought I could apply that technique to remove the pleats from the Lazos. However, the tuck lines on the Lazos are parallel, not convergent. I decided to mark a line roughly at the knee and then treat them as though they would converge there, following the MN directions.

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Okay, done.

Meg reduced the width of her waistband by half and kept the lower half. I wanted to reduce it by half but keep the top. So, ideally, the upper edge of the waistband would stay on my waist, while I would increase the rise of the pants. I did this after removing the pleats!

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I blended the lower half of the waistband into the pants legs. On the front I needed to increase the fly extension to match; happily I prefer a wide extension. Instead of extending the pocket bag pattern pieces, I scooted them up and maintained the same opening and angle, as shown above. Apart from merging it with the lower half of the waistband, I didn’t make any other changes to the back legs. Yet!

Chapter 2 – What Went Wrong

Immediately and obviously, the back didn’t fit (SURPRISE!). According to Morgan at Thread Theory, the back darts are integrated into the center back seam of the Lazo trousers. It’s also designed for flat bottoms, I think. Since I raised the waist by 2 1/8” on my draft, and have lotsa bottom, I could have stored a bushel of acorns in the gape.

I’d already stitched on the pockets so I unprofessionally bunged a couple of darts back there, terminating under the edge of the patch pocket. The pocket openings would no longer sit flat, but at this point I already knew these wouldn’t be wearable. I still wanted to get them a) close and b) done so I could read the fit more accurately for next time.

Standing, these pants are reasonably cute and comfortable.

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Sitting, they’re punishing.

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The front waistband digs into my gut (not an issue with other high rise jeans) and the back waistband dips far too low, hence the bodysuit for these photos.

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When standing up, my side seams are vertical and my waistband is level. That says to me – the crotch length is probably okay, except at center back. The crotch depth is #!!@*%!!ed.

Chapter 3 – What Next?

First, when I talk about ‘fit problems’ I am NOT saying my body is the problem! The problem lies in the interaction of my body and the garment, and adjustments are always undertaken on the garment, not on my fine self. When using my book’s terms like ‘large hips’, it’s just a way of defining where the pattern diverges from my body, and not a judgment on whether hips are good or bad.

Okay, from front to back:

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I’m seeing some space between the waistband and me: small waist. Also, the pocket bags are popping open: large hips. And that little triangular pucker between my upper thighs: protruding front thighs!

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So far none of these changes affect the crotch curve, except the poppin’ front thigh adjustment, which adds a little depth. But so far so good! Now let’s mosey on around to the back.

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Look at those wrinkles, then at this guide:

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Protruding seat, as clear as day! It’s me!! This will add depth AND height, right where I need it.

Here’s an image that combines adjustments for many, though not all, of my issues, plus one I don’t have:

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I’ll definitely reference this during my redraft-a-rama!

I’d like a yoke instead of darts, as mentioned earlier, but that’s more of a style tweak than a fitting one. This particular pair of trousers might not work on me, but I feel like my brain is learning to touch its toes. There’s a clear and achievable path to another draft and I’m feeling energized to walk it!

And that’s the end of this meaty post! Speaking of, we first tried pictures of my bum straight-on when attempting to photograph the dreaded back dip. Professor Boyfriend showed me some and I said ‘Oh no! It just looks like a blimp! It needs context!’. He took more, but it turns out it wasn’t really the photos’ angle that was responsible, so I present to you this voyage of the Heinie-burg.

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Or maybe the Hinden-butt?

The end!!

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Lazo trousers

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 16 with extensive edits

Supplies: 2 yards of denim, $8.00, Sewfisticated; zipper, $1.38, Sewfisticated

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $9.38

Rhubarb Rhubarb

Hooray, Professor Boyfriend is triumphant in his first pink shirt!

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I originally thought of this hue as Nantucket Red, but a little research proved that that’s actually an indistinguishable but legally distinct color! Apparently, Nantucket Red – that mainstay of New England coastal preppie summer culture; just picture someone named Bryant drawling “We summer at the Cape” – is owned by one business in particular. I have a soft spot for Nantucket Red, since growing up it gave even the most normative boys an entrée into wearing pink (though as I reminded some students today, colors don’t have genders, and genders shouldn’t be valued by comparison – seriously, who is feeding them ‘blank is a girl’s color (subtext: and therefore bad)’ at this stage of the game?! >( Blah, rant over. Well, paused). Anyway, I’m calling this universally flattering hue “rhubarb”! Come at me, copyright!

Plus we’ve concluded that if Professor Boyfriend was a vegetable, that’s what he’d be (I’d be a butternut squash, obviously). And here he is, fulfilling his destiny!

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This is my zillionth time sewing the Thread Theory Fairfield, but only the second time with short sleeves. I love a sassy short-sleeve button-up, with my eventual goal being to put him in a Winston Bishop from New Girl-style Bird Shirt, as I think this is the exact right amount of fabric and casual flair to float a wacky print. However, as I’m historically lazy, I did not print out the separate pattern piece for the short sleeve. Instead I measured an existing shirt to find out that the final sleeve should be 5” long (armpit to hem), with a 1” deep hem. It looks nice cuffed, too! No photos of that here, since we took these photos in literally 12 minutes between the end of work and the beginning of game night.

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This is a straight size M with back darts, no need to reinvent the wheel; we’re both happy with the fit on him. Professor Boyfriend has requested that next time, I move the pocket upwards a few inches; using the pattern markings places it a cool half-inch under the business end of his pec. Something to look out for, if you’re considering the pocket! No need to unpick and resew this time as it’s pretty well blended into the stripes. And speaking of resewing…

This relatively simple shirt (no cuffs, no sleeve plackets) took me FOR-EV-ER. I resewed the front placket three times! That’s just two straight lines, but I couldn’t get them right! Finally I fiddled the stripes perfectly into place, topstitched oh-so-precisely, and went ahead with the shirt. When it came time to hem I realized my fussy aligning and topstitching had failed to catch the raw edge in places.

I could not, would not, unpick and resew at this point. I didn’t think the collar stand would survive, for one thing. This cotton is lovely and soft but it doesn’t have a ton of tensile strength and it already wasn’t too happy with my unpicking binge.

IMG_8465So I hand sewed a length of cream twill tape over the raw edge! Honestly, it was easier to face at that point than any other solution I could think of. It’s not too obvious or offensive and I’m hopeful the shirt will last through many washings and wearings despite my dingleberry routine.

And to soothe my troubled heart…

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Not too shabby, eh? The collar isn’t perfectly lined up but considering I forget to account for the stripes moving across it when cutting, it’s darn close. A big thank-you to Lady Luck!

To conclude, in the words of many valiant background actors in many movie scenes: rhubarb rhubarb, rhubarb rhubarb.

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Th-th-that’s all, folks!

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 2.5 yards of lightweight pink/cream cotton, $30, Gather Here; $1.91, thread, Michaels; $6.00, buttons, Gather Here

Total time: 7.5 hours

Total cost: $37.91

Winter Knit Shirt Bumper Post!!

It’s a Winter Knit Shirt Bumper Post!!

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If you’re like me, you have a hard time covering your top half in winter. Legs = jeans, almost inevitably (which can get boring, but always works for my day). Torso = some old RTW sweaters, oftener than not, unfortunately. Sometimes I try to get interesting with ~layers!!~ but what I really want are easy-wearing, cozy tops. I prefer sewing with wovens, so my selections are a little meager, but see the collection below!

1 . Wrap Nettie

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This is the Closet Case Nettie, with the innovative wrap variation from Self Assembly Sewing. I botched the hem of the underlap layer and stretched it out (technically it didn’t need hemming at all, but I was worried about the raw edge rolling) so now there’s some slightly odd vertical wrinkles, but it’s less noticeable in person. Especially when the big bow is spruced up! I used the tie pieces from the Seamwork Elmira, just tucked into the side seams. I’m not linking to the Elmira because I dug the style but the drafting seemed very off. Masses of extra fabric in my armpits – I cut it up almost immediately and repurposed it into this bodysuit.

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  1. Deep back Nettie

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On one trip to London I was able to visit The Man Outside Sainsbury’s, as recommended by Did You Make That? and others  – he is my Tir Na Nog, my Shangri-La, my Wabar of men near supermarkets. I miss him every day. He said this knit was silk jersey and my amateurish burn test did not disprove it. This fabric is very soft and the edges didn’t roll at all – really paradise to sew. I worked hard to keep the flower bunches unanatomical and it worked! But…

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The deep back was a mistake! I don’t feel comfortable wearing this to work (my youngest students are 4 and 5 and get a hold of any edge and pull when they want your attention, and I can’t help but feel one tug on the wrong place would leave me looking a little let’s say Minoan), and for winter weekends…

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It’s cold! I still pull it out occasionally. It also peps up my drawer, which is important in a drab season.

  1. High-neck Nettie

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This black bodysuit might be my favorite. It’s a bamboo knit, which is a little thin but has a very firm hold. No way I can push up my sleeves. The high neck is super cozy and goes with everything – every necklace, scarf, layer, bottom. I need another basic black Nettie!

It seems very prim and sober with the color, high neck and long sleeves but I’m also 50% cosplaying as Kim Possible at all times.

  1. Dark navy Nettie

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IT’S FUNCTIONAL!

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SO FUNCTIONAL!

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Scoop neck, high back, navy blue, works great under dungarees. See, this is why not every top needed its own post.

  1. Tabor V-Neck

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This is Sew House Seven’s Tabor V-neck in a spruce sweater knit. I usually resist basic tee patterns but I was seduced (or is it sew-spruced?! HAR HAR HAR) by this view, with the thick overlapping neckband. I got a little puckering where the V meets the body of the shirt, but that’s because I ignored the designer’s direction to sew with the shirt side up, then serged my edges, and then noticed the pucker. I decided to leave it alone, as my experience with art (and popping pimples) has taught me that the more you pick at a minor flaw, the more noticeable it becomes, without usually improving it at all. This will be a leitmotif in sweater knits for me.

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My only issue with this shirt is that the seam of the dropped sleeve has me constantly convinced my bra strap is slipping off!

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The shirt pattern also includes this lovely, neatly finished split hem. I’ll be omitting it in the future though and just sewing the side seam fully closed, since I only wear the shirt tucked it. And here’s why:

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Just don’t love that shape, guys. I do want to make more of these anyway! One of my fifth graders said I looked “elegant” which warmed my heart (she didn’t see this picture, obviously). Thank you sweet monster. ❤

  1. Hemlock tee

I’m having a Grainline moment several years into my sewing career.

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For whatever reason I suddenly sewed up a batch of woven Hemlock tees last year (my first two are detailed here). This is my first knit Grainline Hemlock (free with newsletter sign-up) and I sewed it almost exactly as written except a lot hecking shorter because it was made from the scraps of the Tabor, above! #sewingleftovers

I sewed and serged one shoulder seam before realizing I had placed the shirt body pieces right-side-to-wrong side, and the front would now be permanently wrong side out. Ooor I could unpick.

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Yeah. Front side is wrong side out for keeps. Since this was a scrap buster and I’d already committed to less than perfection I tried something I had never done before –serging my construction seams directly! Usually I seam with a zig-zag on a traditional machine and finish the edges with the serger. I wouldn’t do this for a bodysuit or probably anything with negative ease but it went almost unbelievably quickly for a loose fitting tee like this one!

  1. Thread Theory Camas blouse

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I really like this pattern – it combines the comfort of a knit with the detailing of a woven – except I’d like to figure out a better way to finish those front edges. There seems to be unnecessary bulk there. Also, I’m not sure why that top button seems to be fighting for its life, I’m not exactly Dolly Parton.

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Gathers! I should wear this more, but I find myself avoiding it! Mustard is my Colonel Brandon of colors – I always think well of it, and never want to wear it. Luckily my man looks positively luminous in this color so I’ll put any future mustard on that hot dog.

And there you have it, every knit winter shirt I’ve sewn over the last three years! Knits are such a small percentage of my total output, but in winter they’re what I wear. I’d love to add some really snuggly sweaters too. I’m considering the Ali sweatshirt after seeing Sierra’s makes, but then I have another hurdle (beyond my reluctance to work with knits)…where are people sourcing their snuggliest fabrics?! Let a chilly woman know!

 

Patterns 1-4: Closet Case Nettie

Pattern cost: N/A (I made a summer one first)

Size: 10 at bust, graded to 12 at hip; shortened about 1.5” at waist

Supplies: 1. Refashioned Elmira sweater, stash; $1.79, thread, Michael’s; 1 meter jersey (silk?), $2.65, TMOS; $2, snaps, Michael’s; 1 yard Telio Ibiza stretch jersey knit in Black, $8.98, fabric.com; thread and snaps from stash; 1 yard Kaufman Laguna Stretch Cotton Jersey Knit in Navy, $8.55, fabric.com; thread and snaps from stash

Total time: 1. 4.75 hours; 2. 2.75 hours; 3. 3 hours; 4. 2.25 hours

Total cost: 1. $1.79; 2. $4.65; 3. $8.98; 4. $8.55

 

Pattern 5: Sew House Seven Tabor V-neck, version #4

Pattern cost: $14

Size: 10

Supplies: 2 yards Telio Topaz hatchi knit in pine, $15.96, fabric.com; thread from stash

Total time: 4 hours

Total cost: $29.96

 

Pattern 6: Grainline Hemlock tee

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: one-size pattern

Supplies: leftovers from Tabor V-neck

Total time: 1.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00

 

Pattern 7: Thread Theory Camas blouse

Pattern cost: N/A (I made a sleeveless woven one first! Oh personal spending accounting practices, sneaky sneaky)

Size: 8 at bust, graded to 12 at hip

Supplies: 1.5 yards Fabric Merchants Cotton Jersey Solid Yellow Mustard, $8.75, fabric.com; thread and buttons from stash

Total time: Lost in time! I sewed this before I started spreadsheeting my sewing

Total cost: $8.75

Meet Professor boyfriend!

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My boyfriend has many wonderful qualities. He’s kind, etc., takes all the photos for this blog (except these, which is why they were all initially leaning 30 degrees before editing), and to cap it all off – he’s a medium! Just a straight-size medium, no grading or anything! The first trousers and button-up shirts I ever sewed were for him, because I could focus on construction, knowing fit would take care of itself.  This is probably shirt #8 or #10, but a men’s shirt pattern is still something I’m excited to dig in and sew. Especially this one!

Of course when I say he’s a medium I mean he’s a Thread Theory medium, since this is the Thread Theory Fairfield. I love this shirt on him – the slim design elements like the collar and cuffs really suit his build, and after messing around with both views we’ve decided V2, with the back darts, is just right.

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They’re hard to see in this small-scale gingham, and that’s the way I like them!

I’m not sure if other men’s shirt patterns use this technique, but the Fairfield instructions ask you to fold over the seam allowance on the top of sleeve before sewing the construction seam, which makes flat-felling the armscye much, much easier (all the seam allowances are actually pre-offset for easy flat-felling, though it means you have to read carefully). The one change I’ve made to this pattern was to make the armscye and shoulders seams flatter/less curvy, however – the sleeve cap was really tall, which meant the sleeve was very stylish and narrow, but my stitching was always messy around the tight curves and it was causing me stress. Effectively I made an unnecessary full bicep adjustment, so the sleeve is a little loose now.

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But the shoulder is much neater! I’m re-adjusting the pattern to be more like the original, little by little, as my sewing confidence grows. You’d think this many shirts in I would laugh in the face of a flat-felled armscye, but nah.

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Can you spot my other silly mistake? I hemmed the shirt the wrong way! Eek! Professor boyfriend generously allowed this to be a feature, not a bug. We’re calling it a reverse hem and it’s a highly desirable design element, ahem.

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The fabric was a gift from my mother and it’s some sort of dreamy cotton, crisp and sturdy but not that wrinkly. The interfacing was a gift too – fusible, but cotton. I started treating myself to the $5 interfacing instead of $2 interfacing about 5 years into sewing, and I’m never going back. It’s that kind of attention to detail that makes my mom a deadly gifting assassin. You can’t compete.

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I think you’ll see more of these shirts before we’re through! And more of this guy, too, if I can figure out how to hold the camera straight.

 

Pattern: Thread Theory Fairfield shirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M

Supplies: 3 yards small blue and ivory gingham cotton, gift; $1.49, thread, Michaels; $6.00, buttons, Gather Here

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $7.49