Thursday, 23 June 2011

Don't Sew When You're Sick

Yes I’ve been lacking in posts lately. I caught a cold a week ago and haven’t been able to shake it. All the work for this post I did last Wednesday. The fronts & backs of all three shirts were put together last time, but I wanted to include a picture of the nice, clean, zig-zagged edges.

Also got all three collars put together and all six front facings finished. Two isn’t bad to do, six is tedious.

Next: attaching the collars. Not fun. The collar is straight while the shirt is curved. Requires a lot of fiddling, straightening, and adjusting to make sure it’s on just right before making it permanent.

And this is my first big mess on this project. I really hate it when this happens: the material bunches on the bottom creating pinches and folds in the finished material. It’s a little hard to see, but the end result is the same: I have to take out the seam and try again.

Blood has now been shed for this project! Stabbed myself pretty good with a pin while fixing the collar. It really hurt. L

My company was looking extra-adorable that day so I took her picture. She’s great company, just lays there and sleeps; occasionally demands attention, but has no interest in getting into my material and sewing stuff.

All three shirts with the collars and facings attached! Now for the hand sewing:

What I’ve learned from this: don’t sew when you’re sick. And summer colds suck.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Assembly Line

The assembly line work on the three additional shirts for Cory has begun! Most of the day on Sunday was spent cutting out all the pieces.

I was also able to get the interfacing ironed on the collars and front facings. No so interesting, but lots to do.

New thing happened, I had calculated to have enough material to do all the shirts Cory wanted, for him and one of his staff, but I ran out of black material. That’s never happened before. I usually have lots left over. Of course I’ve also never made four of one pattern all at once before either.

I was able to get a few more hours in yesterday and got all of the black stripes and pockets done, as well as the shoulder seams on one shirt. Today: to get the other two shoulder seams done and sleeves if I have time. This time I am making sure to zigzag the raw edges: no fraying; looks cleaner too. 

More tomorrow!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Prototype Complete

Yes it’s done! Being Friday and I didn’t have to get up this morning, I was able to finish the first shirt! But that’s getting ahead of the story. After I got the collar on and the hand-stitching finished, next step was attaching the sleeves. And I was correct in my guess, it was the easy way! I love the easy way.

Here’s the sleeve pinned on to the shoulder:

And both sleeves sewed on: I have to remember for the rest to iron the shoulder seams at this point.

Pinning the under arm and side:

Heming the sleeves: it took a few years before I realized just how useful that little metal ruler is; now I use it all the time. The sleeve on the right is completely pinned and ready for sewing. The one on the left (with the ruler) is first stage pinning. I had to measure and pin up the hem allowance, then turn under the raw edge to make nice finish that won’t fray in the wash.

And sewing the sleeve hems: proof I actually use the dewing machine.

First fitting! The last project I made for Cory ended up 6” too short for his chest, so this time I measured the pattern against one of his t-shirts I have on my repair pile to make sure it was long enough. It was too long. I had to take 3” off the bottom. Looks great though!

Forgot to take pictures for a while so threw this one in. I trimmed 3” off the bottom, keeping enough to do the hem, and hemmed the bottom the same way I hemmed the sleeves. This is freshly ironed.


Prepping for the button holes: I’m never sure what side of the material all the markings on the pattern are supposed to be drawn on. There’s no help in the instructions either; so all my button-hole markings ended up on the inside of the facing. This is not the first time this has happened. So I grab the pattern again. This one has the seam allowances marked, so it was really easy to line it up and draw the marks again.

Had to show the funky foot for sewing button holes. I don’t exactly have a new sewing machine, but they have gotten much easier!

Cutting the button holes: yes I know I’m supposed to have a proper cutter for this, but I haven’t been able to find one. May have to try a hardware store… And before my family panics that I am cutting on the antique table: see that black mat underneath? That’s a self-healing mat especially designed for cutting on. The table is safe. I don’t want to damage my cardboard mat either, those scissors are sharp!

My absolutely favorite new tool: a tailor’s chalk holder. Almost like the ones teachers use, but the sticks are smaller and it’s a comfy plastic. I love this thing!

Time for buttons! The store had a sale on boxes of buttons, and though they always have a sale on regular buttons (come in twos, threes, or fours stapled to a piece of paper), this was a MUCH better deal.

Buttons being sewed on: no way to avoid this hand sewing. Every time I do buttons I always think of the pirate costume with its 60 buttons.

Finished!! I love how it looks!

Now that the first shirt is done, the rest will be much faster: I have to make 5 more. Also have a few extra steps I will have to add. Mostly zigzagging the edges of the material that end up in unfinished seams. I don’t want these things to fray and have to repair them all the time!

Total time spent: about 9 hours.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Battle of the Collar

No sewing time today, so no post for you tomorrow. I did get a few hours in last night though. Here’s what I accomplished:

Not quite finishing the collar yet, next step was putting the facing on the front. This is to give the buttons more to hold on to, and a nice smooth finish to the front of the shirt. Prep was getting the interfacing ironed on, then hemming the outside edge.

Next, actually sewing the facings on to the front of the shirt, on the inside. This view is inside out:

And turned the right way around, no sleeves yet but it starting to look like shirt!

The collar wasn’t fully on yet in the previous picture, here is the pining and the hand-sewing needle. To get the nice finished edge on inside seams that you don’t see usually requires hand-sewing. I am getting much faster and better at this. Yay me!


And this is the collar all sewed on: It looks so good!

Next are probably the sleeves, which can be done one of two usual ways: one easy, one not so easy. Easy is sewing the sleeves on around the shoulder, then sewing the side and under arm closed. Not so easy (and in some cases a complete pain) is to sew the side and under arm separately, then sew the sleeve on to the shirt. This can be really tricky to do in tight sleeves, but can give a really nice gather where needed. I’m expecting this to be the easy way. Answer in next post (probably).