Saturday, 30 July 2011

Finished! Yes really!

Yes, the last shirt is really done.

It didn’t start well: Monday night I cut the back out of purple instead of the front. I realized this at work the next day. So I started clean on Tuesday; Cory texted me that he needed the shirt done for pickup on Thursday to get the store logo put on. The race was on: in five hours, I got all the pieces cut out (this really eats up time), finished the collar and hemmed the facings:

Put the black button strips on,

Sewed the front to the back at the shoulder seams…

...and got the machine-stitched part of the collar done.

Wednesday, I began by sewing on the facings:

Hand stitching the collar closed (takes about an hour, I watched the Disney version of Robin Hood at the same time)

Sewed on the sleeves

Sewed closed the side seams and did all the hemming. This time I erred on the side of caution and took 3” off the bottom, making this shirt the same length as Cory’s. Then put in the button holes.

Added the buttons using the sewing machine and its fancy rubber foot, and it is done! I’m really happy with how the pocket turned out; it’s my best one yet!

All seven shirts were picked up on Thursday to get the Myth Games dragon logo sewn onto the front. I can't wait to see how they look! Hopefully I can get a group photo of everyone. One was already taken at the store's 4th anniversary party on July 16, but as one shirt wasn't done (he was swimming in one of Cory's), and they didn't have the logos yet, I want to wait and get a picture with all the shirts fully complete.

Next project: a costume!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Backpack Repairs

Almost done with the uniform shirts for Myth Games, and I have to take some time to repair Cory’s backpack for our D&D club’s annual camping trip. The repair really didn’t take much time: only 2 hours. The real hold up on the shirts was all the camping gear spread out all over my sewing area in the basement.

Let me just say right now that I really don’t like doing repairs. This is why there’s a chair next to my sewing desk piled full of clothes that need to be repaired. I feel the same way about alterations. If I can avoid them altogether, I would be happy.

The backpack: before. It’s a real mess. Several seams have pulled out so I have to completely replace the fabric.

The longest port of this project was taking out all the old stitching: took an hour, a full half the project’s time!

Zipper detached from the section that needs replacing:

Straps and hook piece detached:

Side trim, reinforcements and basting removed, exposing the foam padding. This thing was covered in basting: it’s a long pre-stitch that helps hold things in place while the finishing is done. It’s also used to do gathering and a bunch of other stuff.

With the strap seams removed, the pieces that needed to be replaced came off. They were in terrible condition.

Old pieces on the left, new pieces on the right: I didn’t have any matching fabric, so I used some strong black fabric that I had left over from another project.

All sewn on and reinforced: it’s a pretty obvious what’s been replaced,

but it works. I didn’t have any heavy thread to match what was used on the backpack. Over the weekend, we both heard stitches snapping, but that’s why I went over the final seam a few times. I will still need to pick up some heavy thread and go over it again, eventually.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Last One!

Finally on the last shirt; so I thought. Everything went wrong on this one. Obvious things that I should have noticed I didn’t see until it was too late and made a ton of extra work for myself.

This is another men’s shirt, so the same as the four I made for Cory, but in a smaller size. FYI: men’s store sizes still lie, but not to the extent that women’s do.

Front purple piece cut out:

Cutting out the black: and messed this up: should have arranged the pieces to get two of the front facing (skinny piece at the bottom) out of it. Also needed a second collar (the little one on the right).

All the pieces cut out. Should have noticed right from here I had the marking from the pocket on the wrong side.

Front replacement strip: pinned and ready to iron.

Pinning on the front: just to explain: I iron the seam allowance to make it much easier to figure out where I need to sew on the back piece, then line it up to the edge, mark the back side where the seam needs to be and pin it over that line. The ironed fold is the line I sew over.

Pocket going on the wrong side. Still didn’t notice.

I stabbed myself pretty good pinning on the collar. This is for everyone that said they couldn’t see my injury the last time. (Hint: it’s the red)

I actually pinned the collar on inside out, then flipped it over, pinned it on and proceeded to sew on all the layers. This is wrong. I was so mad at myself when I realized what I did. I had to take out the entire seam, separate the layers and re-pin. This is how the collar is supposed to go on: the bit folded up will be used to tuck the seam inside and hide the raw edge.

Pinning on the facing: I stabbed myself doing this too, but it didn’t bleed like the last one, so I couldn’t get a good picture.

All sewed on, trimmed and folded under. Finishing the collar:

Pinning on the sleeves:

Next I did the side seams then hemmed the sleeves. Then Cory came home and came downstairs and sat and chatted for a bit. I held up the shirt to show him how far I’d gotten, it was in this moment I realized the pocket was on the wrong side! After all the other stuff I messed up, I was not happy. It was also 10:30pm and I had to go to bed. Still have to work to pay bills! I seriously needed a break from sewing by this point too.

The next day, I came back to it, took the pocket off and moved it to the left side. Then I had to finish the bottom hem. I checked my length measurement for his employee that was supposed to receive this shirt (I think you know where this is going). I must have entered the number wrong, but I was sure that’s what it was supposed to be, because that’s what I had written down. So I cut the extra off the bottom: 3” off Cory’s shirts, 6” off this one. I had a bad feeling right away, but was trying to stay optimistic. He was working at the store at 5 the next day, so Cory took the shirt with him and when I got there just after 5, had him try it on. It was too short. ARRGG!!!

So as it turns out, this is not the last shirt. I have to make another to replace it. I’m keeping this one anyway, in case Cory ever hires someone really short.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Rinse & Repeat

The second women’s shirt went together quickly, though I still wasn’t able to avoid a mistake.

Cutting out the front in purple: used the tracing paper to make it much easier to cut out the curve, as I was cutting the smallest size on this pattern.

All the black pieces, minus the sleeve; I was able to get that out of a left over piece of material.

Ironing the black replacement strip for the buttons. It’s really wide for two reasons: 1. It includes self facing, so I can fold it up and not have to cut additional pieces like I do for the men’s shirts. 2. I measured wrong. It’s easy to see in the picture, the makings for the button holes should be in the middle between the white line and the edge, plus 1.5cm for the seam allowance. I didn’t see it.

Laying the black strip on the front. Still didn’t see the mistake.

One side pinned, one side sewed.

This is actually the replacement front, after I finished with the front facing and realized it was totally wrong and way too wide, which became obvious when I tried to fold over the self-facing and it didn’t line up with the seam. I had already trimmed the purple, so I had to re-cut the front piece and the black pieces and start over. I paid much more attention to where I was cutting this time.

Back all sewn together.

Putting on the collar and hand-sewing the seam allowance to the inside. No these aren’t upside down, this is the way the shirt sits on the table when I’m pinning and sewing it.

Finished collar:

Sewing on the sleeves: there’s a bit of gathering on the shoulder, so there are a lot of pins to keep everything in place.

In the process of hemming, I had to stop and clean out my bobbin casing (the under part of the sewing machine). I couldn’t figure out how to put it back together, so out came the manual. This cleaning is regular maintenance so there are instructions and diagrams. While flipping through the manual, I saw an entry on how to sew on buttons. I didn’t even know my machine could do this. I even had all the accessories I needed to do it. So I tried it:
Worked like a charm and saved me lots of time! I need to read more of this manual!

The completed size 16 shirt: Yes, that’s a size 16. The size you buy in the store is lying to you.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Wait, There's More!

Yes, three more shirts to be done for Myth Games. The previous four were all for Cory. Since he is there almost every day he needed lots of shirts. Now I have to make three more: one for each of his employees. These will all be different so I can do them each from start to finish. Up first: size 12 women’s shirt.

Pattern sheets & instructions:

All cut out: pity I do all that and only use about half the pieces. This pattern is the first I’ve seen do real custom sizing, including cup size. No more assuming every woman on the planet is a B. I really hope to see more patterns do this.

This is after replacing the section that will become the strip down the buttons with black. Took me a while to do because I couldn’t remember how I had done it for Cory’s shirts. The wide piece of black is because this shirt includes “self-facing.” Instead of having another piece to cut out and iron interfacing onto, this just folds up along the white lines. Much easier!

The collar: this is the first two-piece collar I’ve done. I was looking at the commercial shirts wondering how they did them. Now I know!

Attaching the side front to the front section. This took a lot of fiddling to make the material match up.

Now to do the same with the back pieces:

Front sewn to back at the shoulders. It’s one piece now!

Funny, this collar was much easier to attach then the men’s…

Time for sleeves: as on most women’s shirts, this does have some gathering, or “easing” as the pattern calls it, at the top of the shoulder. Looks pretty nice and adds a little more shoulder room.

Hemming the bottom:

Cutting the button holes: six buttons on this shirt.

All done! It took about the same amount of time as one of the men’s shirts: nine hours. This time it was all at once on Saturday and Sunday.

One more women’s shirt to go and a men’s.