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4/27/2008

She changed her mind!

Usually when I plan to sew in the evening and something interrupts me, I am one totally annoyed shirt-maker. But this time, the interruption was a pleasant one...and a timely one as it turned out.

The friend for whom I am making a blouse dropped by unexpectedly, made her way down to my studio, saw this fabric..and promptly changed her mind! We are still going to go with white collar and cuffs.....but this is the shirt fabric....the final choice...final...as in she doesn't get to change her mind again. {smile} I'm telling you..I was **this** close to cutting into the other fabric I posted a pic of yesterday !


To the best of my recollection,this Italian cotton shirting fabric was purchased from GORGEOUS FABRICS last year.

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4/26/2008

HotPatterns Plain and Simple Boxy Blouse, Let's Start!

As mentioned in a previous post, I am choosing to make the HotPatterns Boxy Blouse as the demonstration garment during my time as "Cheerleader" for the Yahoo Groups Creative Machine's "Shirt Challenge".

The fabric has been chosen...a fabulous shirting fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics (purchased quite a while ago). A navy, white, and peach stripe for the body and sleeves, with white collars and cuffs.



The fabric is pre-washed...all ready to go!

However after talking to the friend for whom I am making this shirt...she told me she would rather not have bust darts. That's just as well as I do not see her often enough to make dart fitting changes. So I turned the side bust dart into shoulder gathers with a very quick and easy method...a simple rotation of the side dart to the shoulder seam.

1. I traced a copy of the shirt-front.



2. Next, I marked a line from mid-shoulder to the dart tip.


3. The line was slashed to the tip of the dart.


4. Next the side bust dart was folded-out..."Auto-magically" transferring the fullness to the shoulder seam.


5. A scrap of paper was placed under the open shoulder wedge, and then the new shoulder-line was drawn.


6. The scrap paper was taped to the pattern, and the excess trimmed...to reveal the new shirt front. Now the pattern has gathers at the shoulder, rather than a bust dart.



Tonight I will cut out the pattern, and begin to sew!

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4/23/2008

Not A Pretty Picture...or Why Pre-washing Fabric is Important !

Oh Yes my friends, it's NOT a pretty picture...but this is the resulting wash water as it went down the drain... after putting some very nice fabric through a plain warm water (no detergent!) wash....YUCK!

From my experience in the fabric business, visiting mills and converters, I think there are at least 3 reasons why pre-washing fabric is necessary.

1. To remove the sizing, excess dye, etc.

2. Fabric Mills and most warehouses can be dirty places. So Wash that fabric...you don't where it's been!

3. When fabric is milled/manufactured it is pulled and stretched a few times before it ends up on the selling floor of fabric stores. This pulling and stretching is a consequence of getting it into sale-able form for the home sewing consumer:

First, it is loomed, then it is rolled under tension onto tubes, then people called "converters" use "double and rolling" machines to fold the fabric and roll it onto bolt boards. During these processes, the fabric is rolled under considerable tension to make the rolls (and then the bolts), as tight as possible......to make them as compact as possible for ease of shipping and other reasons.

So, often it is necessary to wash fabrics before sewing just to relax them (not to mention that dirt and sizing)....*sometimes* that is why they "shrink"...they are merely relaxing back to their original loomed proportions.

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4/20/2008

Flying in The Face of Convention!




Who says Men's shirts have to be all buttoned-up with a collar on a stand? Not me!


I designed this casual shirt in 2003...and still continue to make it for clients today.....especially for my clients in very warm climates.


Made from a very lightweight hemp/linen blend, this shirt features modified double breasted styling, sleeves with a single pleat at the cap, and wood buttons.

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4/17/2008

Perfect Pockets Every Time!


In my search to streamline construction while maintaining the utmost quality of the shirts I design, I developed an easy way to ensure perfectly symmetrical pockets.

First, change your pocket pattern by reducing the side and bottom seam allowances to no more than 3/8".

To help with accuracy while cutting, place your fabric on a stable padded surface, such as your ironing board. Stab-pin the pattern through the fabric and into the padded surface, as shown below. By pinning in this manner the fabric will not shift as the pocket is cut.







With Wrong side UP, press the seam allowances of ONE side and ONE angle edge, as shown below. You now have half of the pocket seam allowances pressed to the wrong side. Normally we would continue to press all the seam allowances to the wrong side, but by doing that we often end up with a pocket with odd angles and unequal side edges.





Fold the pocket in half RIGHT sides together at the point, matching the top edges as shown below.






Next, press the remaining seam allowances TO MATCH THE PREVIOUSLY PRESSED (folded) EDGES. Don't worry if the seam allowances vary in width. The goal is to have a finished pocket with its edges even...NOT the seam allowances!






Now we need to address the pocket's top (hem) edge. Before folding and pressing it into position, slide the top edges of the seam allowances IN a scant 1/8" as shown below. By doing this, bulk is reduced when stitching the pocket to the garment.







Finish the top edge of the pocket hem as desired. Fold down to the wrong side and press.


Place the pocket right side up and press. The corners and point will miter "auto-magically".
The finished pocket will have sharp point, perfect angles, and all edges will be even!

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4/14/2008

Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Blouse

This is the fabulous Hot Patterns shirt/blouse pattern that I will be making to demonstrate various shirt sewing techniques during my week hosting the CREATIVE MACHINE at Yahoo, and continuing throughout the duration of the Shirt-Challenge.


An easy-to-wear modern classic with a retro twist, this sharp Blouse is perfect for any crisp blouse-weight fabric, especially menswear-style cotton or silk shirting fabrics.
Boxy-fit Blouse has a classic 2-piece collar with stand , yoke and bust darts. Blouse features 3/4 length sleeves gathered onto a slim cuff and side slits at the hem.
Try this crisp but feminine Blouse under a sharp business suit for the office, or wear it with your favorite jeans or chinos and a cozy cardigan on the weekend.



I have made this pattern before and absolutely LOVE it!

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