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12/16/2012

I've been sewing for myself!


It is that time of year when client shirt orders have been stitched and sent...and I have time to indulge by sewing some new things for myself.  After a significant weight loss over the past several months, I still have some pattern-tweaking to do, but I am so happy that I've managed to sew several very wearable casual tops for myself, including this one!

Most are quite simple and not "blog-worthy", but I thought you might like to see this one. I started with a basic jewel neck pull-over, and added a self-drafted "Split Cowl Collar".  The fabric is an ancient piece from my stash...a soft stretchy knit with a suede-like nap.  I am not quite down to my normal (goal) weight, so the drag-lines you see come from my attempts to make a larger top look a little better on a smaller form.

Here is a close-up of the Collar. If you would like me to write a Tutorial and show how to make and apply a Split Cowl Collar to any basic pull-over knit top, let me know in "comments"...because I plan to make at least one more of this style and can take photos along the way if there is enough interest.





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12/05/2012

A Near Miss...


This is a pretty darn good "final muslin" of a nicely detailed shirt...or so I thought.


I was very pleased with the bias details on the right side Front, Cuffs, and Sleeve Plackets. But more than that....this new pattern draft for my DH Roger fit him perfectly, and he really liked the design details!  In fact, even though this shirt was the "final muslin", and only made with serged-then-topstitched  seams...it looks good enough to actually wear, don't you think? [that funky bit at the left shoulder is just from not pinning it perfectly to my photo-wall]  And even more than that...this fabric was a bargain, and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived to see that it didn't look or feel "cheap".

So, OK then...after I tossed this one into the wash to rinse out the starch I used to stabilize some of the bias details, I was ready to move on to another shirt for Roger, made from the same checked fabric in a different color. 

 I was just finishing the prep work on the final pattern for the second shirt when this blue one was ready to come out of the dryer. I handed it to Roger and he put it on, or rather he tried to put it on.  Despite pre-washing/drying the fabric...this nice blue shirt shrank! Not a little bit...the sleeves and body were 1/2" too short. No big deal on the body-length, very big deal with the sleeves. And it shrank a bit width-wise too.

OMG!  How the hell did this happen!

I may have mentioned this before. I am a compulsive pre-washer...I always, I mean always wash shirting fabric once in hot water/hot dryer, then again in warm water/warm dryer. And I measure the length and width before and after. This fabric passed my obsessive pre-wash evaluation with just a tiny bit of shrinkage. Nothing shrank during the construction, and I always press with plenty of steam. So this extra shrinkage surprise really was a surprise!

The thing is, Roger really likes this checked fabric in the other color. So against my better judgement, I am going to make another shirt for him with this fabric. But this time in addition to my usual pre-wash routine,  I am going to use my hottest wash and dry cycles one extra time, and then for good measure (ha, ha), I'll wet the yardage, spin out the excess water, and dry it on hot one more time. Not (usually) being a foolish woman, I did wash/dry the now-shrunken blue shirt you see here to see if it would shrink again. It didn't.  So I feel only a little anxiety about the other fabric.

What am I going to do with this blue shirt?  I considered pinning it on my wall as a reminder to never again buy cheap shirting fabric from that really huge online fabric store...no matter how nice it looks. But in the end I donated it...it's a nice enough shirt, someone will get use of it.

What did I learn?   To wait until my always reliable online fabric store and wholesale sources of "better" shirt fabrics have what I am looking for, and until then to shop from my considerable stash.

What are those reliable sources for menswear shirting that I use, you ask?
Retail- www.GorgeousFabrics.com
Wholesale- my little secret :)

And one more thing. Before another menswear shirt gets sewn by my hands.....my hands are going to get busy making a few tops and a few pairs of pants for myself. Yay me!      


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