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More sneaky Sewing...

Yes, yes...I know...I should be doing so many other things (like Japanese shirt sewing) !   But this morning I just felt like sewing something very fun, very quick, and very easy  :)

This is the "Dots T-shirt" from the new 06/09 Ottobre Design issue, style #29. This one was made from a soft medium weight cotton/lycra knit for my 10-yr old niece, Willow.

Of course, I can never just leave a pattern be without adding or changing something...so...
In order to get as much gathering in the center panel as I wanted, I added an inch to the length of the panel as I was cutting it out. Willow has long arms, but the sleeves on this pattern are very, very long...meant to be worn over the hand. After the shirt was sewn, I realized that Willow, as neat as she is...is still a child :)  So to bring the sleeves up I stitched clear elastic onto the seam allowances stretching it slightly as I sewed.  To finish the neckline, I sewed a folded band to the neck, then stitched the edge for a loose ruffled look.  The hems were also zig-zag stitched, letting the pressure of the foot create soft rippled edges.

I can already envision other ways to make this top...different fabrics...perhaps a woven fabric for the shirred panel, perhaps a sheer knit or lace. Oh I have so many ideas...if only I had as much time !

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Honored to have authored the ASG Magazine Cover Article

I was honored to be asked to write the cover article for the Fall 2009 edition of the American Sewing Guild's Magazine. 

Titled "Shirt Chic", the article includes my take on Choosing Fabrics, Fine-Tuning Construction, and Adding Designer Details.  
I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing 
it for you !


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Japanese Shirt Pattern Journey...Fabric and Pattern Choices

Well...so far, so slow.   The good news is that a shirt pattern is a shirt pattern is a shirt pattern.  What I mean is that I am very familiar with shirt pattern "parts"...there isn't much I haven't seen after sewing hundreds of shirts I've either drafted from scratch or used patterns to make.  

The slow part is familiarizing myself with the methodology of this Japanese Shirtmaking book with no English translation. Specifically,  how these pattern pieces are drafted and how the seam allowance margins are allocated.  Because not all the seam allowances are the same width. This is a very good thing, and a sign of sophisticated drafting.  It saves time to have all the pieces fit together and not need trimming after the seams are sewn...it also saves fabric, always a good thing.  On the other hand, these patterns allocate allowances a bit differently than I do when I hand-draft a pattern. And since I want to give a fair review of these patterns, I'll cut the pieces their way...I am always open and eager to learn something new. So, This weekend I hope to get the pattern pieces traced and walked...but only after I've given my studio a good tidying up. 

For the first shirt using these patterns, I've chosen a fabric of good but not great quality. One that is good enough to get accurate results (no stretching or shrinking), but one that if it becomes a "give-away", I won't have regrets.   I try very hard to avoid "sewing regrets"  :) 


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Exploring a Japanese ShirtMaking Book

 I've had this book for several months, and finally have the time to fully explore it and make a shirt from one of the many patterns that are included as separate traceable sheets.  Since I am not yet familiar with the fit of these patterns, my DH Roger will be my victim "fit model".   Of course, after I finish the shirt you will see it here along with a full review of this book.
I may decide to do a step-by step series of blog posts, or at least a few posts about the making of the shirt during the construction process....so stay tuned.
In the meantime, here is the book description from the seller, an Ebay Merchant I recommend,
Paperback: 79 pages
Publisher: Bunka Shuppan Kyoku (August 2006)
Language: Japanese
Book Weight: 425 Grams
19 Full-Scaled Patterns of Men's Shirts for 4 Sizes.

  • The book introduces 19 styles of variety kinds of men's shirts

  • Total: 19 Full-Scaled Patterns of Men's Shirts for 4 Sizes.Paperback: 79 pages
    Size Reference:
    The book come with the full-scaled patterns for 4 Sizes: 
    SMALL (Nude): Chest 90 cm, Waist 78cm, Height 155-165 CM.
    MEDIUM (Nude):
    Chest 92 cm, Waist 80cm, Height 165-175 CM.
    LARGE (Nude): Chest 94 cm, Waist 84cm, Height 175-185 CM.
    EXTRA LARGE (Nude): Chest 98 cm, Waist 86cm, Height 185-195 CM.

    This book certainly seems to have it all, including several collar and cuff styles..and a whole lot more!  Here are a couple of pics of the inside pages....

    ~ Click photos to enlarge, then click browser "back" button to return to this page ~


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    The Denim Shirt....Complete !

    Mens Denim Shirt_blog
    Finally....my client's shirt is complete 
    and winging its way to him by Priority Mail !

    I'd like to mention a few things about some of the details of this shirt.  In previous posts, I was undecided about how to best use the contrast side of the denim. As you can see, I ended up using the contrast for both of the front button plackets, the top of the pocket and  both sides of the collar stand (band). I decided to add a contrast detail to the sleeve, but I wanted it to be very subtle. So I made a 2-piece sleeve placket and used the contrast side of the fabric for the under-lap. You can see it peeking out of the unbuttoned cuff in this photo I hastily snapped just before the shirt was packed and sent on its way.  Oh...one more thing...if you notice that one sleeve appears longer than the other, it is because it was pulled forward for the photo.
    Sewing Notes: Shirt is interfaced with Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing from ~Fashion Sewing Supply~. Fabric is from my shirt-making stash. Tan "faux-marble" buttons from the "light button" assortment at ~Fashion Sewing Supply~

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    A Special Shirt Collar...and its Pattern

    Many of my clients remark that the collars of the shirts I design are very comfortable and that they don't have to fuss with them. That's because I specifically design shirt collars to follow the natural curves of the neck and shoulder.

    Take a close look at the collar on the denim shirt I am currently making, shown below.  Most (if not all) commercial shirt patterns have collars with top edges that are just straight across or that have one long slight curve.  However, as you can see...I have drafted my collar pattern with curves that follow the natural shape of the body.  SEWING NOTE-This collar has been interfaced with Pro-Weft Fusible Interfacing from ~Fashion Sewing Supply~.

    Here is the pattern draft, first shown as a half-pattern, 
    then again below as the full draft.

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    Note that the bottom edge of each pattern shown is the neck edge, and that the pattern has been drafted with 3/8" seam allowances. It has been placed on a 1-inch square grid so that you can see the scale.  You are welcome to copy the pattern...however if you use my draft and post a photo of a shirt made with it, please link back to this post, and/or reference it. Thank-you...and I hope that you enjoy using this draft !

    I've been asked about the collar stand (band) pattern that I usually use with the collar draft I showed above. Almost any stand can be used with this collar, as long as you draft the collar wide enough to cover the width of the stand (band).
    So, here it is...you will notice it is fairly standard. 
    It really is the refined shape of the collar (shown above) that allows it to fall so elegantly.
    ~ Click on photos to enlarge, click browser "Back" button to return to this page ~

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