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I got a request in the comments to show more from my grandmother’s Mexican cross stitch book.  Here is the cover:

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And a few more pages of designs:

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I am still sewing my husband’s shirts and learning a lot in the process.  I’ll have to see if I can get him to model the new ones soon.  In addition to that, I took my TNT cap sleeve T-shirt pattern and am using it to design some woven blouse patterns using some vintage patterns for ideas.  More on that later.

UFO Shirts

Once, years ago (at least 10) I was sewing some shirts for A.  I don’t remember what pattern I was using since I traced it off without putting the number on the pieces, but I still have all the traced pieces.  Time marched on and of the six shirts I cut out, I did sew some of them.  A liked one, but rejected two others since her taste in fabric changed.  Luckily, my sister is the same size so I passed on two finished shirts to her.  I recently pulled out the ziplock bag with three more cut-out shirts waiting patiently to be assembled inside and decided to finish them up.  I called my sister to see if the shirts I gave her years ago still fit, and they do, so I can go ahead and sew up the rest.  Here’s the first one:

DSC00571This is a classic style with collar and stand, curved hemline, and short sleeves.  I have several short lengths of fabric to use up, so maybe I should cut out more of these shirts since both A and my sister are a petite size so the shirt requires very little fabric.  Which means I will be replacing the UFO’s with more UFO’s to work on in the future.

This poor bag sat around unfinished for months and months because of the thickness of fabric layers where the straps are attached to the bag.  My machine wouldn’t handle it so it needed to be stitched by hand with a lot of strength and a hemostat to pull the needle through.  The fact that it is finished is the result of a really good Korean drama I was watching.  I needed something to work on while I was watching the episodes, so now I have a finished object.  In case you are interested, the drama was The Greatest Love (also titled Best Love).

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It’s hard to see on this print, but there is a pocket on the outer flap, pockets across the body front and back, and an adjustable strap.

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The bag is lined with hot pink sheeting and the pockets are trimmed with bias cut from the print.  It’s been so long since I made this that I can’t remember what kind of interfacing I used, but I think there is a combination of interfacing and batting.

Well, scratch another UFO off the list.  This week I have been altering patterns and cutting out a few tops from my enormous stash of royal blue knit.

Shirt Pocket Fun

I read somewhere about someone carefully matching the print when they applied the shirt pocket to the shirt front.  I decided to give it a try.  First, I marked the position of the pocket on the cut-out shirt front, then took it to a xerox machine and copied it.  Then I traced the pocket pattern onto the xerox copy of the printed shirt front.  I ended up with a pattern piece with the print on it which I could now place on the fabric matching up the print position and cut out a pocket.  Here’s the end result, which is cool but which was, I have to admit, a major hassle:

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I am using cotton-covered polyester thread to sew the shirts, and the buttonholes in this thread were not the best.  The stitching on the right-hand side of the buttonhole was a lot looser than the left side and sometimes the center space was way too small.

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When I looked at a commercially-made shirt, it looked like they were using a much thinner thread.  I decided to try some Maxi-Lock thread in both the bobbin and top threading but using the same needle and buttonhole foot.  Here’s the buttonhole produced:

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Much better!

Been sewing up a storm here.  Here are the first two husband shirts modeled by the man himself during the cool early morning hours (the thermometer said 110 yesterday afternoon).

DSC00550This is the Victoria Jones Hawaiian shirt 210 pattern.  This pattern has lots of great ready-to-wear features like the folded front bands and french seams.  The side vents are nicely drafted, too.  I changed the seam allowances on the collars and neckline and used the felled seam technique that I mentioned earlier (http://off-the-cuff-style.blogspot.com/2010/10/tutorial-felled-shoulder-seam-technique.html).  He really likes this shirt and has already worn it a lot.

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DSC00554This shirt, a Simplicity vintage pattern, is made from a length of Hawaiian cotton fabric I found at a local thrift store a few years ago.  I had barely enough for the shirt, but look how nicely the pattern accidentally matched across the front!  I felled the seams on the sleeves using the regular 5/8 seam allowances the pattern calls for which required a bit of hand basting, but I was pleased at how well it turned out.  These sleeves have a higher sleeve cap than more modern shirt patterns so I wasn’t sure it would work.  I grafted the side vents from the Victoria Jones pattern onto this pattern.

Here’s the vintage Simplicity pattern which will now be a TNT for the spouse’s more casual sport shirts:

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Here are the new fabrics we have for future shirts.  Two of them were Father’s Day gifts from A, and the other is the one I found.

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Shirt One

The first shirt seems to be a success.  I used a dark gray and white striped cotton shirting fabric from the deep deep stash. The spouse was pleased with it, and he wore it for our getaway to Reno this last weekend.  I thought lowering the neckline and adjusting the collar and stand would be a difficult alteration but it turned out to be easy.  All in all, the shirt fits really well, and he likes it.  Now I can start sewing the fun fabric.

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While in Reno we went to Mill End Fabrics which is a big warehouse full of sewing notions and fabrics.  My brain gets overwhelmed when presented with such a huge variety of selections, so I only got one piece of Hawaiian fabric for another shirt.  When we were in a different department store in town, I looked at the upscale shirts for men to see how they were put together.  The shirts looked nearly identical in construction and design to the pattern I used, but  I liked the nice neat buttonholes on those shirts so I think I will try using a thinner thread for my next buttonholes so they don’t look so hefty.   I’m going to try Maxi Lock thread on the next shirt’s buttonholes.

I tried the new-to-me method of sewing on the collar and stand (http://behindtheseams.wordpress.com/2006/05/24/collar-on-stand-part-1/) but I just couldn’t make it work for me and had to go back to my usual method which requires a lot of hand sewing.  I’ll have to try the new method again in a thinner fabric.  Thinking about the collar and stand made me remember some UFOs that are cut out and waiting to be sewn.  They are women’s shirts with short sleeves, so I found one and am now almost finished with the first one.  These shirts have a one-piece collar and stand combo.

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