Archive for September, 2015

This fabric is the same fabric used to make A’s work shirt, and there is still enough left to make a top for M.  The pattern for this shirt started out as the basic darted shirt that was used for the pink blouse:

DSC01569Basic blouse drafted using Sure-fit Designs

I made the following changes to the pattern:  added a yoke in back that extends over the shoulder to the front, added a back pleat, added pockets over the darts.  Here’s what the shirt would look like:

DSC01571I wore this completed shirt for the first time today and it is really comfortable.


DSC01591The bottom edge is slightly curved instead of having side vents.  Taking a picture from this angle makes the shirt look lots wider than it really is.

DSC01595The pocket is applied over the end of the dart.  I managed this by using a curved pressing ham under the shirt and pinning the pocket down carefully over the curve.  Tricky, but doable.

DSC01596The original collar stand was too tall for me so I narrowed it a bit.

DSC01597This is the back yoke that extends over the shoulder to the front.

This is a very nice casual shirt that is not very fitted but suitable for activities that require movement, like driving.  Right now it looks a little boxy at the bottom edge, so in future versions I will take in the sides about 1/2 inch at the bottom edge and taper the new seamline up to the armhole.

Shirt No. 7 is already cut out and waiting by the sewing machine.

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This blouse version fits pretty well except that I once again forgot to trim the neckline to 1/4 inch for the collar application.  After that fiasco I made a new pattern piece with a 1/4 inch seam allowance instead of relying on my memory to trim the 5/8 allowance down to 1/4 inch.  Because there is no way I am going to rip out a collar and stand after it is all topstitched, I will just live with this.  It is not too noticeable anyway.  Madam Merp the duct-tape double (of someone else) fits into these shirts sort of, but they really look much better on me.


This fabric is thicker than the usual cotton and is some sort of blend.  Not sure if it was a remnant or if it is a leftover piece from dresses I made for my daughter and her cousin for my sister-in-law’s wedding about 20 years ago.  It is really nice fabric so I felt good about using it for something I will enjoy wearing.

DSC01556In the works is Shirt No. 6, which has a back yoke that continues over the shoulder onto the front a little bit, a pleat in the back, and a collar and stand with a narrower stand.  All this pattern drafting is fun and wanting to see how the pattern will work out jump starts the sewing mojo.

Shirt No.2, the rust-colored cotton with princess seams, was finished and looked fine on the hanger but for some reason didn’t look especially good on me.  My sister came to visit and I had her try it on.  She has nice broad shoulders that make the clothes she wears look good, and the shirt was no exception so it went home with her.

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DSC01550I think this one looks like some kind of chef’s coat, but it is comfortable.  The buttons aren’t really white but are light aqua and came from a trip to the Gunne Sax outlet in San Francisco many many years ago.  I have a big bag of those buttons and have used them on two garments this year, so being a sewing hoarder does pay off in the end.  I’m going to wear this wearable muslin for morning walks.  This fabric may be stretchy, but it certainly is easy to wrinkle.  Look how crushed the portion below the pockets got just during the time I was putting it on Madam Merp.  Oh well, I only paid $1 a pound for it.  My thoughts on this version were that the neckline is still too high for me (I have since lowered it by 2 inches for the pink shirt), the back is too narrow (also since altered), and this sleeve with an elbow dart is not my favorite since it is too wide and the dart is annoying to wear.

The sewing on the pink shirt is done, all that is left to do is to sew on the buttons.  Right now it is hanging out in the heat of the day to dry it off from all the water I used to remove the water soluble marker on the buttonholes.

Now it is time to cut out Shirt No. 5.  This time I am going to try out a 3/4-sleeve blouse with princess seams and maybe a back yoke.

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Still making shirt after shirt to refine the pattern.  Shirt No. 3 is a jacket in a slightly stretchy pin stripe cotton, but it is in the wash right now so it will have to wait for its photo session.  It was hard to tell what was wrong with that version because of the stretch, but I think it will be very wearable for morning walks.  More on that shirt later.

I wanted a little more ease in the front, so this short-sleeved shirt was to test out that change.  Unfortunately, the shirt seems to fit very well only if I keep my arms down at my sides.  The back obviously needs more room because the sleeves bind at the biceps when I reach forward and the fabric strains across the shoulder blades.  This cotton isn’t very stretchy at all so all the deficiencies of fit are noticeable.  I recalled that when my daughter was taking my measurements, I was standing up very straight, so perhaps the back width measurements were too small.  My back is rather curved so we took the next batch of measurements with me standing in a more realistic manner. Even more patterns were prepared, and I am now working on a pink 3/4-sleeve blouse.  This new pink blouse had its first try-on yesterday, and at last I am on the right track.  It looks good and lo, I can move my arms.  I used the revised pattern to draft a princess-seam version and a shirtwaist version with a yoke and pleat in the back.

My daughter told me that this shirt reminds her of the show, Dexter, which, when I stopped laughing, made me think of the print in a different and not floral way.



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