Archive for the ‘Sewing For A’ Category

Red Shirt

For some reason, probably the slippery easy-to-fray fabric, this project just took forever.  I couldn’t start any other projects until I finished this one or it would never get done, so it just lingered around for a long long time.  However, this week I decided to clear my path for other, more-fun sewing, so I tried to work on it every day.  Finally I remembered that I would be seeing my daughter on Saturday when we would go to a family event (my nephew’s wife graduated from nursing school!) so I made the effort and finished sewing on the last button Friday night.

Since we were down in Monterey when I gave A the shirt, she said she would send me a picture of her wearing it.  We have a rule:  if I sew something for you, there is an obligatory try on of the garment.  Here is her selfie:

It doesn’t look too bad after being squished in a ziplock bag all day.  Her mirror is one of a set of curvy, wavy mirrors.

Now I am free to start another project.  I usually hem a tablecloth for a palate cleanser, so that’s what I’ll do.  I have some nice blue and white decorator fabric I got at the craft thrift store that will do nicely.


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Getting down to the home stretch with this work shirt for A.  We’ll skip quickly over the part where I forgot to trim the neck seamline down to 1/4 inch to match the collar I was using, but that I remembered before I did the topstitching.  I was able to rip that collar off, trim the neckline, and put the collar back on.  Didn’t take as long as I expected.

This is the same shirt pattern we worked so hard to fit to A last year, but that pattern has a lot of darts, and sewing darts is not my favorite thing.  I changed it to a shoulder princess incorporating the closer-fitting darts.  If it meets with A’s approval, I can really crank these shirts out, mojo permitting.  It is fun to use a contrast but coordinating lining for the collar, stand, and cuffs.

The weather here has been rainy (hooray!) but is very cold this week.  The violets are blooming in the front yard but I haven’t seen any almond trees in bloom yet.  Some years they bloom in late January, but not this year.DSC01849

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Interfacing Day

There are three or four cut-out shirts in their ziplock bags that need interfacing to be applied to collars, facings, and cuffs.  To try something new, I set up a table in the living room, made an ironing surface (cardboard cutting board, towels and an old tablecloth) and got busy pressing multiple pieces at once onto the sticky side of the interfacing.  I use the iron tip to tack the garment piece onto the interfacing, then cut it out, then press it according to the interfacing instructions.

DSC01852After everything is nice and dry, the pieces for each new project go back into the ziplock to wait for the day it stops being a UFO and becomes a shirt.  I find that I am more likely to sew up a project if the interfacing has been done and I can just sit down and sew.  The gray fabric is a new shirt for A and it is going to have contrast cuff and collar lining.  The gray has pinky/purple undertones, so I found a scrap of fabric that coordinates with it.  It made me think of all the small lengths of cute fabric I have that are too small for a top but could be useful as interesting collar and cuff linings.

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Blue Shirt

The first new work shirt for A is done.  She was home for the 4th of July holiday so we used the opportunity to fit the pattern to her liking.  She wanted the front of the shirt to be more fitted and shapely but also wanted the back to have enough room for the reaching she needs to do in her job as a scientist.  She also thought there was too much fabric in the sleeve caps, so I tried a new technique I had just read about to reduce the sleeve cap ease:

I reduced the ease to somewhere between 3/4″ and 1″ total and it worked fine.  The sleeve was easier to sew and obviously fits the armhole better.


DSC01334 The original pattern did not have a collar with a stand, so I used the pattern that came with my Sure Fit Design kit.  I liked the collar pattern very much since the collar seems to be just the right size for the look I wanted.

DSC01327I still have to raise the side dart about 1/2″,  but that will be for the next shirt.  For a muslin, this is very wearable, and I hope that the general public does not go around looking at people’s bust darts.

Now I am working on a chambray work shirt for me to test out my Sure Fit Designs drafted bodice.  It will be interesting seeing all those measurements I took put to use.

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Shirt Archeology

Various ziplock bags with shirt pieces are starting to stack up around the sewing area.  My daughter, A, wanted some more work shirts, but it has been a long time since I made one. There is a TNT pattern for her in the pattern drawer, but since I was trying all sorts of things with the pattern, I didn’t remember which version was used for her favorite shirt.  I had made it into a princess-seam style with the princess seam coming from the armhole, then changed the princess seam line to the shoulder.  A says that the shoulder version came out too big which is puzzling since it is just the original well-fitting version with the darts moved around, but I cut out another one and will fit it on her when she visits next. The princess seams are much easier and faster to sew than all those darts in the original pattern.  In the meantime, I still couldn’t tell from all the assorted pattern pieces what version was used for the pink-striped shirt that is her favorite.  I ended up wasting a lot of time looking through various pattern envelopes and trying to remember what the pink shirt looked like. This is where the blog comes in handy because otherwise, would I have taken a picture of it?  After hunting up the picture, I can see that the shirt has the original darts:



IMG_6391 I used the faced vent on the sleeve and now I can tell whether it was turned to the front or back.  I still think that the collar for this pattern looks too large for the shirt, so I am changing a few things (again).  This time the shirt will have the folded front band I like so much combined with a collar and stand. This does away with the facing.  My SureFit Designs birthday present came with a sheet of collar options, and it was really handy to use those instead of hunting through all my patterns and folding miles of pattern tissue.

Next up is the interfacing application and then it is time to start sewing.

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In the olden days, clothes were not disposable.  Items made from fabric were precious because of the work it took to make the fabric in the first place.  Lots of old lists of household property (for wills, etc.) include every garment, sheet, towel, and other fabric items in the entire house.  In those days, mending was a real, useful, and necessary skill.  There are whole chapters on different kinds of mending in my old sewing books.  Here is a lovely patch from a 1916 book:

These are done with tiny hand stitches, but we have wonderful modern sewing machines and could easily do the same much faster.

I have two hemming chores to do this week:  finishing up the denim A-line skirt for A, and hemming up some pants for M.

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Skirts are really fast to sew.  This denim skirt with six gores was easy to cut out and easy to sew.  I’ve already made this pattern for A one or two times, so the fit issues have been worked out, and it is now a TNT pattern for her.  There were 2 1/2 yards of the denim, and it yielded two of these Simplicity 2655 skirts and one A-line skirt.

The denim is very dark and is hard to photograph but here’s an early morning view of the finished skirt:

The hem is wider than an A-line skirt which makes it feminine and comfortable to wear in the summertime.  Below you can see the topstitched yoke and the button tab I put on most skirts.  

This skirt has a side zipper.  I usually put a lapped zipper on side seams and a centered zipper on center back seams.  Instead of sewing two identical skirts one after the other, I decided to sew the A-line version next.  In the photo below, I am  pinning on the top facing.  This pattern, McCall’s 3341, I have also sewn before.  I like the way it has easing stitches between the notches that fit the skirt onto the facing, giving the skirt a nice shape.

In the garden, my zinnias are blooming.  Here’s a nice bright one:

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This morning I cut out the denim skirts for A.  Denim certainly has gotten expensive, at least at JoAnn.  Luckily, I had a 40%off coupon.  I was disappointed in the fabric, though, when I started cutting out the skirts.  The grain was totally crooked, so I just did the best I could by trying to pull the fabric to straighten the grain and then putting the grain marker on the pattern on the straight of grain.  I  left the crosswise grain to its own devices.  The skirt has lots of seaming so I am hoping that will hold everything in line.

Here’s the pattern:

We are using View E which does not have the ruffle.

The lining for the yokes will be some navy broadcloth.  These skirts should be very useful since denim goes with everything.  To make them more versatile, the topstitching will be navy instead of the usual white or gold.

I still have lots of the denim left, so I may make another skirt or make some summer shorts for myself.

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Trying to decide on the next project.  While I wonder what to sew next, I may as well go down to JoAnn’s this week and see what McCall’s patterns are on sale, and see if there is any gauzy fabric to be had.  In the meantime, the garden is doing very well so far:

This little spot is in front of my herb garden.  Some volunteer statice and some white yarrow have flowered together.  I don’t remember what those purple flowers are.

Here are the two front vegetable patches.  We are harvesting summer squash, basil, onions, and cucumbers so far.  I love the way this photo makes the backyard look so much more groomed and neat than it does in real life.

My zinnias are finally blooming enthusiastically:

I was talking with my daughter, A, and we were planning out future sewing for her wardrobe.  She could use some dark denim skirts because denim is always a useful addition to the closet, but I need to find some soft drapey denim fabric.  The only denim I have in the stash is more of an upholstery weight and can almost stand up by itself.

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Even though the girl at the sewing machine repair place said it would be 3 to 4 weeks before my machine would be looked at, fixer man #2 came in over the weekend and completed it only 6 days after I dropped it off.  I decided that I’d better hurry up and finish the robots while the warranty was still in effect, so I spent hours and hours stitching on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, I did something like bumping the hoop on the first robot, so the eyes stitched out on its forehead.  I realized that I was going to have to rip out the large area of dense embroidery and start over because everything was out of alignment.  It took a few hours, but I did it.  I was worried about ruining the curtains and was really nervous when it came time to stitch the robot over again.  Was something wrong with the machine or was it operator error?  The area where the robot had been was looking worse for wear, but somehow the new robot stitched perfectly right in the same place and covered up all the weakened fabric.  It was a robot miracle.  I hemmed the curtains last night and now am finished with that long project.

I’ll try to get a picture of them after she hangs them up in her kitchen.

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