Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Some new firsts!

This must be my most proudest make so far. I know I haven't made a lot so far, but I haven't even been sewing a year yet, so all of my makes are huge accomplishments for me! However, this one I really feel is the biggest.

I've had this pattern in my stash for some time now. I take it out, have a peek and put it back, constantly thinking 'no I'm not ready for that yet'. But this time I threw caution to the wind and just did it! It's a shirt pattern, a proper, formal, suited and booted shirt. Simplicity 1538.

So this is my first shirt. I decided to pick option D, it's formal, but with its' contrasting cuff lining and neck inner it has a little playfulness in it.

I also decided to give tracing paper a go for tracing the pattern. I bought a roll of it cheap on Amazon and as I was tracing away I was thinking to myself that I couldn't believe that I hadn't already tried it previously. It sat still and in place for the whole time that I was tracing. It didn't need ironing and even the faintest of patterns could be seen through it. However, it's a bit too thick and strong. Pins needed a little persuasion to go through it and I can't say for sure, but it may have blunted them a little.

The fabric that I used for the shirt I bought from Minerva before Christmas, exactly with this pattern in mind. It's little blue flowers and the contrast fabric is a lovely blue stripe. I have plans to make this shirt with the contrasting fabric the other way round. I did intend to make this shirt with the blue stripey fabric and have the flowers on the inside as contrast, but I think the day that I cut the fabric I was feeling rather whimsical and decided that as I was braving a proper shirt pattern that I might as well go whole hog and use some crazy flower fabric for it too.

I followed the pattern instructions pretty much all the way through. Even when I thought I knew better I still stuck to them. I didn't want to make any silly mistakes. I wouldn't normally have attached the sleeves as it instructed on the pattern. It instructs you to stitch 2 lines of wide stitch length between the dots and then to tighten them until it fits between the two dots between the yoke and front panel, then to even out. Normally, I would pin the arm on at the shoulder, matching dots, then at the top where you have the ease, I would have evenly eased it in, basting with pins. Then I would have hand basted, before machine stitching in place. The way that the pattern instructs you to do it is quicker, but I don't feel like the results are as good. It looks acceptable, I'm probably just being picky!

The trickiest part of the construction was definitely the collar. However, I thought that may be the case before I started. It's very fiddly and I spent a lot of time pinning, re-pinning and making sure that it was even both sides before I committed to stitching it in place. I've found that top stitching close to edges is my least favourite thing to do, I guess with practice I'll get better at it and I'll learn to enjoy it more.

The pattern also instructs you to gather the back piece between the dots before attaching to the yoke, I did not follow this and opted to do my own thing and so I inserted a box pleat. Unfortunately, in the picture below, my pony tail is hiding that detail!

I used some buttons that I would normally associate with children's clothes, but they are so pretty and sweet that I really wanted to use them on this shirt. They're quite subtle, but when you get close up it's a lovely detail.
Button on the cuff
I wore my new shirt to work on Monday and it fit so well. I did measure and make changes to the pattern, grading between 10 - 12 from the shoulders to the waist, then back to a 10 for the hips/seat. I have quite an active job, I'm often bending and stretching and not once did the shirt feel too tight, I felt like I had just enough ease to do my day job in it. Strictly speaking I should probably wear Dickies and steel toe caps to work, but since a lot of work is done remotely now, I spend most of my days at my desk. 

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