I do like making shirts. I think I made my first proper shirt in late high school. It was striped cotton in soft pastel colours, chock full of mistakes and I found it a challenging project at the time. But I learnt lots and proceeded to make a lot more shirts. So, I've been making shirts intermittently for um, about 30years. Fack, I'm old. But I am also pretty good at making shirts :-) I now have a favourite pattern that was originally copied off a ready to wear(RTW) garment, but I have tweaked and fiddled with it so many times that it isn't the same at all anymore. I also have firm opinions on my preferred way of constructing every bit. Note that I don't claim any of this is the "right" way, just the way I like to do it.
On of the benefits of making one's own clothes is that one can customise them. So I can have a shirt that is slim fitting, but not tight. The body shaping is postioned correctly (RTW bust and waist shaping is never in the right place for me).The arms are long enough and are cut so moving is not restricted- one has options other than just holding one's arms by one's side. The buttons are positioned for minimising gappage on my figure. Length is enough to tuck in but not over long. Basically, the right shape for me. Nothing fancy, but comfortable and functional. One can of course fancy it up from here, which I do in fact plan to do, and have a bit on the white one here.
I've made these three to:
- fill wardrobe gaps
- make shirts :-)
- get back into dressmaking mode
- actually use some of the recently aquired fabric before it ages into "stash"
They were cut last Saturday morning, and finished yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. So three shirts took just over a week to make, while I had a cold and worked (mostly) fulltime.
The two coloured shirts are from Liberty Tana lawn aquired in my boxing day raid last year. The yellow piece was only 1.5meters and with two nasty rents in the fabric which constrained cutting. However Tana lawn is very wide, and I had some nice yellow scrap shirting* that worked for collar bands and under collar etc, so I had just enough. Tana is marvellous fabric to wear but not easy to work with. It is very fine and very tightly woven. One needs a very sharp fine needle and it's still a struggle to not have stitching gather up the fabric.
The white is the first garment from the warehouse linen haul of a few weeks ago. I'm keen to see how this wears and ages, and the best way to do that was to get a garment made in it!
The blue and white shirts came out pretty much as I intended. Not totally perfect but just fine. The poor yellow one however ended up with a whole list of errors. Part of the problem was that there isn't much difference between right and wrong side of the fabric, but that is also true of the white, so not a full explanation.
For my amusement, the poor yellow rosy shirt is afflicted with:
-Back piece is sewn wrong side out. This was done even with back darts in place that should have prevented this! I didn't find the problem until I went to do the hem, so rather than pull it out, I unpicked the back darts and resewed them the other way around.
-One sleeve was sewn on back to front. This was discovered when I went to put the cuff on, so to fix it properly, I'd have had to undo the whole shoulder seam and side seam, this is 4 runs of stitching, 2 of which are overlocking. Ack. What I did was similar to the back fix but more work and less invisible. You see the cuff vent was inside out and on the front of the sleeve instead of the back. So I pulled that off and patched the slit. Then made a new cuff vent in the right place. I hope to never have to build a cuff vent on an almost finished sleeve ever again.
-One cuff was sewn on inside out. Again the easiest fix meant ending up with the wrong side of the fabric out. Argh. this was getting ridiculous. I put even more effort in to preventing even more mistakes... but
-I somehow managed to stuff up the button spacing as well! Only one button and thankfully below bust level.
Poor yellow shirt.
Three friends have expressed interest in shirt making workshops. That might be a fun thing.
*from my very favourite shirt made and worn ~15yrs ago. It's actually yellow and white shot fabric so it shimmers slightly.