It's been a good week, as not only did I have the lovely visit from my dear nephew and niece (in-law) but I also finished and posted 4 shirts to my Darling Daughter.
DD is on an internship in London and, a couple of weeks ago, put out a call for some more cool cotton shirts. Now, shirts are not my favourite things to make, but I decided I was going to try and learn to love sewing them, in other words, make it FUN!
Hmmmm... How to go about this? Maybe I chose the wrong way, but I decided to make 4 in one go! I do often make 2 similar items at one time, especially if I can use the same colour thread in the overlocker and/or coverstitch. With hindsight, 4 was probably a bit of a stretch, as I had 3 colour changes.
If you've never made a ladies shirt before I can highly recommend the Vogue pattern number 8772. I usually make View D; a classic, long sleeved, collared shirt. It is heavily darted, so very easy to make adjustments to achieve a perfect fit. My daughter is very tall so I have added at least 2 inches to the length.
I set about cutting them out. I really don't like cutting out, so try to find something to put on the television (usually a re-run of Downton Abbey!) to make the time less 'intense'. I cut out all the pieces, transferred all the markings, cut and applied all the interfacing. A little aside here about interfacing - it is so worth buying a good quality one, I like the Vilene range, as it applies smoothly, and washes well, without the wrinkling that can occur with some others. Plus, a metre goes a long way! The pattern calls for sew in, which I have done in the past, but this time I used a lightweight fusible, which seems to be just as successful with cottons.
Above are all the fiddly bits laid out. If only my sewing room was as neat as this... (sigh)
Then, the construction could begin in earnest! Whatever I am making, I sew as many seams as I can, constructing sleeves at the same time as darts, and then take them all the ironing board for a mass press (more Downton Abbey!).
Just how many shirts can you wear at one time, Valerie?...
Time to make 52 buttonholes. A little tip here: I don't use the buttonhole guide that comes with the pattern, rather I put the shirt on and mark the full bust point, and that becomes the first buttonhole. That way you avoid the horrid gaping that so often comes with ready-to-wear. (In my daughter's case, I have this first buttonhole marked on the pattern). Then, just mark the positions of the buttonholes from that one point. I used a 3" spacing. Here a quilting ruler comes in really handy!
My machine is one of those where you pop the button in the back of the buttonhole foot and it sews a perfectly sized buttonhole automatically. It sews them 'backwards', so I start at the bottom of the shirt, with the hem nearest me, and work upwards. To save the foot snagging on the collar band on the top buttonhole of the main body of the shirt, I measure how long the buttonholes are, make another mark the same measurement from where the bottom of the buttonhole is, then spin the shirt around and sew that one with the collar nearest to me. A simple tweak, but saves a lot of frustration with a bunched up buttonhole!...
A quilting square makes it easy to mark perfectly aligned buttonholes on the cuffs...
After making 52 buttonholes, what's next?? Oh, yes, 52 buttons... I sewed them on using the button sewing facility on my machine, but then tied them off securely by hand afterwards, and applied the tiniest dab of Fray Check. Time for some more Downton Abbey...
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, all of sudden, they were finished!! I gave each a final press, wrapped them in tissue paper and packed them in a shallow box. Dashing to the Post Office, I arrived with 5 minutes to spare to catch the last post. I sent them Special Delivery, as I would dissolve in a puddle of tears if they got lost in the post!
They arrived the next day and I received a lovely string of texts, plus an excited phone call, from DD, telling me I had 'outdone myself'. What better reward is there than that? :)
Oh, before I go, I should show you the shirts!!
|Cotton gingham, with Egyptian Cotton collar and cuffs|
|Liberty Tana Lawn|
|100% traditional cotton shirting|
I think I shall make myself a simple pull-on knit dress now. Not a buttonhole in sight... ;)