The Expensive Shirt Saga

This has been my FIRST excursion into clothes making.  This is a lengthy saga so please read all of it!

Back in the summer (around June) I went to a local knitting afternoon ‘fete’ with a couple of friends.  There were a few stall including a lady advertising her small sewing classes.  I had been toying with attempting to make a shirt and I got really excited about these weekly classes and decided to join.  One of the stalls had really nice buttons so I bought buttons for the shirt, then we visited a local fabric shop to get a pattern and the material.  All seemed well!!.  I started the classes and the tutor explained reading a pattern and agreed to me making a sample (toile) which I started.  I think there were 5 weeks before the summer school holidays when classes stopped.  By the last week the sample was almost finished – having had to adjust the front band so the shirt wasn’t so tight across my body.  I sewed the sleeves in on the last day and tried it on -DISASTER – the sleeves pulled under the arms.  In the last 15 minutes the tutor suggested changing the shape of the sleeve top and drew a diagram.

I knew I couldn’t do this on my own so I hunted out another tutor with weekly classes, and started going on a Wednesday morning, which was convenient for me.  So I turned up with a non-fitting sample – I did feel for the tutor, but she wasn’t fazed and had some alternate suggestions.  First the back collar/yoke was undone and the mid back pleats re-distributed, and sew back together.  That didn’t help.  Then one sleeve was taken out and it’s gathers re-arranged – SEVERAL TIMES!.  Still pulled.  I think at this point (although it could have been elsewhere in the saga) the shoulders were taken up, which did help.  By now we were in about week 5 (I think!).  That sleeve felt alright, so I tried to replicate the changes in the other sleeve.  I think that went fairly smoothly and the sample was OK.

Hooray, I started on the actual material version.  Several weeks later I had the shirt almost finished with the sleeves in, and tried it on.  THE SLEEVES PULLED!! at the front underarm so one sleeve came out again and sewn back in a couple of times (I forget how many) with various versions of distributing the fullness.  Eventually having the fullness evenly distributed seemed to be ok.  On to sleeve 2; several attempts to stitch it back in neatly it was in.  Tried in on the second sleeve PULLED!!.  At this point I really wanted to give up.  The tutor took pity and re-stitched it in and it was OK!!!. That was at the end of October – which is month 5!!!.  I then had a week off for the house decorators.  On return the collar got put on under advice as I couldn’t make sense of the instructions (again).  This week should have been the buttonholes but I’d run out of the correct colour thread and it hadn’t arrived!.  Yesterday I did the buttonholes and today sewed on the button (using the machine which I’ve never done before ) so

IT IS NOW FINISHED – 6 months of paid weekly classes later.

And yes, I am ready to start the next project next week (foolish of me).

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail Wallace (Hair)
    Nov 24, 2017 @ 22:51:24

    Hi Hilary, do not give up. It is so satisfying sewing your own clothes. When i first started i have a love/hate relationship with sewing. Gail (Hair)

    Reply

  2. makewithmk
    Nov 24, 2017 @ 22:34:21

    It looks wonderful Hilary 😃
    Be proud of your venture into dressmaking xx

    Reply

  3. Elena
    Nov 24, 2017 @ 18:05:00

    Wow, well done! A shirt is a really advanced garment to make because everything has to be just right. It doesn’t look complicated but it is, as you discovered. But you’ve learned a lot! The next one will be a lot easier. 🙂

    Reply

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