Learning Points from The Shirt (see previous post)

During the 6 month journey of ‘making the shirt’ I learned some really useful tips for clothes sewing clothes.  I don’t want to forget these so I’m documenting them and if only one of them helps another beginner I will be pleased to share.

  • Somewhere on the pattern sleeve (at least for the Simplicity pattern I used) is shown the finished measurements of the garment.  Ta Dah! I can see where it needs adjusting to my requirements e.g. longer in body / arms, looser.
  • Iron the paper pattern pieces on a low setting before pinning them for cutting out.  This removes the folds and does make the pinning and cutting out easier and more accurate.
  • It is worth the time and effort to make a sample, not just for fit and adjustments but to get used to the pattern instructions (destructions as a friend calls them)
  • Make notes for any alterations made – if making a sample by the time I got to the real garment I would not have been able to remember.  And if you are planning to make more garments from the pattern you will need the notes.
  • Personally I don’t like interfacing in my soft cotton shirts – this would have been an expensive experiment on the real material!
  • If you are using iron-on interfacing don’t use tailor tacks as they won’t come out!
  • When top stitching on the outside use a longer stitch length e.g. 3 on my Bernina machine
  • When pinning put the pins vertical with the head outside the material – this makes easing curves more successful and they are easy to remove when sewing (if you’ve not tacked).  And many more pins on curves than you think is needed.
  • Tack with small stitches – on the seam line to check for fit.  Small stitches don’t come undone!  In my youth I hated tacking but now I see the benefit.
  • Layering of seams with more than 2 layers such as the collar and yoke.  The seam closest to the body is the trimmed the most, the next a little less and so on.
  • Trim all seams – for a corner cut off the corner point then take a little more off each side.  This reduces the bulk quite considerably.
  • Buttonhole markings need to be on the outside of the material – I put mine on the inside so had to re-mark.
  • Sew on the buttons with your machine, if it has this program.  They don’t come off!  Most of the buttons I sewed onto the sample came off during trying on! Oh and if your button has a design pay attention to the direction of the button when sewing it on.  Mine had a tree design and I sewed on about half upside down so had to re-sew them.
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