I hope you, too, have a long weekend and pleasant plans for that time.
I almost finished the dress from last week, but with an extra busy work week that changed my schedule and Mom visiting all of my four-day Labor Day Weekend, the post will have to wait until next week. My one comment is that I must remember that I do not like the look of A-line skirts on me. If I ever again suggest that I am working on something with a skirt, everyone please shout at me, "Remember to flare the skirt!"
I hope you, too, have a long weekend and pleasant plans for that time.
I took my very first t-shirt pattern and used the block Maddie helped me make to make some adjustments. I don't know how well you can see in the photo, but the brown line (straighter armhole) is my original pattern and the green line is what I got from the block. I knew I needed help with the armhole and the difference is quite pronounced. I was uncertain how the block designed for a woven would translate to a knit shirt, but figured since it had so little ease in it, I would make a muslin and go from there. After altering the armhole, I left the rest of my original t-shirt pattern alone.
This was for the front. The back took more work and I'm uncertain what, exactly, I did. I know I traced both patterns (original and block) and then fussed with the lines until they looked right.
When cutting the fabric, I took up the back shoulders by two inches to accommodate the swayback. I didn't take a picture because it was a guess based on everything I have read. I know I need at least three inches taken out, but also know that more than two distorts the armhole too much, even though the shortening is done at the neck side of the shoulder.
When sewing the shirt, I once again forgot to use ¼-inch seam allowances on the neckline. In a way, I'm glad because it would have been too high, but it did mean some finagling to get the seam allowance to lie flat. I ended up trimming it as short as possible around the curve. I also had to put a small thread knot on the inside front neckline because the front and back of this shirt is so similar.
I think the front armholes are much improved. There is less wrinkling. The back armholes still need help and I have to figure out what to do with the leftover inch of excess fabric from the swayback. I got Annn Ladbury's Dressmaker's Dictionary from the library and her solution, like others I have read, is to take up the excess fabric from the shoulders. I'll keep working on this problem.
After finishing this on Sunday, I spent Monday working on a dress. I'm still working on it, but I think I have improved the back armholes. Hopefully, it will be finished in time for next week's post.
Another note about this strange fabric. I spilled tea on it and it blotted off as if the fabric were treated for upholstery use. Do people use knit fabric in home decorating? I wouldn't want a wardrobe made from this stuff; it holds odors and inhibits air flow, but for wearable muslins and at 33 cents a yard, I'm not complaining, only curious.
Thrift Store Fabric
I have read that people find fabric and sewing notions at thrift stores, but I never experienced it. Ever hopeful, I keep looking. Last week, I was rewarded. Well, I don't know if Goodwill can be considered a true thrift store considering that many things you can get new for the same brand at the same price if you shop at Wal-Mart, but that's another topic.
I was looking for a large, flat black sheet and instead found this knit fabric. There were no pricing guidelines, so I decided how much I was willing to pay for it and took it to the counter. Imagine my pleasure when the clerk told me all that fabric was only $1!
The fiber is clearly synthetic with a dose of lycra, but beyond that, I can't tell for what it was intended. At first, I thought it was the kind of jersey from which knit business blouses are made, but the fabric also feels as if it were trying to mimic swimsuit material. For over 3 yards of 60" fabric, I'm willing to deal with mystery fibers. There is only selvedge on one side, so I wonder if this was originally wider than 60"? The other side is cut very straight, so I can't tell if it was done by machine or hand.
It washed well and doesn't wrinkle. I hung it over the shower curtain rod and it dried within a few hours. It looked so good there, that I considered making it a shower curtain to relieve the white and sand that makes up a rental's bathroom, but I prefer new clothes.
I wanted to start cutting as soon as I got home, but was disciplined and waited to wash it first. Now it is ready, the rain comes down, and I'm headed off to sew!
I also saved up enough to order from Sew Sassy. Shipping was speedy and all my things came in one package with no wasted packing materials. I know elastics aren't the most exciting sewing supply, but it does make sewing life more pleasant to have a ready supply on hand.
I want to make soft cheese and while searching for cheese cloth discovered that it is not carried in the canning section of grocery stores. It is carried in the painting section at hardware stores. Lowe's was out and there aren't any cooking stores where I was, so I took a chance and stopped by the privately-owned quilting and craft store. At first, she said they didn't carry cheese cloth. Then she remembered that they ordered a bolt for a woman. After rummaging in the back corners, she produced a bold with several yards. I've only seen pre-packaged cheese cloth, so was pleased with her $1.60 a yard price. I bought a yard and today will discover how much I really need. The amusing part was that everyone was surprised when I said I wanted cheese cloth to make cheese. I learned that cheese cloth commonly is used in painting and as protection for plants, but not, it seems, to make cheese.
Last weekend I went to DC. It was my birthday present to myself. It was also inspiration to keep working on figuring out a sleeve/armhole combination that is comfortable because I really wanted a lightweight shirt with long sleeves – a shirt that would be comfortable in humidity, but also provide sun protection and a small barrier against the freezing air conditioning. This shirt and a corresponding pair of pants are my ultimate pattern making goals.
Anyway, the week before, I took a look at clothes I'm not wearing and clothes I wear often. The uniform polo shirts that I've been trying to make wearable for the past two years were firmly in the "not wearing" pile. I really think it is the fabric that I can't stand, but since I can't do anything about that, I looked for ideas in my "wear often" pile. In the summer, I wear sleeveless things outside of work.
So I took my least favorite refashioned polo, blogged here (curious how my original favorite is now the one I most dislike), and turned it into a sleeveless shirt. I cut off the sleeves, leaving the seam allowance on the shirt. Then I cut off the sleeve hems and used these to finish the armhole edges. It was a little tricky to stretch the hem to fit the armhole opening. I had to pin it a few times. In the end, I stretched it the most in the back, so any gathers would be there.
Another problem with the original refashion was the neckline. It pulled to one side and showed too much. So I stitched it up the center a short ways. This created a protuberance. Took keep it from sticking out, I had to do that weird fold thing you see at the bottom of the neckline.
The next day I wore the shirt and dripped grease on it. Yay! This shirt isn't suitable for donation, so I have to get it worn out so that I don't feel guilty turning it into rags or throwing it away.
The sleeve sewing process took less than an hour. If I were to do it again, I would probably sew the hem to the armhole in such a way that I could flip it up and sew it to the top of the armhole, allowing the opening be in a more natural position and still having the hem visible. I think if I flip it under, it has too much bulk without a clear visual reason why, which is why I left it out this time.
Hi! I live in Virginia. My mom taught me to sew. I think I started at 4 or 5 by sewing buttons onto a handkerchief, but don't trust my memory. That was a long time ago. As a teenager, I was more interested in completing projects than learning good sewing techniques. Now, I am teaching myself some things I missed. My sewing interests are in learning to make alterations to and draft patterns to fit my petite 4'11" tall, 32" chest, 45" hip body.