I may have mentioned this already, but I had jury duty this week. My first time ever, and I wasn’t even asked to serve. I only sat there and read sewing/crafting books. Poor me, right? 😉
One of the books I read was David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking. It’s a great resource and you should definitely own this book if you ever consider making shirts. It was highly read-able. I have a tendency to fall asleep with technical books and I didn’t fall asleep once with this book. I took some notes while I was reading of things I was surprised to find out among other things:
- Iron your shirting fabric, don’t just press it. Stretch it out in the same direction as the selvedges.
- Use sew in interfacing not fusible since you wash shirts often.
- Use a flat fell foot for superior flat fell seams.
- Insert arms flat and then sew side seams.
- Match the lightest thread color present in your shirting for your thread.
The first point is something Thea had already mentioned to me when I had problems with my Alhambra clover print fabric. The sewing the arms flat first thing was a surprise to me as well as the match the lightest thread color. And actually I disagreed with that last point for my specific fabric print. I, unfortunately, do not own a flat fell foot as it did not come with my machine, but will consider getting one for the future. But fortunately, my little boy’s shirt pattern does not require flat felled seams as the seam allowances are only a 1/4 inch, much too small for a flat fell seam finish.
I had my sewing lesson with Thea last night and we started work on the shirt. When I cut out the fabric, I cut in a single layer so as to match the print as much as possible. I am using a check fabric, or is it gingham? I can’t see what the difference is between the two. But despite my careful cutting, I still did not get a perfect match. I’m kind of bummed about that. The feed dogs just didn’t want me to match I guess. Not sure what else I can do to counteract this, except to whip out the walking foot. Any suggestions? I pinned the heck out of it.
As for thread choice, I went with a navy thread even though David Coffin suggests white when white is present. I just thought it blended better. Here’s my test swatch.
So far I have interfaced the parts that needed interfacing, the collar and stand, and the button hole placket. I used Pam Erny’s interfacing. I really like her interfacing but can’t speak to competitor stuff as hers is the only kind I have ever used. For the placket, I probably should have cut the interfacing in half because you double the placket over itself, thereby doubling the interfacing and it became too stiff. Live and learn.
I opted not to interface the pocket and am pretty proud of my placement. It’s perfectly matching on one side, and just a little off on the other. The topstitching isn’t too bad either, but again, not perfect.
That’s where I left off last night. I have to attach the yoke to the fronts now. Working on that tonight. Wish me luck!
Happy sewing everyone.