Tuesday, August 14, 2012

shirting the issue

Apparently shirts are not my thing.  Dresses and pants work well enough for me- but shirts throw me every time.  
I present two recent examples...

The knit mock sailor shirt. 

I found this awesome sailboat print knit in the clearance bin of the local fabric store.  It's got a kind of nubby texture on the outside, and is slightly brushed on the inside.  It has a lot of one-way stretch.  And it picks apart if you seam rip it with anything less than utmost precision.  All this I found to be terribly unfortunate when sewing.

But it doesn't explain this:

I'm still pretty shocked that I managed to sew the sleeve into the neck hole.  Remarkably, it fit perfectly, too.  

I finally got it together (the right way) and it was brilliant.  Fit was great, it was soft and comfy and oh-so-cute.  I added a thin ribbon trim to give it a mock sailor collar, hoping to pair it with his mock sailor pants, and threw it in the wash.

Grumble grumble.  The shirt shrank, and the ribbon did not.  It got all wavy and wonky and no longer the crisp white piping-like detail I had sewn.  It's ironic, too, as the original trim I had picked out was a small yellow ric-rac.  Mr. vetoed that choice, though, claiming the wavy-ness was too girly.

He's still gonna wear the shirt.  I worked too hard on that darn ribbon trim (I'm terrible at sewing with precision) to give up on it, and the material would fall apart if I tried to use the seam ripper to remove the trim. 

It's not too too bad, right?  

The long-sleeved tunic.

Maybe you can already figure out where this went wrong.  I have a gorgeous piece of linen I purchased recently- bright colors and a bit of a Moroccan print.  It's gorgeous.  I want to turn it into one of those long tunics with the split collar.  Something like this:

I was too scared to cut into my linen without a trial run, so I drafted a pattern and used a thin shirting material I had in my grandmother's stash.  
It was originally so so bad.  The sleeves were so tight I couldn't bend my elbows.  And the shoulders poufed up like a Disney Princess dress on crack.  Kenzie thought it was wonderful.  Mr.  just laughed.

So I cut the sleeves off and tried for a peasant top.  But the material was so white and thin that it just looked like a hospital orderly's shirt. 
Finally, I added a cobalt lining to the neckline, and used a stamp and paint to add the anchors around the neck, and it was wearable.  But nothing like the shirt I set out to make. 

I'm wondering if I should just buy a shirt pattern to learn from.  I hate using patterns- but I hate wasting fabric even more.
And I realllly want that linen tunic!

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