Hi everyone. In today’s installment of the Chambray Comfy Shirt, I get the muslin put together and get it ready to fit on the subject.
The Extension Table
This project inaugurates a new sewing gadget. I purchased the Wide Table accessory for my sewing machine from Amazon.com. Judging from the Amazon reviews, this extension table seems to be popular with quilters, but maybe that’s because so many people quilt these days.
The motivation for purchasing the table comes from the Craftsy class, Sew Better, Sew Faster featuring Janet Pray. The table supports the fabric in the vicinity of the feed dogs, preventing it from drifting and pulling, which can distort seams. Additionally, the additional flat surface leading into the feed dogs allows you to better align the fabric and sew it without using pins.
Already it’s changing the way I sew, and I think for the better. I do feel like I have more control over the fabric, though it’s hard to tell because I’m still adapting to it. I might take the time to cut some strips of scrap fabric for practice, like Janet Pray suggests in the class video.
Typical for my first run with a new pattern, I traced and cut patterns without modification.
This pattern is typical of several Kwik Sew patterns, where all seam allowances are 1/4 inch, rather than the 5/8 inch normally seen in home sewing patterns.
That’s fine in most places, but when I sew the real project I will probably have to modify the pattern to add some seam allowance back to 5/8 inch on the sleeves, armscye and side seams. The extra seam allowance is to allow for flat-fell seams on the real shirt. Also, I want to expand the seam allowance where the yoke joins the back to 3/8 inch, so the line of topstitching in that area will be guaranteed to catch the seam allowance.
On the muslin, I simply chose to quick-finish the seam allowances along the sleeves, armscye and side seams using the overcast stitch on my conventional machine. (I didn’t feel like dragging out the serger, and I didn’t want to risk trimming the fabric with the serger blades on some of the curves).
I cut the bedsheet, trying to stay on the grain for all the pieces but not worrying about it too much. I’m also using some extremely cheap all-purpose polyester thread from Fabric Outlet. It leaves a lot of lint in the machine, so I won’t buy any more – but I hate letting things go to waste.
I also skipped interfacing altogether. This muslin really won’t be wearable.
I started out doing all the fiddly bits first- the collar, cuffs, sleeve placket, and patch pockets.
Feeling so uber-confident from having done collars several times in the past, I stitched the collar together. It was only after I attached the collar to the collar stand that I realized something was wrong. The notches on the pieces didn’t match up, the edges didn’t ease properly, and the curve on the collar stand was messed up when I finished.
Then it hit me. I stitched the collar together backwards. I took the outer edge of the collar as the inner edge, and attached that to the collar stand. Ooops.
I cut new pieces for collar and stand and had a little do-over.
I stitched together the cuffs without incident. I did simple snips on the curves, rather than cutting out tiny wedges, following advice from Janet Pray’s class.
The Sleeve Placket
Kwik Sew 2000 has an oddly shaped sleeve placket pattern. I don’t like this pattern very much, as you must do a simple hem on the inside of the placket and it comes out looking a little cheap.
I did the plackets in a hurry, so they didn’t turn out great. I plan to substitute another placket pattern for the real shirt.
Instead of using the large pockets with curved corners, I instead stole the chevron-shaped pockets, including flaps, from McCall’s 6044. This was fun, since I had never done pocket flaps before.
The pocket flaps are entirely unnecessary for the muslin, but I wanted them to judge the style, positioning and sizing of the pockets before doing the final garment. Again, the flap isn’t interfaced, even though it is supposed to be. And I didn’t do the buttonhole on the flap.
Sleeves and Side Seams
I still have to attach the collar to the shirt, attach cuffs to sleeves. Then I will be ready to sew up the sleeves and side seams and the muslin will be complete.
Unfortunately, the project stops here for the moment. The boyfriend is currently in North Carolina visiting family, so this project is on hold for a week or so until he returns, and I can put it on him and do fitting. I did do a quick tryout with just the bodice before his departure, and I already know I have to narrow the shoulders.
Finally, I have a few words about the PatternReview contests.
Originally, this project was inspired by the PatternReview Men’s Sewing Challenge, which ran from August 1 through 15. As a “challenge”, it wasn’t revealed to the forum members until late July. When I did hear about it, I was very excited and was one of the first to sign up for the contest.
Unfortunately, due to the very complicated work/career things going on in my life, I wasn’t really able to get started on the project until after August 1. And given the amount of work that goes into making a carefully-made men’s shirt, I wasn’t able to finish it in time for the deadline. So I didn’t enter my shirt in the contest.
This is the second PR contest for which I wasn’t able to finish in time. In some sense, it doesn’t matter; I do these projects for reasons other than competing in an online contest. And I realize that contests have to have deadlines, otherwise there would be no judging and there wouldn’t really be much of a competition.
But I feel the contests with two-week deadlines, and involved contests like the Wardrobe Contest which have you completing four coordinated garments in one month, are asking a bit much. I get enough of deadlines in other contexts, like my professional life. I don’t need them in sewing as well. This hobby is supposed to be enjoyment, not work.
So while I’m not going so far to say that I’m done with PR contests, I have to say that I’ll be more careful deciding if I want to enter them in the future.