I’m sorry for leaving you all hanging at the end of the last installment. Besides all the challenges I knew I was going to face, my company was purchased two weeks after I started my new job. So now, I work for GoPro, makers of action cameras used by surfers, skiers, and other extreme-sports enthusiasts.
In the meantime, I haven’t forgotten about my Chambray Comfy shirt project. It moves along, albeit slowly because it’s been harder to find time and energy to devote to it.
One perk of the job is that I am now the proud owner of a top-of-the-line GoPro Hero3+ video camera. Even before the buyout, I had been toying with the idea of doing some videos. I’m not sure the GoPro is the best thing for doing the kinds of closeups you need for instructional videos – it’s really intended for capturing expansive, wide-angle views of action sequences. But it does have a great deal of control over the types of video it can shoot, and I might try to do some “Extreme Sewing” clips with it soon.
The Second Muslin
But this weekend, I finally got my second muslin finished. As you might recall, this muslin was done using the Medium version of the pattern (Kwik Sew 2000) so I could fit it against Jim and decide which version I should work from for the alterations.
And since I had a good idea the pattern would end up wearable for myself, as-is, I made one of my famous “wearable muslins” – a fully finished shirt that is as much for wearing, and practicing technique, as fitting.
One goal with this muslin was to try out a new placket design. I didn’t like the sleeve placket that came with the pattern, and so used the sleeve placket pattern and construction method from David Coffin’s book, Shirtmaking.
As you can see, the plackets came out very nicely. My stitching around the cuffs could stand some improvement, but the plackets look great.
But I did make one mistake on the left sleeve trying to match the stripes between the placket and the sleeve itself. I matched the alignment line on the sleeve placket with the line on the sleeve where one cuts the placket opening. But I think I had right and wrong sides reversed when I did this. The result – perfect alignment of the stripes, but the colors didn’t quite line up. Not noticeable unless you go looking for it, but oops.
The fabric and interfacing (Pellon Shape-Flex 101) from Joann’s was okay, not great. Though I did pre-shrink the interfacing beforehand, I got a few visible bubbles on the left side of the collar, visible in this photo. And the cotton-poly shirting isn’t the highest quality either. You can see all kinds of fuzzy fibers coming off the edges of the fabric, after it has been worked over with the iron.
I think a key part of producing a high-quality shirt is also using high-quality fabric and interfacing. That’s one reason why I called this garment a muslin and decided to use the Joann’s shirting.
Fitting #1 – Jim
First up was to fit the finished shirt on Jim. Short story is that it fits well, in shoulders, torso and sleeve length. The neckline is too small, though.
To alter the pattern for Jim, I think I will use the Medium pattern as the base, using the collars and neckline from the Large version of the pattern since that collar fit him well.
Fitting #2 – Myself
The shirt runs big on me – especially through the shoulders. But I didn’t realize just how outsized it was until I saw myself in the photos. Not only do I have to narrow the shoulders, the torso is just way to large. It just looks like one big rectangle of fabric on me.
The sleeve length is acceptable, but a tad short. I’d add about a half-inch so that the cuff breaks at the wrist. Also, my left arm is about 1/2 longer than my right arm, so adding some length to the sleeves to accommodate the extra length will also help.
I will proceed with Jim’s shirt. I’ll alter the pattern, then sew one more wearable muslin – this time, a plaid flannel shirt – to test out the modifications. Then, I should be ready to do the real Chambray shirt for him. Then I’ll tackle alterations and the final project for myself.