I’m pleased to report that the Chambray shirt project I started SIX months ago (the first appearance of the fabric on this blog happened in July) is now in progress!
In fact, as I type it’s close to completion – all that remains now are topstitching on the cuffs, buttonholes and buttons. But I do have a few notes to share.
For this project I auditioned quite a lot of blue threads, but none of them were quite right. This Chambray print has a steel gray tone to it that none of my thread seemed to match.
Then I found it, in my Gutermann thread sampler box – a steel gray-blue that is a perfect match to the fabric, and also to the red contrast. Of course, this meant a trip out to Britex to pick up a larger spool, since I ran out before the project was complete.
The shirt has two chevron pockets. Way back when I did the first bedsheet muslin, I managed to get the pockets misaligned and one ended up higher than the other. I also wanted to make sure both pockets had the exact same shape.
For each pocket, I placed the pocket pattern onto the shirt front at the marking points and traced distinguishing pattern features onto the tissue. This is the same thing I do to match plaids.
Now I can position the pattern onto a new patch of fabric and cut out a properly positioned pocket.
I had to do this individually for each pocket, since the patterns were different for both.
I used the same trick to cut out individual flaps that match the pockets.
To get the pockets to have a consistent shape, I cut a cardboard template for pressing the pockets. I folded back the seam allowances and traced the pattern onto cardboard, then cut it out.
Using the template as a guide for pressing the pockets made sure the chevron points came out looking consistent.
To get the pockets placed accurately, I cut both front pieces, and marked the attachment points from the pattern. I used tailor’s tacks for the purpose. Before matching and cutting the pockets, I double-checked with a ruler to ensure the markings were at the same height.
After I stitched the pockets, I positioned them, pinned them down, and double-checked with a ruler to make sure they were both at the same height and same distance from the center front line of the shirt. Measure twice, cut once carpenters say.
On the Orange Flannel Shirt, I didn’t sew the buttonholes on the pocket flaps until after the shirt was constructed. This was a problem because the machine’s auto-buttonhole cycle could no longer feed the fabric accurately with the flap as part of the shirt. I was able to fix the buttonhole by doing some satin stitching with the regular zigzag foot, but thought it would be better to do buttonholes up front this time.
I positioned the flaps on the shirt and marked off where I thought the buttonholes should go. The horizontal tick marks indicate where I calculated there would be interfacing on the pocket, to back the button itself. (I’m using Crayola Washable Markers).
The vertical lines are for aligning the buttonhole foot.
The buttonholes turned out almost right. BUT, I realized I stitched them too early. I should have attached the back of the pocket flap and turned them inside out before doing the buttonholes. So I had to get out the seam ripper, unpick the buttonholes (not fun) and redo them as the FINAL step of making the pocket flaps.
Here’s the result, after the do-over.
As I’ve said, I have gotten quite a lot more done with the shirt since the above photos. I snapped some current work-in-progress photos.
The collar and cuffs are made and attached, and the sleeves and side-seams are all there.
Hopefully next time we’ll be showing off the finished shirt.