I am so pleased with this shirt! I haven’t been able to say that yet, so allow me a good solid *squee*. Shirtmaking for men is all about precision, and getting here has been such a grind. (I could get better. I will get better. This is, however, my first shirt where I can really say, “this doesn’t look home-sewn”).
And I’m looking forward to admiring him in it… I’ve put it up for Easter Sunday. After that, I’m hoping it goes in his “nice suit shirt” collection. Wouldn’t this make an impression at an interview? -drools quietly- Maybe that’s just me. 😉
Okay. First: I bought a little bit more expensive fabric. I’ve had this stashed for over a year now. Got it at Fabricmart. It’s cotton, has some body to it – not one of my usual paper-thin fabric choices. That’s helped the result, mushier fabric sews up better. And when I’m loving a textile, I do a better job sewing it. This is one of those colors that I love but can’t wear, and the fabric has a lovely body to it – I had a great time working with it, and that shows. Also, I stopped using fusible interfacing for collar/cuffs, I’m using scrap fabric (of which I have gobs) in appropriate weights. I think I will put a bit more weight in the cuffs next time, make them a tad crisper. It’s RIDICULOUSLY easy to do this, you just sew an extra layer. Please try it if you’ve not yet done so.
The other things that have absolutely changed my shirtmaking game:
- The right pattern. Thank you, ten thousand times thank you to Bootstrap Fashions. Linkie: http://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/index.php/sewing-patterns/men-sewing-patterns/made-to-measure-modern-fit-men-shirt-mens-jacket-sewing-pattern.html#.VvGltuIrKM8 The shirt FITS. And I love the no-button-placket finish, not struggling with that has made a big difference. (I noticed, when rotating my husband’s good shirts today, that his nice shirts likewise don’t have the button placket. Why did you torture me, Big Four? Was I bad?)
- The right book. Okay, the pattern above is great – but the instructions are just kinda eh. The big four instructions are likewise eh. If you’ve read around the sewing-blogosphere, you’ve heard the angels singing about David Coffin’s shirtmaking book. There are good reasons. The detailed instructions, the traceable patterns for sleeve plackets, collars, cuffs… all of that is well worth the less than $20 used on Amazon that it is currently running. If you’re serious about shirtmaking, you need the book.
- The right tools. How do you even sew without a ruler? Go to the office-supply store (or fabric store) and buy a clear ruler, do it now. The little white plastic thing is a point turner, and it makes much nicer points than trying to poke out the points with a pencil or scissors or pins or fat needle. Finally, the clapper/point presser – this makes pressing those collar/cuff bits open a breeze – and we all know that good pressing is the secret to good results. (We do all know this, right?)
This is what helps. Practice, too. Obviously. I’ve been sewing for a while, so I know how to use the visual cues on my sewing machine to sew a straight seam, and I’ve done a pile of flat-fell seams, so even though they aren’t as awesome as I’d like, (aka perfect inside and out) they get better. Practice practice practice.
Just for fun, because it’s new and cool:
DH bought me this online, and it’s a great little tool. I have all kinds of marking stuff, none of which works, mostly I just use a pencil or pins. This is a chalk wheel, it’s by Dritz, and it makes beautiful marks. I’m going to be using this going forward as my favorite marking tool – I’d much rather use chalk than pencil, you’re never really sure about whether the pencil is going to come out.
I hope this post helps you raise your game too – and if you’re not sewing, just enjoy the shirt. 😀