Getting Ready to Sew

Hi friends,

Making clothes is one of my biggest crafting challenges. I know this, and yet I continue to try. It’s either persistence or insanity, and I think the project I’m currently working on might be the decider.


Some people, of course, already have their minds made up. I was visiting with a friend on Sunday night, and telling her about my sewing-related exploits. “I mean, think about the collar of a button-down shirt,” I said. “It’s got six different pieces – not including buttons!” Whereupon she said, “You know, they sell shirts in stores.”



So here’s how I broke it down. True to plan, I got out the measuring tape on Friday night (oh yes, I live an exciting life!) and filled out the handy-dandy measurement chart I found on the Simplicity website. They have a very helpful PDF download with tips for measuring and determining fit. I particularly enjoyed this little snippet:


“Who’s to know what pattern size you use?” – priceless.

So I filled in the chart, did some comparing, and – WHOA – was I really going to have to buy a pattern that was SIX sizes larger than my ready-to-wear size? And then I found this tidbit:

picture-22 I’d heard rumours about this, so I was interested to actually see it written down.

picture-32 Aha! I took a good look at the size chart in the Sew U/Built by Wendy book, and sure enough, with a little bit of jiggery-pokery, I’d be able to use the shirt pattern that was included (and save myself $10, to boot!).

On Saturday morning, after double-checking my measurements and comparing the tissue pattern pieces to a similar (purchased) shirt that I already own, I was reasonably confident that this cut-and-paste trick would be effective, and I got down to work. Here you can see the altered pattern and the instructions:


And a full-length view of the pattern:


You can see that slicing the pattern apart and spreading it at the bust point adds (in my case) 1/2-inch of ease. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this little bit of information, because something tells me that otherwise, I’d currently be constructing a much-too-large-for-Austen shirt.

With all that folderol taken care of, it was on to laying out the pattern pieces:


and (oh, my aching back!) cutting them out:


Last night after supper, I managed to apply all that fusible interfacing and to sew the front, back and bust darts. Tonight, I’ll tackle that intimidating six-piece (!) collar. As much as I want to be finished, I’m trying to take a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach. And since it’s TV-Turnoff Week, I’ve got no excuse not to sew!

Here are a couple resources I’ve gathered along the way:

One of these days I’d like to do a little sewing blog round-up, so if  you’ve got any favourites (currently I’m enjoying The Selfish Seamstress, A Dress a Day and wikstenmade), please let me know. Thanks!