Called Up from the Minor Leagues

If you follow me on Instagram (I wish you would, Instagram is fun fun fun), you’ve seen my #livesewing posts. I never really elaborated on Instagram, but the idea behind #livesewing is to make social what is otherwise a very solitary activity. Personally, when I sew for more than a few hours, I get intensely lonely — but I don’t want to stop sewing! I just want to bring people into the moment. I pondered for awhile setting up a streaming web cam in my studio, but I’m usually braless and dishevelled while sewing: definitely not camera friendly.

Anyway, I’ve decided to bring Instagram to the blog and share my current #livesewing project with you! It’s been quite a journey. It all started with the desire to sew a certain brand new shirt pattern by a certain French indie pattern brand, that doesn’t go up to my size. Having some experience with another pattern from this brand, I knew freehand grading would not work. So I turned to my pattern stash and found Butterick B6042, complete with waist seam, and in my size. The plan: muslin B6042 until the fit was perfect, then use it as a guideline to size up the French indie shirt pattern.

Easier said than done. But I didn’t know that … :-)

“Wearable #muslin using my very #first piece of #Nigerian #waxprint #fabric.”

The first muslin, made from Nigerian fabric, fit mostly well enough. I traced a size 24/22/26+2″ at the bust/waist/hips, with size 24 armholes and sleeves. For muslin number 2, I drafted a pair of godet to give more hip room at the side seam and added a 1″ placket to add width to the front of the garment, and shaped the CB seam to better suit my figure. This second muslin, made from mid-weight quilting cottons, was adorbs. Proof:

“Happy with my #muslin, upgrading it to a make!”

I immediately upgraded it to a make, which meant topstitched French seams throughout, contrast self-drafted facing and contrast placket, and (soon to come) box pleated sleeves. As Sew Crafty Chemist recently observed, sewing with cotton is a dream! So easy. But making a fitted shirt, well — there’s a reason why Pattern Review had a fitted shirt contest. (Which SCC won!)

floral on floral, w/collar

I also decided to make a contrast chest pocket. I’m putting it on the right, because a left-hand pocket has never made any sense to me. I’m right handed, why would I store things on the left side of my body?

The collar was a bit of a challenge: I added the front placket without lengthening the collar piece accordingly, causing the collar and the neckline to be different lengths. I shortened the CB neckline on the shirt via pleats to match the collar length, machine basted through all the layers of shirt and collar at the neck, bound the seam allowance of that seam in black, store-bought poly/cotton binding, then removed the basting. Oh! Best. Fix. Ever. I’m going to finish collar seams this way from now on.

the whole shebang
I blame my camera for this wonky shot!

I’ve had to put this one on the backburner in favor of working on the sewalong, but with only the hem and the sleeves to go, finishing in the next few weeks is quite possible. Huzzah!

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  1. Hey~~~. I’ve gad that same idea about group sewing! A little different: what about using done group hashtag and everyone can post every x minutes. Any interest?

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