Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Does the Fox Wear?

Ugh. I apologize for that. But every time I tell someone, hey, I'm making a shirt with fox fabric! They come back with some variation on the song title. But now it's out of the way and no one has to make that joke anymore. Ever.

Moving on: So I got this wonderful jersey from Girl Charlee and had no idea what I was going to do with it. I just fell in love and had to have it.

Isn't it wonderful?!

So I got two yards and figured I'd do a shirt. There. Decision made. Now: what pattern? In my twitterpation, I failed to notice that the jersey only had a 20% stretch, which was a little disappointing on the one hand, but opened up the pattern options on the other (meaning that I could easily swap it in for a wovens pattern). Conveniently, Hancock was having their 5-for-$5 sale last week, so I zipped in on my lunch break and picked up my five: 2860 for someday that I'm brave enough to try pants, 4055 because I ALWAYS pick up at least one costume pattern, 1779 as it looked like a good option for multiple makes, 1754 because that jewel neck dress is adorable, and 3688 because I love the lines on 1940s clothes. So that meant either the v-neck, adapting it for use without the button front, or the 40s style. Which is what won. Because I didn't feel like that much alteration. I wanted to be able to cut it out, throw it together and wear it. Immediately. No patience. Especially after the slog that was my colorblock dress.

Here we go!

I got smart laying out the pattern for this one, cheating on the back (not seen) by moving the fold and cutting on it so I didn't have to worry with the button closure (keyhole backs are for the birds). And I'm very thankful that I did...(intrigued? Read on! (Sorry.))

One of the things I love most about my sewing blogs is learning about all the wonderful accouterments used by people who know what they're doing. I had seen several people raving about Emma Seabrooke's fine knit stay tape. I ran into quite a bit of trouble with my knits over the summer - any place even slightly bias cut just disintegrated. So when I started working with the colorblock dress, I bought the black 1/2". Best $8 I've ever spent. The armsyches, the neckline, the center back where the zipper went in - they all stayed just where they were supposed to. It was wonderful. So I used it on this one, too...

There's a possibility I may have gotten carried away.
Seriously, though, is that too much stay tape? I thought it made sense to put it wherever I would have seams...but that's so much. It's extremely fine, so it doesn't add any bulk at all, but still...'salot of stay tape.

The next thing was to make up the sleeves - easy-peasy, three darts at the top of the sleeve and one at the elbow that I probably could have omitted, but I got these wonderful marking pens for Christmas that I'm kind of addicted to at this point...so dart me up! Then just a seam down the back, hemmed, and set in - only one problem. They are...snug. Sausage casings, if you will. I have large arms, and I should have experimented with the slash-and-spread on the bicep. But I didn't. So I deliberated the merits of unpicking them and making new from the remnant I had from my smart cutting. Which is what I did. Having made them (again), I'm still not certain I made the adjustment correctly: I cut the whole pattern piece up the printed grainline to a half an inch of the sleeve cap, and then got to looking at the immense difference it made in the opening...so, new plan. I drew a perpendicular line to the grainline across the bottom of the cap and cut that section of the back half off so I now have three parts to the pattern:

Wow, what a mess that looks - I'm getting ready to trace it off to some wrapping paper, I promise. After this next project...

It worked - I still don't think I did it correctly, but it worked. I had less ease in the gathering at the top of the sleeve than I did originally...which doesn't make any sense at all, now that I think of it. But whatever. It worked and it's done.

See? Done! (And one day I'll actually be presentable in these pictures I post...)

I have a few quibbles with the final product. First, the fabric - it really might as well be a woven. Very little give. VERY. And it washed up a little stiff - doesn't have the same hand that all of the other fabric I've ordered from Girl Charlee. I would guess that's the 20/20 poly/rayon content, so I now know to avoid that for tops. But it's still the cutest, and the shirt's going to be precious loose with black pants and tucked into a skirt that I don't really wear anymore. (Hooray for getting more use from existing pieces!)

Second, the pattern - I think that they next time I make it, I need to carve about an inch off the shoulder measurement. Gennie and I mostly match, but I think I must have measured my shoulders wrong when I was getting her set up. The shirt fits her perfectly, but I don't like where the sleeve cap hits me. I had the exact same problem with a costume I made a while ago - ended up pinning the sleeves a good half inch further in than was called for, and still have to tug them to have it look right. This is odd, because I've always thought myself broad-shouldered. Is it possible I'm not? Or is it just that dumb ease issue again? Or something else entirely that I will never fully understand?

Also, I have this trouble all the time, too: what's all this puddling/rigidity in my collars? WHAT IS IT, I beg. I did the facing strictly on the bias, as instructed, and I used the smallest amount possible to prevent the stand that I got on my (otherwise all time favorite bird shirt). There is approximately an eighth on an inch captured for that thing, and yet it stands. I can't figure it out, folks.

What am I doing wrong here?!

At any rate, this was item number two for January - I have a low-aiming goal of two garments every month this year (I'd love to do more, but with rehearsals and work and the occasional social outing, it's just not realistic, and if I aim too high and fail I'll get disappointed and frustrated). Next up: a rub-off/self-drafted/draped shirt (no, I don't know what I'm doing).