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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Love Shirt!

This one was a long time in coming. Other projects were quicker, and less emotionally taxing. This one? This one I had high hopes for. I didn't want another obviously homemade item...I wanted this thing to surprise the hell out of people when I said that I made it. I wanted a real live grownup button-down blouse with precise details. The challenge scared me a little.

Since I've had such a roller coaster time in the past using commercial patterns, I did make a muslin of this first. There was NO way I was going to waste my beautiful polished-cotton fabric (charity sale: woot!) only to end up with something that fit too poorly to ever wear. I made my muslin from a threadbare, paint-stained old bedsheet and whaddya know? It *fit*! I had been preparing myself for a long process of alterations and frankly, all this required was a little extra ease in the upper arms (again, Heredity? You can suck it) and a readjustment of the sash tie position. (Seriously, why would anyone position ties at the natural waistline...for a maternity garment? Do you think I *want* the buttons to gape and expose my used-to-be-a-bellybutton?) I was pretty psyched. And I actually have a muslin I can and will wear...although only for dirty around-the-yard jobs. If our raspberry patch manages to produce this year (we're doubtful--it rained a LOT and the cherries and pears all turned black and fell, sigh), it will be my berry-picking shirt. Hey, it's not like I have a lot of long-sleeved items that fit at the moment. ;)

Okay, enough buildup...check this out!

Oh snap. Hire a 5-year-old photographer, expect focusing issues.
Sigh, at least he got me into the frame...

5-year-old photographer says,
"You get what you pay for!"
Ahem. Okay...let's see if anything survived intact from that session. Ah we go!

Yes I know my pants are too tight. I can't keep up.
They were $4 at the thrift store and I only have 80-some days left; I'm wearing them!
I love this shirt. LOVE it. Even though the photos show a bunch of not-perfect stuff, I don't care. I'm too happy. Look how happy I am!

Yeah, my wedding band doesn't fit either. It's all temporary. ;)
Now for the recap:

What I love:

The color! The fabric! How awesome it looks when it's been properly ironed! My topstitching! The crisp, pointy cuffs! And the matching buttons. Which aren't quite perfect (I seem to lack that little plastic doohickey to hold them stable while wrapping them)

but I. Don't. Care. I freaking love them anyway. Same goes for the collar, which I realize isn't supposed to lie that wide...but when I starched it to stand up it looked and felt weird. So? I have a wide collar. Do I care? No. No, I do not.

What I'm not nuts about:

I swear the bust fit when I made my muslin. Now, not so much. Again, I refer back to the extreme difficulty of making (or hell, buying) maternity clothes that fit. Either they fit on the day you acquire them, or you go too big in anticipation and wear a tent for a while. Sigh.

Also, although I did some crazy precise hand-stitching to attach the collar (seriously, I'm so proud), I kind of crashed and burned when I got to the edge, and you see this.

And finally, there are a few tiny puckers where my sleeve easing was less than perfect. But if you've noticed a trend here, it's that I don't care. Seriously. I could stress over it or I could remember that I'd chosen a different easing method than I'm used to doing because I was concerned about messing up the gorgeous fabric. So, learning curve.

What I've learned:

Hm. Not really too much in the way of new skills, per se...other than the collar attachment and the button facing. This is the first self-faced garment I've done and while it was a little tricky and I had to be very careful about all of my pressing and stitching, it really wasn't all that difficult to learn. And OMG it looks so much better than the faced things I've done. And actually, it's less work now that I think about it, because there's no need for finishing an extra raw edge, or understitching.

Okay, so...Love Hat, Love Booties, Love Shirt. It's small victories that keep me wanting to further improve my skills. Hell no, I'm not perfect. Yet. But I'm getting better, and that feels great.

 ETA: In the haze of pregnancy-brain, I neglected to identify the pattern! It's Simplicity 4704, now out of print.


  1. It's gorgeous! So proud of you for leaving the imperfections and loving it anyway!!!

  2. that looks amazing Heather! I wish you lived close so you could share your wisdom! Sewing has me kind of flummoxed!

  3. Just keep plugging away, RJ. My sewing is like my knitting is like my computer geekery. Every thing that I do well is because I've done it very, very wrong in the past, when I didn't know any better and learned from my mistakes.

    And Tina...that's exactly how I managed to be in a good mood about this one, warts and all. Yeah, it's not perfect. But I learned and improved. It's the best I've done so far and I know that the next item I make that uses any of these techniques will be better for my hard-won experience. ;)