my previous sewing experience: a shirt

waiting for the patterns to arrive:

Depart USPS Sort Facility

April 19, 2013


I once had this shirt I really liked. It was made of a very thin cotton with blue flowers and after a few years of wear the fabric started to tear. This shirt was done.

So I took it apart with my torn thingy (proper word needed here)

I studied how it came apart. The cuffs, the collar, which seam in the arm hole was done after which. I jotted it down on a piece of paper.


When I had everything in bits I placed them on an old sheet we got when we purchased this cabin. It is decades old and it has yellow butterflies on it! I love it.

I cut a copy of the pieces in the butterfly fabric. The sheet was fairly flat but the shirt pieces weren’t. I was not yet aware at how often a seamstress nowadays uses her iron… (I only learned that last week, while reading the internet). I also didn’t think to pin them down. If I remember correct I held them down with one hand and cut around it with my scissors with the other. I did use fabric scissors. I’m not a total newbie! (ahum!)

Thanks to my notes and also because I only took apart half the shirt, leaving me with an intact arm with cuff to study, I managed to produce a shirt:

I made a collar!
I made cuffs!

it even has darts for shaping. But I still didn’t know anything about seams.

I could not face making button holes by hand and when I went to the sewing shop for advice they sold me a zipper. This may have been a special sort of zipper, you can cut it to length. I knew nothing about zippers and that’s why it’s hanging loose at the bottom and is not lined on the inside. This zipper is the reason I cannot wear this shirt over a simple top, it hurts against the skin.

I don’t care if it is not perfect. This shirt is about the butterflies, about making something by myself. And I made it in a time I was severely brain fogged. And it was all done on an antique sewing machine to boot! This shirt is about giving myself a smile (and wear it)

I love this shirt. It makes me look ill and grey because of the colour but I love it! The butterflies are so much fun!

Feeling encouraged I tried to make this shirt a couple of times more. This time with Real Fabric. From the Real Fabric shop. Alas. I chose the wrong fabrics. I did have the sense to stay within woven, cotton like, fabrics. But one had all kinds of band sewed on it, making cutting and sewing a nightmare. Another one was way to smooth, it slipped away all the time. The third one was good old fashioned cotton but with such a sweet little dumb flowery print that I could not muster up the spirit after cutting and starting. It looked like a clown had sneezed all over it. I don’t like clowns. I don’t like rainbow coloured clothes.

Such a waste of money. But now, feeling that original shirt with its soft soft fabric and seeing the butterflies again, I might be tempted to try another one! Providing I learn a bit more about fabrics first.

This project also taught me about direction. I did manage to make the butterflies fly away from me at the cuffs.


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