the practise shirt I sewed last June

Last year, at my drafting course, we took our block and made it into a pattern for a dress shirt. Just before Summer break I sewed it. Out of a cheap cotton from the market. This is the blog post I wrote then:

PATTERN

There are few things I feel unsure about. I was told to swivel the bustdart into two waist darts. And the little dart that goes from the apex to the arm pit too, the one that most big busted women need.
It has left me with a rather sharp angled arm hole on the front panel:
Schijndel bloes

At the back I’m putting in a yoke and have brought the shoulder seam forward by cutting off a piece from the front panel and attaching it to the back panel, literally. But I wasn’t told I should ease the curve in the armhole. It has quite a dent in it:
Schijndel bloes

Never mind, don’t go changing anything. Just sew as is. It’s for study.

Sewing steps. Following David Page Coffin’s book: Shirtmaking.

1. CUTTING
cut with 1,5 cm seam allowance. Aii! this fabric is slippery!

2. STAYSTITCHING
at 1,3 cm from the edge:

3. CLIPPING
right up to the staystitching. All curved edges (neck, arm,) and things on the bias (yoke, shoulder seam).
Schijndel bloes

Due to bringing the bust darts to the waist my side seam is now on the bias too…. clip it? I don’t think so, it’s not supposed to add fullness… clip it a bit because it will add fullness and I don’t want the edge to interfere with the seam.

4. PRACTISE PRECISE STITCHING
long seams while guiding the fabric through, keeping it at a little tension. This is to avoid that the dog feeder at the bottom will take more of the fabric at the bottom than the fabric on the top.
I also have a Hemmed Seam foot on my antique Singer machine! yeah! Mr. Page Coffin really wants me to use it.
Felling foot on my antique Singer foot treadle sewing machine.

SEWING
– shorten stitch length. Seam stitch = 2 mm; top stitch = 3,5 mm. Edge stitch is close to the edge, 1,5 a 3 mm. Topstitching is done further from the edge.
– adjust seam guide on sewing machine: from 1,3 cm to 1,5 cm.

5. DARTS IN THE BACKPANEL. Important points are only marked with pins, doublechecked with pattern and then sewn. From the fat part of the diamond to the points.
Schijndel bloes

6. YOKE TO BACK. Back sandwiched between the two yokes. Ai, the backpanel is 1,5 cm wider than the yoke and the pattern. The fabric was so slippery when cutting. I’m putting in a pleat/gather. Making the back panel top fit the yoke bottom:
Schijndel bloes
Schijndel bloes
Sewn.
Grade the seams, keeping the one at the outer yoke the largest.
press upwards
edgestitch outer yoke to seam allowances (fold inner yoke back as not to catch it).
Schijndel bloes

I had forgot to clip the upper edges of the yokes so thought to do so when they were already seamed to the back panel. Only I clipped dangerously close to the seam! So I sewed another seam close to it.:
Schijndel bloes
Now pressing upwards and edge stitching. Letting the pressed seam run in the middle of the little foot prong, the one on the left. Doing so the edgestitch is 1,5 mm from the edge.

7. FRONTS: darts and facing.
These darts are huge. Are they meant to remain like this or should they be graded and the edges treated? I guess so but I’ve resolved to just do as I’m told on this blouse, to learn the most that way.

finish edge of facing: fold under and stitch.
Attach facing to buttonband. press, apply interfacing. Press again, remembering “turn of cloth”: don’t fold at the seam but allow the frontpanel to fold over.

8. ATTACH FRONTS TO YOKE
front to inner yoke. Grade seams.
Fold outer yoke over. One side doesn’t fit nicely… the staystitching is showing, even after getting it apart again and redoing it.
I’m adding a decorative seam to the other side, so they at least look a bit more similar.

9. COLLAR

Assemble collar and stand and attach them.
Argh! This fabric is way too slippery, I didn’t manage to cut decent collars.
Didn’t manage to draft decent collars either… I don’t understand the explanations we got in the lesson very well.

Just drafting them as the homework told me they should. Using sewaholic’s tutorial and Page Coffin’s book for guidance in the sewing. Here’s a nice video for another method, attaching collar to stand and then them to the shirt.

here’s a good tutorial for drafting a stnd andcollar! By pattern cutter Emily Tao in the UK

10. SLEEVE PLACKET
I don’t understand the bottom of the sleeves… they are curved. While the cuff is a rectangle. Where should I place the placket? Leaving it.
this is my template:
placket sewing shirt sleeve placket
this tutorial by Sewaholic

I then did sew it. I combined the tutorial above with instructions from Page Coffin, page 103. I placed it 6 cm from the sideseam. Ignoring biased cut sideseam and curved bottom edge, just going by grain of the cloth.

11. SET SLEEVE
The side seam is stil open. Placing sleeve in armhole, right sides together. High top is the point of reference.
Pinning sleeve cap in place, with sleeve on top. Pinning at the stay stitching (= seam line), not at the cut edge.
To the back side the sleeve fits perfectly. All the extra circumference is in the front. Trying to ease it in at only the top front, not the front bottom.
there will be pleats… but I’m not rotating the sleeve, the high point is meant to sit at the shoulder “seam”.

I clipped it way too much, I misunderstood Page Coffin about the staystitching. Cannot make this into a decent felled seam. Just folding it once, finishing it with pinking shears.

Hmpf. The upper yoke has a different dimension than the lower one. The staystitching and clipping is showing on one side. It’s ok, this will be a practice shirt.

12. Hem.

13. closure: buttons. I don’t have any. By now the shirt was so clearly a study-shirt that I didn’t bother putting in buttonholes, buttons, a zipper or snaps. I would just pin it shut along the CF for fitting.

FITTING at the last day of the class.

Bodice fits well. Nice and smooth across the shoulders, enough room at the bust. Waist darts look awful though. They also run right up to the apex.

The sleeve is uncomfortable at the shoulder, due to to shape of the armhole in the front panel. At the natural shoulderseam the dent was too obvious. Sleeve width down the arm is ok as is the cuff. A bit too long, the sleeve. Sleeve placket and all topstitching is neat.

Never ever work with this slippery fabric again for a dress shirt.

My teacher drafted a new collar for me, as I had not understood the directions well enough. We amended the armhole a bit.

See next post for pictures.

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Well fitting sleeves that allow for movement: angle of set in.

I cut the self drafted sleeves and put them into the bodice. Looks alright….ish. We’re only looking at the upper part: shoulders and sleeve cap. Shoulder seam length seems ok. (the neck line still has 2 cm seam allowance so … Continue reading

New Sleeve and Armhole for Burda 6909 Blouse

Here is a RIDICULOUS GOOD EXPLANATION for why and how armholes and sleeves should be shaped: Ikat bag and her Kleenex box.

 pic by Ikat Bag. Go read the post, it’s truly excellent.

How I got to A NEW ARMHOLE.

Pinning the two side pieces together at the top of the sideseam, allowing them to pivot.

Alining them with a piece of rectangular paper, making sure that the grain lines run perfectly perpendicular. Secure with tape:

The resulting new armhole:

It’s more rotated forward than the original Burda armhole. The side seams are brought up higher, the whole is brought forward, with less curve at the back and with a shortened shoulder seam.

The idea is that the arm hole sits good and well against the body, it’s the sleeve that will do all the movement.

A NEW SLEEVE:

taking a piece of cord that matches the length of the armhole, 49 cm. That’s how long the upper curve of the sleeve must be. Not longer, not shorter.

I’m pleased to see it will bring the top of the shoulder cap down because a high shoulder cap might look stylish on a shirt but it’s meant for people who only keep their arms hanging down. Stylishly.

Boldly drawing the new shoulder cap. Freehand, based on the cord.

I went for width of sleeve of size 42, hoping to get more movement at the biceps. It didn’t. I could have gone with the 38 I originally cut and sewed. But then the cap would have come a tad higher too.

Notches were transferred too. I guessed that the top notch, indicating the shoulder seam, should remain in the same position. After attaching the sleeve I’m not so sure though. It was difficult fitting the sleeve in the armhole when insisting the top notch should be at  the shoulderseam.

SEWING the NEW SLEEVE inside the Burda bodice.

I couldn’t change the armhole of the Crazy Cat Lady Blouse, that was cut from the Burda pattern with a 1,5 cm seam allowance. But I could change the sleeves because I had a bit of fabric left and could cut a new pair of sleeves from it. The cats wouldn’t sit right side up but I prefer wonky cats over restriction of movement at the arms.

I took out the wrong sleeves and put them aside. They’re back in the fabric stash.

For the new sleeves I first traced the sewing line that fitted the armhole best, in orange thread:

the Backside:

Put in the first sleeve following these orange lines. Looks alright:

Still a bit restriction but better than the original sleeves:

Below is a comparison of both sleeves.
On the left the new sleeve, on the right still the original: straining around my arm. Even though, with the orange threaded stitch lines, the armhole is at a slightly better position than the Burda 6909 pattern prescribes:

Endresult for two new sleeves, after much difficulty putting in the second sleeve. (In the end I stitched it in by hand. It’s great how many times you can stitch and rip out this cotton fabric. It holds well.)

I lack the experience of easing in sleeves.

With another fabric I tried the whole new combination: new armhole, new sleeves.

The new armhole sat fantastic on my body!
When putting in the new sleeves I ran into trouble. The cap of the sleeve was bigger than the armhole. I thought I could work with this by making it less high, less curved. Because I had learned that the flatter it is, the more arm movement it gives.

This worked for one sleeve:

But with the second one I again had really difficulty easing it in. Changing the curve of the cap I followed a faulty line, now there’s a strange angle in there. The sleeve is not as comfortable as the other one. (But still better than Burda 6909).

I should probably take it out and resew it. And learn more about sleeves and about easing them in. Best would be to see someone doing it, watch some videos.