10/21/14

How not to make the perfect shirt

Like Edison, I think I have discovered 700 ways not to make the perfect shirt.  When I have eliminated all the ways not to make the perfect shirt, I will be able to make the perfect shirt.

Right.

Right?

If you’ve followed me for a while, then you know that I have failed over and over…and over.  Close, but no cigar.  Some, I can even wear out of the house.  Maybe not under bright lights, but out of the house.  I have tried a half dozen commercial patterns.  I have measured.  I have drawn.  I have cut out and sewn together.  But, not quite it. 

Last weekend, I tried again.  And, I accidentally ended up with a great fitting shirt.  Not perfect, but very close.

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It started with some studying. 

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And, a whole lot of thinking and planning.  And, then, I sat in the floor for two and a half hours and converted a commercial pattern to the dimensions of my favorite shirt.  I had an XXL shirt I had already disassembled.  I cut the seams out of most of it and picked out the things that had finished seams.  , but when I laid my newly drawn pattern on it, the fabric was already cut smaller than my pattern pieces. 

Uh-oh.  So, nothing to lose, I put it together for practice.  And, weirdly, it fit.  It fit very nicely.  The collar and cuffs are still too large, but otherwise, it fits. And, I added extras, like my name embroidered in the inside yoke and my initials on the cuff.

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Hey, why not?  It was all for practice, right?  It was just the merest of coincidences that it actually fit and I can wear it out in public. 

Next, I cut a muslin out of the pattern I’d drawn and when I put it together, it was way too big.  Go figure.  I fiddled with it and cut it and added pieces back to it and cut it again and marked it with a sharpie and then I just got tired and threw it away.  There was no sense in continuing to fiddle with something I had fiddled with so much.  And putting it in the trash on trash day was the only real solution for my OCD.  I never blinked when Rob took it out. 

Then, I tried on my favorite shirt and realized that I like a really big shirt.  So, maybe the fit I’m trying to achieve isn’t what I really feel comfortable in.  Maybe I need to try a different fit.  And a different size pattern.  So, I took the shirt I had put together apart.  Not completely, but sufficiently to trace it onto paper.  I took off one cuff, opened up the side and sleeve, took off the sleeve, the collar and the collar stand.  Even if I didn’t end up with a shirt, I was dang sure going to end up with a pattern that fit.

And, after it was traced, I put the shirt back together. 

Unfortunately, that didn’t leave time to try another muslin, but I will.  Soon.  Like maybe I’ll cut it out tomorrow morning. 

I am nothing if not stubbor…uhm, persistent.  That’s it.  I’m persistent. 

Meanwhile, I have developed great skills at assembling a shirt.  I am really proud of the skill part.  So, if I ever get a pattern to fit, I’ll sure have the workmanship skills to get it together. 

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  No, I couldn’t wear the shirt today.  It still needs buttons and buttonholes on collar and cuff.  But, soon. 

Lane