Okay, so that title belays the importance of this event. Sydney gets a new shirt...with buttons. A shirt that is not a T shirt. YEAH!!!!!!
Okay, I know, soon enough I'm going to want her to dress in sackcloth and ashes so boys won't look at her, but for now, I'm going to enjoy a pleasant change in style from her normal t-shirt and jeans or the less appealing tank top and basketball shorts.
After much begging, Sydney was taken to the fabric store and I wouldn't leave until she picked a shirt pattern and a piece of fabric. This is what she picked. She did so good. She even picked some cute transparent buttons for it. And, the pattern will make a great swimsuit cover-up if I can talk her into that, too.
So, while this is a basic shirt pattern, making shirts for girls is much different from making shirts for boys. First, there are bust darts. Never made one of those before. The shirt doesn't fit funny in the front, so I must have done okay. But, now that I've done it once, I'll be able to do better next time by trying to fit it on her instead of just making the darts indicated in the pattern.
I made this shirt on my newest working machine, a Singer Fashion Mate 237. This machine came from Goodwill and cost $35 and needed a small repair. I suspect it was sold at auction and returned because it wouldn't hold a needle. I bought it and fixed that problem and now I have a great little machine. She's heavy and she's quiet. She was very sluggish when I started and I've oiled and lubed her, but she still makes that annoying electric hum/sluggish start if the needle bar isn't at the fully up position when I start from a dead stop. But, once she gets going, she really goes. Good speed control and heavy duty. She is a zig-zag machine. Her feed dogs drop so she'd be good for free motion quilting. She doesn't have needle up and she won't make a blind hem stitch, but that's all the fault I can find with her. If I can find the spot that's causing that sluggish start and get some oil on it, even that should go away.
Because she's a zig-zag machine, there are instructions for making buttonholes in the manual. They were okay and I'm sure that if I'd spent enough time pfutzing with it, I could have gotten good at buttonholes. But, I didn't have that kind of time. So, I pulled out my trusty buttonhole attachment for a short shank machine and used it. I can always count on it to make a perfect buttonhole with no practice, just a couple minutes of setup.
I did use the zig-zag stitch to sew the buttons on. It was my first time to sew buttons on a machine other than my Pfaff, which has an automatic stitch for that. My efforts were overkill; too many stitches in each button, making the buttons hard to button. I'll cut the buttons off and do them again. It only took about 15 minutes the first time, so the effort will definitely be worth it.
If I were recommending machines, I would definitely recommend this machine. It's heavy...really heavy. But, if you can find one at a good price with a good motor, repairs are easy and parts are plentiful and cheap.
(Fade out sewing machine commercial, return to Sydney's shirt post in progress)
I'm hoping to make us each a shirt, so I was interested in time saving tips. I decided to make my seams on the serger and then sew them down with a straight topstitch so they'd look flatfelled from the outside without all the extra work.
This would have worked out better if I'd taken the time to press the seams before I sewed them down. Hey, live and learn.
There are also darts in the back to make the shirt look fitted. The pattern had these two tiny little darts that maybe took 1.5" out of a very full tunic style shirt. Ha! There's way more back to this shirt than there is front. So, I took out those dinky little darts and am going to try again. Bigger this time. She's very broad shouldered, narrowing at the waist and widening at the hips. Correct back darts should make this shirt do the same thing. Good thing I read all those sewing books about fitting clothes, huh?
So, why did this shirt take all day on Sunday, even with time saving steps? Because I had to learn to use the time saving steps. First, I was lubricating and oiling and learning to use the new machine, including some repair of the bobbin winding assembly. And, I had to set the tension on the serger again for 4 threads...that's a couple of hours for the inexperienced me where I change to 4 different colors of thread and then play with the tension until I get it right. And, the pattern had me assemble the shirt different than I'm used to and that took some getting used to. The sleeves were inserted after the rest of the shirt was finished and setting those sleeves into closed shoulders was...experiential.
Hopefully, the next shirt, a Hawaiian shirt for me will go quicker.
Well, that's the end of the post on Sydney's shirt. She loves it. I love it. Everybody is happy. When we were in JoAnn's on Sunday for some other stuff, she found another pattern and fabric for another shirt. Hmmmm. Be careful what you wish for, right?