Sew. Rip. Repeat.

If you've followed me for a while, then you know that I am trying to learn to make clothes. At heart, I am still a quilter. There is very little that is more pieceful than sitting at my Bernina, drawing beautiful shapes on fabric with thread. And, I'm a willing piecer because I need something on which to quilt. So, learning to make clothes was just play. Another way to spend time at a sewing machine and end up with something usable.

But, my perfectionist tendencies don't work well with "playing" at making clothes. As my skills developed from making lounging pants and boxer shorts, I slid on into shirts. And, after a few men's shirts, I've started sewing for the girl.

When I made my first men's shirt, I was working in a sew along. I made a muslin that turned out good enough to wear around the house. Then, I made another muslin that was good enough to wear in the yard. And, then I made a shirt that was good enough to wear to the office. I still haven't made the official dress shirt, but that's just because the season changed and I started making summer clothes.

Wearable muslins kind of defeat the point of the muslin in the first place. And, no matter what you make the muslin out of, it costs money. So, I decided that I could get away without making the muslin. BIG MISTAKE.

I made Rob a shirt that was way too small. Then, I made Rob a shirt that was a little bit too small. Then, I made me a shirt that was way too big. Then, I made Sydney a shirt that fit perfect, but was supposed to be really big. Then, I made Sydney a shirt where the waistline was where the bust line should be and was so tight that she had to wriggle into it like a worm.

Now, I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I'm smart enough to know that if I'm going to keep making clothes, I've got to start making muslins. Disposable muslins. And, I only have to make one per pattern and I can store it in the zip top bag with the original pattern and my tracing. Because all this picking out stitching and picking out serging is taking as much time as making the muslin would in the first place. A muslin doesn't need all the finishing. It doesn't need good stitching...basting is enough. And, it doesn't matter what the fabric is made of. As a quilter, I've avoided polyester like it carried the plague. As a garment sewer? Bring it on; the uglier the better.

That just leaves the hurdle of my aversion to wasting fabric. Solution? Garage sale sheets. I stopped at one sale this morning, but she didn't have any. I'm right around the corner from a Goodwill "outlet" store. Never been to one of those and don't understand how it would work since all the stuff Goodwill sells is donated, but I think I'm going to stop by there this afternoon on the way home and see if I can get some ugly, cheap sheets that I won't mind cutting up and that I can rationalize are getting a new life as a test garment. What better final destination can there be for an ugly and unloved piece of fabric. Now, I just need to find an ugly and unloved piece of fabric. Oh, without finding a fantastic piece of fabric that I just have to have, which is what will happen if I go for muslin in a fabric store.

And Sydney's little blue and brown top? I added two strips down the side seams to give her an extra 4" and I re-cut the upper front, wide enough that it moved the waistline down to her actual waist. But, I would gladly smack the person at Simplicity that produced the pattern envelope. They said a 40" bust would be a girl's size 18, so I made a size 18. But, the finished bust was only 39". Not only did they leave out the wearing ease, but the finished diameter wasn't as big as the printed body measurement.

Hopefully there will be some modeling this weekend as she looks great in it now that adjustments have been made

Take care. Have a great weekend. If you're in the U.S., enjoy the holiday. If you're in Minnesota, stay safe and avoid anarchy as you are currently ungoverned.



Laura said...

Don't feel bad about making clothes that don't fit! I've been sewing garments about 20 years and still have fitting issues. Making a muslin is a great idea. There are also fitting classes that are most helpful. Good luck!

Michelle said...

That is EXACTLY why I gave up learning to make garments. You also have to realize (and you probably do) that you can buy two shirts of the same size and brand, and they won't fit the same. You can also buy two patterns of the same size, but different companies and get a different size. I am a 'larger' lady and wear the same things because it is just so painful to find clothing to fit me. I usually buy men's shirts because they give me more room, but I can buy same size, different manufacturers, and one will fit with plenty of room, and others wont' even close. So frustrating! I am short waisted and thick waisted too, so buying women's clothing is just not possible. If I can get them to fit around the waist, the crotch in women's slacks are halfway to my knees, and I have lots of rearend room! I they fit in the rearend, there is NO WAY I could get them around my waist, and if I could, they would crush my RIBS. I wear men's jeans. They are short waisted, and fit better. Yes, I am an odd duck. Count your blessings!

I LOVE GOODWILL. In fact, I was going to suggest sheets when the next thing I read was you were going to Goodwill. Goodwill is an organization who helps the less fortunate, and with disabilities find jobs and learn independence. A wonderful organization.

Have a wonderful weekend. I look forward to seeing your sewing progress.

Anonymous said...

It helps as you lay out your pattern, before cutting, to use a tape measure on the pattern to figure your inches around or length etc.

I still usually make a fugly practice shirt when I have a new pattern. Then....when I have a success, I make several shirts off the same pattern, changing them up..using a floral, then a solid, varying the neckline, sleeve, trim, etc. It'a amazing how they look so little alike with minor changes.

I enjoy your blog...and still read everyday, tho I haven't commented in a long time. My bad. hee,... Well, I hope you and yours have a great holiday. Yeah for long weekends!

~ PattiLynn

lw said...

I've made a lot of clothes, and I've never used a muslin. What I do is measure the key parts of the pattern to ensure that it will fit-- if I use a pattern. I've gotten better results from drafting my own patterns. What I do for fitted shirts/jackets/costumes is have the person I'm sewing for get into an old, sacrificial t-shirt, which I then proceed to complete tape over with duct tape-- the whole torso. I mark the true waist, the bustline, the shoulder seams, and then I draw side seams and cut it off along the side and shoulder seams. This is used to draft from to ensure fit.

Anonymous said...

It will get better. Definitely keep the frustration down by remaking a pattern that you have fitting well. Men's shirts don't change all that much. I have seen people using men's patterns I used for my dh in the 1980s. Measure some items you like and already like wearing to compare the ease before you take the scissors to the fabric. Sheets are great for muslins and don't overlook lined/unlined curtains, and table cloths at the thrift as they have a lot of fabric that can be used for woven muslins. Different thrifts charge different amounts for the sheets and draperies. One that I like to go to get the muslin pieces is $1 per piece or $5 for a bag stuffed full regardless of the size so shop around. I am really cheap about some things and would never whack into nice fabric on the first try with a pattern-just can't stand the waste of ruining good fabric. You have a nice holiday as well. mssewcrazy

Elizabeth said...

Simplicity is not my favorite line of patterns. They take shortcuts in the construction method for 'simplicity's' sake. If I use their patterns, I always do it the right way. McCall's is my favorite, followed by Butterick and Vogue, although Vogue is very advanced and Butterick is moderately advanced.

That being said, I still want the pattern number for the top you made Sydney. It looked really cute. Although, I HATE doing pattern alterations.

xo -E

P.S. good luck with finding ugly fabric.

Glenn Dragone said...

I give you credit! I always wanted to try to make clothes but turned "chicken" in the end.

I must put it on my list of things to try to tackle.

Happy 4th

Becky said...

I started making my clothes in the 4th grade (4-H projects). All through high school the large majority of my wardrobe was items I had made. Since I was such a skinny Minnie fitting wasn't much of a problem. As I got larger....in places where large is NOT beautiful.....the fitting became a trial so I just gave it up. Hope you were lucky enough to find some sheets! You are a brave man and face challenges well, my friend. Love ya! Becky