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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Shirts and Scarlett

Miss Scarlett and I were on our own this weekend with her parents away at a wedding and my better half still in the land of the midnight sun (but back the end of the week).

This morning I am considering my sewing life and drinking a quiet coffee after an action packed few days.

Here she is in a toy stroller with Pinky Bear. It turns out it was Pinky's weekend to get toilet trained so he spent a far amount of time being fished out of the toilet, washed and then blow dried. He is making some progress but apparently not enough. Day two we had to put him back in diapers. (By the way those are pen marks on her arm - we move fast when Babs is on the phone.)

Miss Scarlett really is our girl and a bit of a conversationalist. When I went to get her up after a nap on Saturday she took one look at me and said "Nice dress Babs, did you make it yourself?" This kid and I will have a lot to talk about.

I spent my evenings doing semi-horizontal knitting and nap times making shirts.

I have two going for the on his way to NYC son. I made him one a year ago and his comment was that the collar was weird and so I have delayed trying another one while I thought about that.

We talked about it last visit and it turns out he was sort of waiting for more shirts and that I had "nailed the fit" and really all the collar needed was a tiny bit shaved off and a place for collar stays.

Being female I don't have a lot of collar stay experience but can see now that they are a good idea. Hold the points up but don't require crazy heavy interfacing.

Gigi has a great tutorial on a really easy collar stay method that doesn't use buttonholes and I did that and am super pleased with the results:

This is what the underside of the collar looks like with the collar stay patch on it - I am making a striped and a plain blue shirt but thought the striped showed best how the grain goes.

Of course I didn't get the stripes matched - the collar has shape and the stay is folded on grain - not that I tried very hard, since this is on the underside.

I also revived a memory of how to do the shirt pocket hem:

1. Fold the top hem allowance to the inside.
2. Fold it down again.
3. Stitch through all layers along the fold 1/4."
4. From the right side press the fold down.

Now I know this shirt fits I am very much enjoying the zen of this sewing project. The details are so precise and clean and classic. The cotton presses so nicely. 

Men's sewing is so different. All the fit fussing just isn't there. This makes me think for the upteempth time that male dress, collar stand shirts, blazer type jackets and pants with flys, are really not natural garments on the female body and a lot of work to get to fit. Tell me what is less stress to sew? A dress or a fitted jacket?

While I was sewing these shirts I was reminded of how much I enjoy sewing machines. That straight stitch plate makes all the difference to being able to top stitch around collars without losing a stitch or packing them up at the corners.

Quite a few years ago I did some part-time work for some sewing machine companies as an educator. It was a bit of an indulgence and something I gave up when work got really busy. It was so much fun though. One of the best things I did was was when one of the companies send me their complete line and I wrote sort of demo guides for them comparing and emphasizing features.

Can you imagine how great it was to have all those machines to test and play with? I am a bit wistful about that. I would love to have machines to review - there are so many new features out there and cruising the net over the weekend I wondered to myself how would anyone ever figure out what suited them? It's all pretty overwhelming.

I wonder if I contacted a few of the companies what would happen?


a little sewing said...

If you find yourself testing sewing machines, you will reinforce the interestingness of your blog, so I will call that a good idea.
Your little Miss Scarlett is the most adorable child I have ever seen. Yes, it's true.

A tailored jacket or a dress? That would be like choosing between pasta and salad. I can't live without either. I'll sew anything.

Eugenia said...

Miss Scarlett is very cute and pretty! It sounds like she might be sewing her own clothes very soon as she is already taking a keen interest in yours. Testing sewing machines sounds like a lot of fun!

gwensews said...

What a sweet little face! I'll bet she's kept you busy! I know because I too have grandchildren. Love them, but man-they are a handfull!

Jane M said...

Miss Scarlett definitely has your great eye for style. Sounds like she'll be needing her own machine quite soon. And what fun that must have been to work with all those different machines. Thank you also for that collar tutorial reminder since I have one or two to get done this summer.