I have a folder on the desktop of my laptop called "Stress free sewing." In it I put all my ideas on how to put clothes together in the most laid back way possible. I have had an idea that this would be a good book someday, but I doubt if any one would publish it.
It takes a real garment sewer, maybe not a publisher, to understand how much stress sewing the complicated way can be, and how important it is to discover a way to do the most challenging jobs in ways that are relaxing.
But then again I have you.
I sew a lot of shirts for the men in my family. I love them but I don't always find the process that easy. Men are so much more particular than women. Maybe this is because they have only a few categories of clothing, shirts pants and tee shirts for example, and so have time to get really precise about preferences. I know my four year old grandson already has a long list of things he doesn't wear - unlike his sisters who will wear any outfit providing it involves at least four different prints and sparkles somewhere.
Over time I have figured it out. I know who wants their short sleeves 1/4" shorter, and who wants them a 1/4" longer. I know who has the largest neck and the longest arms. And who doesn't. It has taken my a few years but the fits and preferences are in the memory bank.
Which leaves me with technique.
I want to make these shirts without fussing around with them. So here are some of the techniques, all the work arounds I do to minimize mistakes and extra effort. It might take me a few blog posts to do it all but for a start tonight I will talk about this shirt and the tools that helped me make it.
This is my son-in-law again. I used to always say he was nicer to me than my own children until they told me not to say that any more, but really he is. I made this shirt out of a really light chambray so he would wear it to work or someplace in the hotter weather:
His 6'5" and I think I got the length right, for the untucked look.
Since the fabric was so fine I definitely didn't want a fusible interfacing so I used a sewn-in that I basted to both the collars and collar bands - I always interface both so they behave the same way when I sew them together. I don't sweat it and just use a big basting stitch to do this:
I keep the stitches big to just hold because after I stitch the pieces together it is quick to just pull the basting out and then trim the interfacing really close to the stitching line with my duck bill scissors.
The other thing I had to think about with this fabric was topstitching. I always figure it is really important to keep things to scale. A thin fabric meant I really had to topstitch close the all edges - edge stitch really- to match the fineness of the fabric.
However since I was committed to stress free construction I pulled out the edge stitching foot that gives me such a nice big ridge to keep on the edges of fabric - so even if my mind wandered, and it always does, my stitching wouldn't. Here is the picture of that foot, although my actual foot is an older version Bernina foot, same idea:
|Front shirt placket|
The other tool that I considerate frustration reducing is a straight stitch foot.
One of the most annoying things that can happen when you start a seam of course is that the fabric gets pushed down that wide space in the throat plate that is there to accommodate the swing of the zig-zag foot. The straight stitch foot reduces that area and really stabilizes the stitching area as a result, which makes for nicer stitch quality too:
|Of course I don't need to tell you not to zig zag with this foot.|
So that's a beginning on my low stress shirt making. Tomorrow why don't we talk about collars and the dreaded collar stand? I have touched on this in the blog before but I think I have better pictures now and easy is always worth repeating.