November 3, 2011 § 5 Comments
Finish and Reveal! Today’s the day.
Don’t rush your finishings. Not that you would. But friends don’t let friends hem in a rush… or do buttonholes in a rush… or in my case today, do snaps in a rush.
The pattern calls for snaps but you can also do buttons and buttonholes.
For the snaps, I used the mini-anorak snaps from Dritz- these are called post snaps, opposed to prong snaps, which also work for this shirt. Here’s a tutorial for the prong snaps. I already had the tools, also from Dritz, so I chose to use what I already knew and had on hand. Besides that you need a hammer. I’ve had good luck with these tools and can recommend them, not just from this project but from two others.
Here’s a visual so you can see the difference between post and prong snaps:
The directions in the book don’t go into visual or written detail as to how you should apply the snaps. The packaging on the snap tools and snaps also doesn’t give you a ton of visual instructions. Check out this video from beSewStylish on how to attach post snaps. Below you’ll see some of my photos of the process.
First, follow the directions from the book and measure out and mark how far apart the snaps should be placed. I marked them with a felt tip marker. Measure twice, mark once.
In the photo below, you can see the capped post on the left and the socket on the right.
Make the holes along the closure strip where you marked for the snaps. I put the capped posts on first, and see that I ended up putting them on the opposite side of the shirt than the book shows. I was going off one of my husband’s shirts.
Follow either the pictures below or the youtube video I linked above.
Just make sure that you align the socket on the clamp (with the right tool- the back of your tool kit will help with this) so that yours looks just like mine in the picture below before you set the snap, aka. pound it with your hammer.
I was setting snaps on another project a couple of months ago and didn’t notice that my socket wasn’t aligned and ended up wasting a couple of them.
Next, the post and stud. To mark the second side, I aligned the first side so that I’d match up the capped posts, rather than remeasure and possibly end up with mismatching my attaching units and closure units.
I hope all this snap talk was helpful.
Finally, the Reveal!
I absolutely love this shirt and I’m planning on making another at some point. The second time around is bound to be easier.
Things to check out:
Karen’s blog- One Girl Circus
A Flickr Pool for Sewing for Boys creations
And last, but not least, my Sew Along partner, Krista, from TharSheSews. She was looking for a sew along for this shirt and since we couldn’t find one, decided to sew along together. I hope it’s been helpful.
November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
We are soooo close.
Today, we’re forming and attaching the collar. Don’t be intimidated by collars. Just do them. Worst thing that can happen is that you attach it upside down, you rip out the seams and attach it right side up!
Yeah, that’s what happened to me. As I was attaching it the wrong way, I had this feeling in my candy and chocolate filled gut that was telling me that something was wrong.
Listen to your gut! Yes, that does mean that if your gut says, “Eat more chocolate!” that I’m giving you permission to do so. But then again, who am I? Anywho. Back to sewing. If your instincts tell you something looks wrong, you’re probably right.
Oops! I just noticed that the lower left box says Step 27 and it should read Step 28.
I hope these photos help you see which side is the top (which you sew with right sides together). I do wish there had been more photos and/or diagrams for this section. I’m such a newbie at collars.
I searched online for a tutorial on how to do a rolled collar but either I’m impatient (likely) or there’s very little out there. If you see such a tutorial, would you link it in the comments? Thanks.
Here go more process photos.
Steps 26-30. Understandably, it doesn’t look like 5 steps but I remember breezing through this… the second time. Once you get which is the top raw edge, you’re golden.
The bias cut under collar really will stretch enough to match up to your upper collar. I can see why you’d cut the under collar on the bias. You end up with a nicely fit collar overall and I think it’s due to having the under collar pull a little when it’s all done.
Again, if you’re also new to collars and advanced patterns, don’t skip over the understitching of the under collar. It helps the collar lie flat. And if you’re like me, you’ll end up understitching everything that just begs to be understitched. It’s such a handy technique to know about and perform.
In Step 30, you’re supposed to “trim the seam allowance, clip the corners at an angle, and clip in along the curves.” I left the seam allowance and left the corners unclipped, though I did clip along the curves. My mom always clips corners but in making Podegis (a baby carrier I sell), I don’t clip the corners of the straps and have found that the corners then are sturdier than the clipped corners. I’ve also clipped a corner too far only to find a hole after turning.
I’m big into pressing as I sew. You can see that I only minimally pinned the upper collar before topstitching it. I opted not to use double-sided basting tape. I felt comfortable enough pressing with a really hot iron (burned myself at one point during the making of this shirt) and I think the result is pretty darn impeccable. I’m thrilled with myself.
One of the tools that came in handy with the collar was my pressing ham. You’ve seen it in the pictures above. Also, I mentioned the really hot iron I use. It’s an iron I bought at a second hand store. This bad boy gets hot. So hot that one pass and my seam is pressed open. It’s very handy. My other irons (I have two that don’t get love) just don’t get as hot and I find I get frustrated, even with steam. My bad boy iron can take water but I usually just have a bottle of distilled water on hand to create steam when needed.
Tomorrow’s the day, peeps! We finish the shirt! Can you believe it? Anyone sewing along?
November 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
Today we’re attaching the yoke and sleeves, Steps 14-25.
We’re more than half way done! However, today is the big day. Today you’ll be doing the trickiest part. Only because we’ll be sewing around some tight corners. After this, you’re pretty much home free.
As you can see above, it’s pretty straight forward. Back of the neck, sewn; sleeves, sewn. Move on.
This was the trickiest part for me. You just have to take it slow, especially around the curves and especially if you’re going to sew over the pins. I’m not a huge fan of sewing over pins. I think my stitches get all wonky but it does help keep things together. If you want perfection, pin first, then hand baste, take out the pins, machine stitch and take out the basting.
Me? I pin and machine stitch. I hope the pictures help.
Again, a tricky part because you’re sandwiching the outer yoke/sleeve with the body and the yoke/sleeve lining. If you have a doubt about how it should look, baste your layers together, just in case.
Here you see Step 21, or at least the clipping of the yoke seam around the curve. Now to the part I did differently. Instead of following Steps 23 and 25 (I did follow Step 24) for the sleeve, I decided to make my own bias binding out of my print fabric. It turned out rather narrow and looks like piping, if you ask me, and I almost remade my bias tape, but decided I liked it.
Here is a great tutorial for how to make bias binding that Sarai, owner and designer of Colette Patterns, put up on her blog. I agree with her that making your own bias binding is one of the coolest things you can do and it adds a touch that store bought binding just can’t provide.
Now that we got through this yoke bit, I think we can relax a little. They are calling this an advanced pattern, after all.
Come back tomorrow to form and attach the collar and see another mistake I made.
A special thank you to Blue Cricket Designs for the tutorial on how to make your own basic photo collages using Picnik. See, I did it!
October 31, 2011 § 4 Comments
Today we’re assembling the shirt body, aka Steps 9-13.
When you begin sewing the sides to the fronts, take your time and you’ll be very happy with the results. Below you can see one front piece stitched to one side piece and the other two waiting for me to take this picture.
This is known as Step 9. Don’t skip the topstitching. It is not only a beautiful finishing touch, it also keeps the seam allowances from moving.
Step 11 all pinned up. What you see below is the back panel pinned to both of the side panels. I like pinning as much as possible so that I can then just sit at the sewing machine and stitch away.
The seams finished with my serger.
I topstitched everything at 1/8″ instead of the 1/4″ stated in the directions, mostly out of habit. There are certain things I can’t control, like the 1cm seam allowances I tend to do without thinking. Another reason I like these patterns. All the seam allowances are 3/8″, instead of the larger 5/8″ you see in pattern from the big four. (3/8th is very close to 1cm)
My mom learned how to sew in Colombia when we were little so everything she learned is in centimeters. She’s from the States but get her talking about hems and seam allowances and she switches immediately to Spanish.
All pressed and ready for the closure strips to sew on.
On to the closures. If you’ve got a directional pattern, make sure that you’ve prepped the closure strips correctly. This is Step 13. The diagram in the directions is very helpful.
Here I’ve folded the closure strip around to the front and topstitched it down.
I feel the need to apologize for not adding more notes and comments. The directions are so clear to me. That said, I’m a very visual person and I know how much I appreciate seeing the process photos of something I’m trying to make. I hope this sew along is helping even just one of you out there.
We’re doing it! We’re so close. From what I’ve noticed in my own sewing, you can build a lot of skill when you take your time. You see how a lot of my pictures are taken on the ironing board. Sewing really doesn’t mean sewing. It also means a lot of ironing. The more you embrace the ironing, for one, the more you might enjoy your final product.
I also recommend that you embrace topstitching. It not only makes your work look top notch, it also helps keep seams in place. It’s crisp even after a wash.
Come back tomorrow for the yoke/sleeve portion.
October 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
Today, we’re preparing the details. Krista over at TharSheSews and I are really just following the book and the directions for this shirt are really great. You’re going to get a lot our of Sewing for Boys.
You can see how the interfacing twisted a bit. I’m not letting it bother me.
Do yourself a favor and go over to see the pictures Krista has up on her blog, TharSheSews for the box pleat. You’ll be glad you did.
Tomorrow we’re assembling the body.
If you’re just joining in now, go to Day 1, pick out your fabrics, gather your supplies, cut out your pattern pieces and prep the details. You’ll be all set for tomorrow.
October 29, 2011 § 3 Comments
Today we’re talking about cutting. Before I get into cutting the fabric, I’d like to highly recommend tracing the pattern you’ll be using. I like to do my tracing onto Swedish Tracing Paper. Buy it either here, here or here. It’s transparent enough you can see through to the original pattern and sturdy enough you can actually sew it together. This works well when you want to test the fit before cutting your fabric.
Tracing your pattern leaves the original ready for when you need the next size up.
Here are some of my tips for cutting:
- First off, make sure your fabric is ironed before you cut. Any wrinkling can add width or length where the pattern doesn’t call for it.
- I like to use tailor’s chalk to trace out the pattern onto the fabric. I use weighted objects to keep the pattern still while I trace, making the cutting easier for me.
- Make sure you’re cutting on grain. This just means that the arrows on the pattern need to be parallel to the selvedge. The yoke/sleeve pattern piece and the under collar are cut on the bias. They’ve made it easy for us by putting the direction line on the pattern so you still make sure it’s parallel to the selvedge.
- Once you’ve traced each pattern piece, you’re free to cut, and then if you need to trace it onto the contrasting fabric, just place the pieces down and begin tracing again. I made my alterations directly onto the fabric. I’ll show how below.
- Don’t forget to transfer any markings from the pattern such as the pocket placement, which in my case I had to lower since I added length to my shirt.
- Keep everything organized so you know where to find all your pieces. This is especially important in my messy style of organization. I usually line things up on the ironing board. I put the collar pieces together, the fronts together, and so on.
Normally, I alter the pattern piece but since I knew I only needed to add length to the Henry Shirt, I did it directly onto the fabric.
Below you can see where I used the tailor’s chalk. It’s very handy.
The yellow chalk can still be seen on my white non-fusible interfacing, which is always a yay! moment. It’s light but it’s still readable.
Out of the interfacing, you’re cutting 1 of the upper collar and 1 of the closure strip. The closure strip interfacing you then cut in half lengthwise.
Now, here’s a little mishap I had. I started placing the side panel on the fold of my President’s fabric. I started cutting and slowly realized I had placed the pattern on the fabric upside down. What was I thinking?? Answer: I wasn’t. You can even see that the fabric is upside down through the Swedish Tracing Paper cos it’s pretty transparent. A plus I obviously didn’t really make use of.
I had even started lining up the boxes of Presidents so that the sides would be symmetrical and intentional. Then I went to trace and cut out the yoke/sleeve piece and also placed it wrong on the fabric. The Prez heads were completely upside down.
Now that I’ve thought more about it, I realize it’s the lining and it would’ve been fine to leave them upside down. My hubby even helped out by saying that some of the Presidents weren’t that good, anyway. Thanks, amor.
I did scrap the Presidential nod for another print that came out of a friends’ stash. She actually gave me her whole stash and is focusing on her photography business. Check her out here.
Here’s the print. You’ve probably seen it all over the internet. I’ve seen it lots on Etsy. It’s a catchy one.
I had weird scraps so I had to place everything and make design decisions before tracing the pattern and cutting. Here’s the under collar. I chose to use a smaller part of this rather sizable repeat.
I wasn’t too concerned with the closure strips, though I had to remember to add the 2″ so they would match the shirt.
Now, here’s me trying to figure out how it all will go together to see how I want to work the different fabrics.
Below I’m trying to figure out how I like the fabrics together on the shirt. The pic below has all the brown showing with the print as a pop of color. This is how the pattern has you make up the shirt.
But I do have enough to make the collar out of the print cotton.
And, of course, I could also make the sleeves match the sides and the collar match the fronts. I did take the time to try to (sorta) match the sleeves. It would be nice for everyone else to see it.
I love the options with a pieced shirt. You really do get to play around.
Go cut everything out, play with what you’ve got, and come back tomorrow to start putting the details on the shirt before we piece the body together.
For tomorrow you’ll need the closure strip pieces, the upper collar pieces and the pockets. Set the rest aside for later.
If you’re reading along not sure whether you want to sew up this shirt, take my word for it, small shirts are great to practice on. See you tomorrow!
October 28, 2011 § 4 Comments
Welcome! If you’re new to my blog, please get ready. We’re gonna have fun. Don’t forget to leave your blog URL in the comments if you want me to link you up. That way, others who may come in later, can see what we’ve all been working on. When we’re all done, I’ll post pictures of our finished Henry Shirts! Also, please visit TharSheSews, as Krista and I are doing this Sew Along together. She’s blogging from her end and I, from mine.
We’re going to be working from the recently published Sewing for Boys book. These patterns are really, really cute. Let’s start with the Henry Shirt. I’ll start by talking about supplies:
- Main Fabric and Contrasting Fabric (check size for yardage)
- Coordinating Thread
- 5 snaps or buttons (I’m going to use snaps)
- Point turner
- Fusible lightweight interfacing (I’m using non-fusible)
- Double-sided basting tape (optional)
Linen/cotton blend, shot cotton, soft old sheets, quilting cotton, baby wale corduroy, shirting.
I’m going with a combination of a brown linen/cotton blend for the Main Fabric and a Presidents quilting cotton for the Coordinating Fabric (my hubby is a Prez nerd and I think he’ll get a kick out of it).
Don’t skip this next step: Wash and dry your fabrics and your interfacing. Press your fabrics. Don’t press your fusible interfacing.
I’m still learning about fabrics and drape and all that so my advice on this topic is limited. It’s always recommended to hold your fabric and see how it falls from your hand. Scrunch it up to see how it handles wrinkling. You really just want something with not too much drape.
Any other tips on choosing fabric? Leave them in the comments.
A little talk about fit
Before choosing the size of the pattern to cut out, check the measurements of your child (more likely, another shirt that is of similar fabric, that fits with room to grow). Then, go to the book and choose the pattern that more closely resembles the shirt you’re measuring. Or if you’re making a shirt for a couple of seasons in the future, you can probably just go with the next size up.
I’m going with the size 2/3 but I’ll be making one modification.
If you follow my other blog, The Three Dresses Project, in some ways the big sister blog to bilingual baby, you know I’m always working on fitting patterns. While I have to say that sewing for my kids provides stress-free sewing and I get to spend more time on different techniques, I still take into consideration that my daughter has legs up to her chin and my son has the longest torso since Plastic Man, which affects pant rise and shirt lengths.
I took one of the shirts that fits him (with a bit of length to grow) and placed it on top of the pattern to see how it measured up. The shirt I used is a size 4T. I’m always amazed that it fits my son so well, since he just turned 3 at the end of August. What I found was that I wanted to add 2″ to the length of my Henry Shirt. I added it to the back, front, side, and closure strip.
But, hey, I’m getting into tomorrow’s territory, Cutting!
Make sure you wash and iron your fabric. You really don’t want to have your finished garment shrink.
Who’s sewing along?
Karen at Patterns by Figgy’s (yes, this is one of the designers from Sewing for Boys)
Krista at TharSheSews
October 25, 2011 § Leave a Comment
UPDATE 11/3/11: The Sew Along is over but don’t fret, you can click through Days 1- 7 below and sew your own Henry Shirt. Feel free to leave me a link to your blog or photo album so I can see your creation.
So, Krista from TharSheSews and I are gearing up for doing a double host Sew Along, she on her blog and me on mine. We talked through a schedule to give everyone who wants to participate and here is what we’ve got.
Introductions, supplies list, and picking out fabric. I’ll also be talking a little about fit and adjusting for your child’s body. We’re also going to add your links so if you’ll be sewing along we can link you up.
Prepping details and any catch-up.
Assemble the body.
Attach yoke and sleeves.
Finishing and Reveal.
I’m so excited. Join in now by getting the Sewing for Boys book!
If you want you can also read along and then sew your Henry shirt later. I know how much I love sewing for my little boy. You can give him choices ready made clothes don’t offer boys. Y’know, like different colors and cooler (non sports/trains/cars related) or you can add in vintage prints. It’s endless.
A huge benefit TharSheSews blog and I have is that the designers for Sewing for Boys are going to be with us on our sew along! I’m super excited. This means that if you don’t get something, the two women who made this book happen will be here to chime in with any helpful tips. (I’m such a sewing nerd. I giggle each time I see them commenting on my blog or on twitter. Hehe)
Ok. Enough of me. I’ll start blogging for the Sew Along this Friday. Stay tuned.
October 18, 2011 § 4 Comments
If you haven’t had the chance to peruse this awesome book, then run off to look at it. Click on the picture above and you’ll go directly to Pattern by Figgy’s Etsy page where you can order a copy.
I had been wanting to see this book the minute I caught wind of it. Seeing some of the garments made up at The French Seam for Figgy’s Trunk Show was also a treat. I can really see how they put the book together. You really can make a whole wardrobe for your kid from these patterns. They can take your little boy from the playground to your cousin’s wedding.
We’re going to start next week. I’ll start blogging about it on Friday, the 27th.
So, if you’d like to join us, please do! I’ll be posting here as I go along and I’ll be sure to share Krista’s Sew Along posts, too. We’re bonded by having 3 year old’s. If you have one then you know what I mean.
For now, I have only traced the size I want to use (the 2/3) and I’m going to leave it until next week. In that time, look at the pattern to see if you want to sew with us. I think it’ll be fun.
Let’s see if we can work this shirt in a week. But hey, don’t stress it. If you can’t sew it up along with us, you can always come back later and sew it along in your own time.
Remember there’s a lot to prep before we can get sewing, so first get the book and start thinking about your fabrics and the size you want to use.
If you feel like joining in our fun, comment below, linking to your blog or your flickr page or wherever people can find your work in progress.
Let the fun begin!