The Henry Shirt Sew Along – Day 2

October 29, 2011 § 4 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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!


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