The Henry Shirt Sew Along – Day 4

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.


The Henry Sew Along – Day 3

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.

I used non-fusible interfacing which is why I basted it.

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.

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. 🙂 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!

The Henry Shirt Sew Along- Day 1

October 28, 2011 § 8 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:

You’ll need:

  • 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)

Recommended Fabrics:

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

Henry Shirt Sew Along Schedule

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.

Day 1
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.

Day 2

Day 3
Prepping details and any catch-up.

Day 4
Assemble the body.

Day 5
Attach yoke and sleeves.

Day 6

Day 7
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.

The Henry Shirt Sew Along

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.

So, when Krista (@tharshesews on Twitter and her blog) started asking if anyone was doing a Sew Along for the Henry Shirt (pictured below), I jumped in and suggested we do a 2 person SA.

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!

Playing with Everything

October 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m alive. Just not blogging a ton here. No real reason. Lots going on. I’m knitting again. That’s great fun. It’s also something I can take with me. The sewing machine was proving to be too heavy for playground outings.

I went to a second hand kids store in town and picked up some shoes for the little boy, a pair for the girl (extra sparkly), and some mega blocks.

The mega blocks are sure a perfect fit for these kids. They’re the kind of toy that allows for the child’s imagination to create the story. Last week they made a bunch of buildings and then added train tracks around the buildings to make a city. Today, the blocks are part of the girl’s store, where she sells pencils.

While I say that I prefer these open play toys, my kids have been known to use the tray from the Melissa & Doug Birthday Cake toy set as a boat, and the spatula is the boat’s paddle. So there you go.

I do love the mixing of toys to create fresh stories.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to the Renaissance Faire. While they were hesitant to talk to people dressed in costume, they did have fun in what we called the Math Tent. There was a guy who showed us how math has evolved over time, though he focused on certain practices from the Renaissance.

My kids were enraptured. Plus, the guy talked to them like normal interesting people, not like little kids who are going to break everything they touch. He was really cool.

As we were walking into Faire, my oldest was given the name of one of the characters. We were supposed to go on this quest to find her. She would then give us a gold coin which we could exchange for a dragon feather.