Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fit to be Tied Shirt - Construction

I have been able to start sewing the Fit to be Tied shirt this week-end. I did not get as far as I hoped but thought I would show you what I have done so far.
The Hot Patterns shirt is classified as Intermediate and I don't think you could follow these instructions if you had never constructed a shirt before. For example the instructions say Join the front button bands to the shirt fronts... Well I have never used a button band before,so this is what I figure it meant to do:
Sew right side of button band to right side of front. (see the 'x' marked on the front piece - on fabrics like this where it is difficult to tell right side from wrong side, I mark the wrong side of the fabric piece with a chalked 'x' so I don't get confused - believe me it doesn't take a lot...)

This is a closer view of the gathered part of the front attached to the button band. You can see it is quite heavily gathered. You really need a soft drapey fabric for this top.

To make the seam lie flat inside the button band I overlocked the seam.

I then pressed the other side in by the seam allowance & trimmed it - can you tell I love my pinking shears! Stand still too long in my house - you get pinked!

Then I turned the band toward the inside, pressed it and edge stitched on the right side along both edges of the button band. I used my new edge stitch foot for that.

The finished button band with edge stitching.

The next interesting part of the instructions ... after sewing the back pieces together and sandwiching them between the two yoke pieces.... Fold the back so that you can fit it inside the yoke - you'll have to scrunch it up a little! Fold the fronts so that you can fit them inside the yoke, just as you did the back... this is what they mean by scrunching all the pieces inside the yoke...

Summerset of Pins & Needles has done a great tutorial on this method. I am so glad I had seen this earlier or I would not have understood what they were saying in the instructions.
Instead of sewing a bias band on to the sleeve opening. I made a placket. I learnt how to do this in a class I did recently with Felicity of For Frock's Sake. For those of you who cannot access Felicity's classes, this method is similar to the one outlined in David Coffin's Book 'Shirtmaking'. However I don't think I could have done it from the instructions in the book without seeing it first. (The colour is off in this photo - the fabric is actually a coppery-orange as in the preceding photos).
As you can see in the above photo - I hand baste a lot. This helps heaps with projects like this and I don't believe hand basting can (or should) be avoided. Yeah you can do it on the machine, but honestly how long does it take to put in a couple of hand basting stitches? My favorite gizmo of the moment which helps with hand basting is this clover tool.
You can put ten threaded needles into the holder and the threads don't get tangled or caught on everything. I read a tip once to keep threaded needles in a pin cushion (using the last little bits of thread on your bobbin, etc) and this is a great tip except they tangle up with each other and everything else they come into contact with. This gizmo allows you to put the threaded needles in , wind the threads in and yay! no tangles and threaded needles when you need them.
Parting shot - at the last Stitches & Craft Show, Caity & I attended, I purchased a pattern for a mouse pad - a wrist rest which is actually a mouse! Caity borrowed the pattern to make for another friend, but also made up one for me...


  1. Thanks for the handy photos and explanations. I'm hoping to tackle shirts at some point (when I get the time), but the closest I've come to shirt-making so far is pyjama jackets, lol.
    The mouse wrist support is so cute!

  2. I can't wait to see the finished shirt, this one has been on my to-sew list for a while, but I never get around to it!

  3. I am a huge hand baster - sewing BWOF, I mark many of the stitching lines with carbon then hand baste those lines. I save all my basting for front of television, so my garment construction can be "out of order." The pain is, of course, removing the hand basting! I figure my hand basting add an hour onto sewing time. A small price to pay for absolute accuracy and not sewing over pins! Cat1


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