Many of you comment how productive I am on the sewing front. I really appreciate each and every comment but I’ve never seen myself as being a quick sewer or producing a lot. If I don’t reply to individual comments please don’t take it personally – it means I’m busy, that’s all. Wendy from Boulder, Colorado sews for a living as does Mrs Mole; they have to calculate how long a job is going to take and charge accordingly. If you’d asked me how long a dress or pair of trousers takes me to sew, I wouldn’t have a clue.
I do sew, or do sewing related activities, nearly every day: sometimes I can relish in a dedicated couple of hours but often there’s only 15 -30 minutes available. Sometimes my sewing time is split over the day with a little bit here and little bit there. So this week I documented the making of a shirt, as much for your insight into my sewing week but also for me……….
Fabric is draped on Doris for a day or two to help determine how it handles and what it should be transformed into. This helps me to visualise a finished garment and how much fabric I have to play with. When not staring at Doris, as I drive to work or go to sleep I’m thinking about patterns and design options. Once a decision has been reached – I stick to it and believe me, not all decisions are good ones!
Today we are focusing on the patterned piece under the mustard wool. A viscose jersey from Fabworks in mustard and pale lilac that I’m hoping will look like grey when worn with the right clothing. A retro 1950s design and would be probably be best used in a 2-way stretch pattern but I decided on a button down shirt.
Monday – 1hr, 45mins
Before going to work, I cut out the pattern pieces from the envelope and folded the fabric selvage to selvage. 15 mins.
Home from work and dinner in the oven, pinned the pattern to the fabric. 30 mins
After dinner and a nap, back to sewing room to cut out the pieces. Big scissors were then put away and small ones out, needles threaded with contrasting colour and settled down to tailor tack with radio on. Pattern pieces removed, darts pinned and a general tidy up.
Pieces pinned onto Doris. Nothing sewn. 60 mins.
Tuesday – 20mins
Really heavy day at work – knackered. Cut out interfacing and just about managed to iron it onto the relevant pieces. Scanned the instructions in case there are any surprises. Threaded the machine and a bobbin. 20 mins.
Wednesday – 1 hr
At long last, sewing actually begins in the evening. Machined all the seams I could. This is where my sewing technique might slightly differ from others’. I don’t always follow the prescribed sewing order: after sewing all the darts for example, I then completed the sleeve seams and made the upper collar. I can go no further until the pieces are pressed. 60 mins
Thursday – 1hrs, 50 mins
Before dinner (leftovers, so I have more sewing time) I began with pressing all yesterday’s sewing. 20 mins
After dinner, back to the machine to complete any other sewing that needs to be done; button bands, shoulder seams and collar attached. Then the machine is pushed aside and everything that needs hand slip stitching is done – inside collar, sleeve vents. Bit more pressing and everything pinned back onto Doris. 1hr, 30 mins
Friday – 2hrs
Before dinner, sewed side seams and pinned in sleeves. 20 mins
After dinner, sewed in sleeves (one ripped out and sewed again, so that makes three!). Attached cuffs. Pressed. 1 hr.
Personal fitting: sleeves are too long so have created a design feature of folded back cuffs. I had already added 2″ to the length at cutting out stage and am happy with this. 10 mins.
Searched in notions box for suitable buttons and found some forgotten items and interesting things, procrastination activity. 30 mins
Saturday 1hr, 45 mins
Morning time in my jammies slipped stitched cuffs; made button holes, sewed on buttons. 1 hr
Before lunch sewed hem and pressed finished shirt. 45mins. And it took 3/4 of an hour to run a straight seam around the bottom of this shirt because….
I swear the two fronts were the same length before I sewed the buttons on…..
Wearing and photos
Total time = 7hrs
Fabric =£14.00 – 2 metres @£7.00 (Fabworks – superfine gauge single jersey in a lustrous and slinky, fluid viscose and elastane blend, printed with a Bloomsbury/modernistic style)
Time = £70 (@ £10p/hr)
Pattern = McCalls M6649 free with an Craftsy class that cost $19.99 (about £100 at today’s exchange rate!) or $12.50 for the pattern alone.
Total materials and making = £94.00
Sunday night – Write and publish. Go to sleep planning next project.
Monday – Cut out something else……….