Monday, August 6, 2012

A Tale of Two Shirts

Several months ago, I purchased some fabric from an etsy shop.  It was a custom order since I wanted a couple of this and a couple of that, and after a short couple of convo's with the shop owner the custom listing was made and I purchased my fabric.  Since the shop owner is over seas it took a short while for it to get here.  When I finally received my package I opened it and immediately thought - oh, I thought I got more ribbing than what's here.  Since the price was in Euro's, I thought maybe there was a misunderstanding and left it at that. 

Imagine my surprise when a couple of months later, I receive not one, but two more packages from them.  I open up the first one and there was the missing ribbing along with a note explaining that for whatever reason this package was returned for incomplete address.  She apologized and said to be on the lookout for an extra package with "cars".  I opened up the second package and much to my delight she enclosed this:

It was a yard of the cars fabric (I think cotton poplin) and a half yard of the jersey knit strip fabric.  How cute was it!  And the fabric immediately started it's siren's call and I had to make something for my little boy with it.  But what?  The cotton poplin would be easy, but what do I make with a half yard of stripped jersey?  Then inspiration struck in the form of an Ottobre pattern:

Image from

The shirt on the right was perfect for it!  A woven button down with a hoodie.  But when I looked up the sizes available, the smallest was a size 128.  As you can see from the picture, it's really for a boy and my little man is still a toddler.  I generally make a size 98 in Ottobre for him at the moment (and there is still a bit of room to grow with that size). 

But that siren song was still singing to me.  This fabric was meant to be that shirt.  Do I just put it away for a while until my little guy is big enough for me to make it?  But then inspiration struck - I have a yard of the cars.  Maybe I can squeeze two shirts out of it!  One, this hoodie combo, and maybe the art camp shirt that is in the same issue (which I've made before). 

Bingo!  I laid it out and all that I couldn't fit was the second back yoke piece for the hoodie shirt.  But since that is on the inside, I picked up some blue cotton for that one piece.  Here are the finished shirts (excuse the wrinkled camp shirt as my son had already worn it and it had gone through the wash):

Of course while the finished shirts look pretty good, I did make many mistakes along the way (there is a reason the title of my blog contains the word "Beginner").

For the art camp shirt, it took me 3 tries to attach the collar properly.  Of course, it would have helped immensely, if I hadn't cut it out with a 1/4" seam allowance and sewed it with a 3/8" seam allowance - leaving next to no seam allowance left to attach the collar to the shirt!  Well, the pattern must be pretty forgiving as I made it work. 

For both shirts, I cut out the sleeves the same way for both left and right.  The sleeves are not symmetrical (although close) so it matters which side is attached to the front.  Luckily, they're not too far off, so I could just draw in the seam line, baste the sleeve to the shirt, and sew it in that way.  Luckily, Ottobre doesn't draft the sleeves with any ease in them, so I didn't have to worry about that on top of having mismatched seam allowances.  Boy did I luck out here. 

Oh, and the button stand on the hoodie shirt - yeah, I interfaced both sides.  Which means that I had way too many layers to try to sew through when doing the hem.  So the hem at the button stand is just one layer and I had to using my pinking shears to it, so that it will hopefully not fray in the wash down the road when my son is old enough to wear it.  Speaking of hemming - I'm still not great at getting an even hem.  I think I just get too excited that I'm this close to finishing and my stitching ends up uneven. 

But this is why it's fun making clothes for our kids - At least for boys, at this age, you can dress them in whatever and they don't care.  And though my shirts aren't perfect, they don't care.

Some other shots of the shirts -
A close up of the collar of the camp shirt - with the attached ribbon as a label (also included in my surprise package!)
A picture of the hoodie shirt on it's own.

Look at how the sleeve matched up with the shirt!  I don't think I've ever gotten a better seam.

This is literally all that is left of the car fabric after making both shirts.

The siren's song was sung, and I'm happy with the results.  Until next time, happy stitching!