SAM #1

New year coming up, with a new sewing challenge. Sewing shirts will be a good way to work on precision sewing skills. If you mark accurately and sew accurately, it’s all going to come out right… right? And there are many tips out there in the vast internet for doing a better job on collars and cuffs, which I have to admit have been hit or miss operations for me so far. I want to turn out reliably good details.

If you’d like to follow the sewalong, it’s happening on Stitcher’s Guild.

glamor shot of the first shirt

Here is shirt #1. PeggyL might have seen this fabric before….maybe even have a piece of it? It’s one of the silks I picked up while visiting her.

With a slithery fabric, there’s no need to invite disaster by selecting a pattern with a collar stand. I picked a basic shirt/blouse from Ottobre Woman 2-2006 that has a convertible collar. The sleeves were borrowed from another shirt in the same issue (they share the same back piece, so you can mix and match features). The other shirt has the full-on collar and stand, and it will come into play as SAM goes on.
 A little side bar: but this Ottobre Woman issue has been the most-used pattern magazine ever for me. It includes lots of well-drafted basics. I’ve made the two shirts, the t-shirt, the pants, and the jacket and they all have been favorites.
Drafting the yoke was easier than expected. Most of the Ottobre shirt patterns have shoulder darts, and I thought there’d be some rotating to do. But this draft didn’t have the darts. Made it all pretty easy. Here are the steps:
  1. Made a fresh tracing (I’ve made this shirt before) without seam allowances.
  2. Did a few alterations based on the previous shirt. Ottobre fits me really well so there wasn’t much to do; just a forward shoulder adjustment, narrow the shoulder a tad, raise (!) the bust dart a bit, and widen the sleeve bicep.
  3. Taped the front and back together at the shoulders and marked the yoke. I made the yoke so it goes over the shoulder line into the front a bit. That mark was made parallel to the shoulder line. The back yoke depth was marked perpendicular to the center back.
  4. Cut out the yoke on the marked lines.
  5. Easy! This is why it’s nice to have patterns without seam allowances. They were added on as I cut out. I plan to work a lot with this pattern over the next year. Once I get a full suite of variations worked out, I’ll probably go back and trace the pieces with s/a, but for pattern manipulation this is the way to go.

Other design changes – because the silk was lightweight and fluid, I kept the horizontal bust darts but left all the verticals out. Changed the shape of the cuff, and that’s it.

My Rocketeer has a previously un-used straight stitch plate and my, that made a nice difference! When I put the plate on, I also put a piece of tape on the zig-zag controls so that I’d remember not to mess with them.

The cuff method was a success! Before attaching the cuff, a placket binding was applied using the instructions from Clare Shaffer’s sewing shortcuts book. Again, it seemed like trying for a real placket was asking for trouble.

Kathleen’s cuff method includes a little trick when constructing the cuff. Then once the cuff is done, you sandwich the sleeve in between the two cuff sides, and topstitch. Everything is attached with the single row of topstitching. You can add additional topstitching if you like.

In the photo the cuff is held together with a pin and threads have not been trimmed yet, so it’s a little messy. The contrast in the photo is pumped up so that you can maybe see the line of stitching. NOTE TO SELF: DON’T USE BLACK FABRIC WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO LEARN THINGS! It was hard to see the details while working.

That about wraps it up except for a poor hanger shot of the back, so that the yoke is visible.


15 thoughts on “SAM #1

  1. I already commented over at Stitcher’s Guild, but I came here to read more. The back yoke looks really nice with the pattern going straight across it. Nice job!

    • Thank you! I thought that yoke would have a curve at the outside edge from a rotated dart, but the pattern didn’t have a dart to rotate. Good to have for stripes.

  2. What a pretty shirt! Now you are going to have a shirt to go with each of the jackets you made last year…if you do skirts and pants next year you will have an amazing wardrobe!

  3. Such a wonderful shirt #1! You were indeed brave to use black silk to try out new techniques. But it paid off – what a lovely piece. I’m sure you’ll enjoy wearing it. I really like the cuffs.

  4. Martha, you’d think I’d take my own advice, but I turned around and cut out some black rayon. Chose a really, really simple pattern though, and no precison techniqes.

  5. I really like the fabric 🙂 Especially the drape. I am sure you are going to look very chic wearing it! I also commented at Stitchers Guild, but decided to follow you here 🙂


  6. Lovely, lovely shirt. And thank you for remiinding me of this issue and drawing my attention to the shirt. I’ll put it on my to sew list. Long term projects are not for me, but I like the idea of the SAM.

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