The sewing I do in my own time is mostly for myself. I think I have that in common with a lot of sewing bloggers. Sure, I also make a lot for the man in my life but usually, that's it. Apart from the occasional alteration for a family member. Or a baby gift. Or an unusual clothing need (trousers for my mother when she was waiting for her second hip operation). I've stopped doing assignments for friends (who did pay for it) after three customers because it took so much time...
Put like that, it sounds like I actually do a lot of selfless sewing but it's all about proportions. I really don't.
I'm working on something right now though. And to be honest, I'm not enjoying it.
A little over a year ago, I made a fairly fancy long sleeved t-shirt for my maternal grandmother (the same grandmother who is knitting for the whole family). She showed me a picture of the kind of style she wanted, we went to the fabric store together to buy the fabric and I made the top using Burdastyle's Lydia (a plain long sleeve t-shirt which I can't find anymore on the site now) as a base.
Back then, I made a muslin first and had a fitting session with that. I was glad I did. My grandmother in her 80's and at that age one's body shape has really changed. Thanks to our care in fitting though, the shirt I made for her fits well and looks pretty good. She wears it a lot.
I noticed and started thinking about making another one. I just didn't know what colour she would like. When I discussed this with her, she told me she would like a top with a front closure because that is easier to get in and out of.
This time, she bought the fabric herself and she had some different pictures of what she wanted.
And made this sketch (which is a crumpled because it has been in my bag for a while).
So far, so good. Of course, I am willing to make a garment which suits her wishes and requirements. However, the fabric, a nice double-face jersey which is burnt orange on one side and black on the other, is rather soft and drape-y (but has no vertical stretch, which is good in this case). Not at all what I would want for a tailored look like this.
To make my job easier, she wanted the front pockets to be fake. So, those are just little flaps which I will sew down later. It's just that I really don't like fake version of functional details...
Which is also why I didn't like doing princess seams in this case.
The collar is fairly simple, just really annoying to make in this fabric. Especially if you have to unpick and re-do it. I hardly ever need to do things like that anymore but I did now. When I started on this shirt, I made a cut-on straight fabric (I had thought about making the center front double, for a clean finish but decided against that because it would cause bulk at the 'pockets' and make the front so much heavier than the back that the whole thing was likely to sag forward). It wasn't until the collar was almost finished that I realized how bad that facing would look if the collar would be worn half open. So, off it came. I made a new facing which, at its top, extends to the shoulder seam and put the collar back on.
That's when I thought I was almost there. Just the cuffs to go on. And the hem. And buttons and buttonholes.
It took me a while to find the right buttons (which I did before starting on this). Gran wanted mother-of-pearl but not the small ones you get on shirts. I finally found the right medium sized mother-of-pearl buttons when I was picking up my sewing machine from its repair.
And now, I tried to make a buttonhole. I started with the easiest piece to do that on: a cuff which was still separate. And of course I had stabilized it with some thin fusible interfacing for stretch fabrics. And it didn't work. Whether I tried the official 'stretch fabrics' buttonhole or a normal one, my sewing machine would not make a buttonhole in this fabric. I tried everything and when I tested it on a scrap of other fabric, it stitched those buttonholes without a hitch.
I've given up for now. I'll see my grandmother on Christmas Day, so the shirt should be finished before then. I could try layering the fabric with tracing paper under it. Or even with one of those fancy special materials they have for that purpose.... I don't know.