July 28, 2010

Into my sewing history - part 1

Wow, I'm actually a bit startled by the vote of confidence two of you lovely ladies gave me yesterday... You should know that, although I learned the very basics of sewing from my mother when I was a child, I only got my first own sewing machine about 6 years ago, and didn't get really serious about using it until 2 years later. And only after I took some lessons with M, starting early 2007, I started pattern making and being actually sort of good technically.

Ok, that was the disclaimer, let's get started. These are the three first shirts I ever made. This is pre-sewing lessons. All are made from Knipmode patterns, back in 2006.

I believe this was the first one. There's nothing like jumping in at the deep end. Polyesther voile and a pintucked yoke (which is slightly easier than it seems, being sewn onto the front, not set in). I think I did alright. It even has french seams throughout. However, I had not realised that those would take up extra fabric, making the shirt slightly smaller than intended. I haven't worn it that much because it has always been too tight at the shoulders and in the bust area.

This was the second one. Another Knipmode pattern. Unfortunately, I had let the fabric salesman talk me into buying something polyesther for this one as well (I wanted cream coloured cotton, which he didn't have and believed him when he claimed this would be great for a blouse, better than the cotton even, as I wouldn't have to iron it...) Those ruffles had to be finished with a serged or zigzag-ed edge, which, without a serger, gave me no chance of reaching a neat and tidy effect. I used french seams again but, having learnt my lesson with the first shirt, cut this one a size larger to compensate. I still sort of like the stacked ruffles, but the fabric annoys me and my one big mistake on this shirt makes it even worse.
The fabric did not have a clear right or wrong side. And the ruffles at the sleeves had to be applied before setting the sleeves into the body of the shirt. Which I did with a french seam. And when I got to setting the sleeves in, they were the same. I sewn one of them inside out. Because of the shallow sleeve-head I thought I could get away with putting one sleeve in back-to-front. At first it didn't bother me in wearing, but later, when I knew better, it did.

And now number three. Same pattern as the last one, minus the ruffles. I used black cotton here, and zigzag-ed the seam allowances on the inside. When it was done, I found the overall shape to block-y and sewed eyelet tape along the back darts and threaded a piece of lace through it to give it some shape. Did I mention I quite into lace-up effects back then?


  1. You've come a long way in a short time. Still, these are fairly impressive for early projects. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mistakes included they are very impressive start up projects.

  3. They are lovely shirts. You have a definite "style", sort of romantic/gothic, don't you? I liked your disclaimer! Made me chuckle... only a few years ago I made a jacket in which I inset the sleeves back to front. I mean right sleeve in the left armhole, and vice versa. And they were those two piece sleeves, on which it is too obvious... I had graded/finished the internal seams and applied the lining, all handsewn in place with ease pleats and the whole jacket was completed before I noticed. I was so discouraged when I did notice I just tossed it immediately in the Salvos bin... I often wonder what they thought of it when it was inspected...! Laugh!

  4. I think it's fantastic that you kept your early projects. Mine are long gone to charity and I groan inside when I think of them!