I made the braided rag rug for our new apartment in Chicago (a year ago now!), from scraps I had lying around and some pieces of quilting cotton that I think came from a garage sale. There are pieces of this dress, this apron, and the polka dot lining from this jacket that never was. It's just a coiled braid, pottery style, with each coil stitched to the one before in a spiral and then the whole thing hand-sewn to a felt backing. Not fancy but satisfying to make and a nice place to sit when I'm cutting out pattern pieces.
This shirt pattern is copied from a men's Gap shirt that I found in a thrift store and liked the fit of. The original was short-sleeved and this white version has long sleeves, so I drafted a placket and cuff. This will be my second time ever making a shirt-sleeve placket (I did a couple of practice runs yesterday before I cut everything out). I've made quite a few short-sleeve men's shirts, though, so the whole collar-and-stand-and-yoke-and-flat-fell-seams thing is old hat by now. The process is almost zen at this point--no fitting, no wrestling with fussy fabric, very little handwork, just long easy seams and crisp topstitching. And I look sharp in them when they're finished.
For my fellow shirtmakers, here's a list of the resources I always turn to when I start a new project:
- This sleeve placket tutorial from Off the Cuff, a custom shirtmaker's blog. I love advice from the professionals--I would never have thought to finger press but it's easier and more effective than heat-pressing on tiny fiddly seams.
- Four Square Walls' guide to sewing collar stands. She offers it as an alternative to the standard method suggested on most sewing patterns; it's the only one I've ever tried, and it works for me.
- Peter's Men's Shirt Sewalong on Male Pattern Boldness. I usually end up reading this in full before I start a new shirt, as a refresher course and a guide to construction order.
- And, if you can find it, the book Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. It's the definitive text for good reason.
If you've missed me, you can see my Me-Made-May photos for this year at my Flickr page--mostly selfies in the full-length mirror in my department at work. How has everyone been? Happy sewing?