Category Archives: Shirts

A Postpartum Summer Shirt

Believe it or not, I’ve been sewing – one project per month. Life and schedules have changed but I’ve tried to maintain a commitment to one nap time spent sewing each week.

I completed the Washi Top last autumn. Just in time for a wet, cold winter and a spring that wouldn’t truly start until May.

With a winter that occasionally looked like this, I mostly wore sweaters and scarves.

It warmed up enough to wear this shirt as I entered my 8th month of pregnancy. The Washi shirt has an empire waist and shirring in the back so it fit my pregnant body.

The fabric I chose requires ironing but there’s no way I’m getting around to that. Next time, I’ll look for low maintenance fabric.

This blouse fit for most of my pregnancy (until the last few weeks) and fits my postpartum body as well. The postpartum phase is a good time for pretty fabrics and empire waists that work with my evolving body. It was easy for me to appreciate my pregnant body but I’m still learning to be with the sagging body that remains after the baby is born. 

I made the most interesting mistake yet while sewing this shirt. I accidentally sewed a hair clip into the lining. When I first tried on the finished shirt, the fit in the bodice was really weird. I was momentarily discouraged then I realized the hair clip was sandwiched inside.

It took time to make this mistake because I was hand sewing the lining. I’m really not sure how the hair clip stayed put through the process but it did. It has since been removed and the fit is much improved. 

Note: I have linked to the Washi pattern because I think it’s a great pattern. At the date of this posting, I do not receive any financial benefit from my links.

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A Sewing Project to Ward Off the Inevitable

The other day, I was gathering laundry in a darkened room hoping not to wake the sleeping baby. A loose schedule guides my husband and I in completing housework and that day’s schedule suggested a load of laundry. Neither of us enjoy cleaning but we both appreciate a tidy house. The week had been filled with freelance projects, cleaning, cooking and baby care.

Watching my son grow tempts me towards clichés about ‘how time passes.’ This was a year of happy beginnings and too many endings. Joys intertwined with sorrows. Learning and trying to be emotionally present for both.

As I clean house I realize the task is doomed to fail. Each week, we’ll follow (or not) the schedule set out. We’ll only be washing the same cups and scrubbing out stains in the usual places next week.

Dirty t-shirts in hand, I remembered why finding time for sewing is a high priority for me. The time will pass one way or another. Cleaning gives me peace of mind because I crave order and chips away at my sanity because I’m afraid the hours of my life will be consumed by paperwork and an ever growing pile of dirty laundry.

I love the learning process involved in sewing. My closet reflects that learning curve. Clothes that no one has ever complemented and clothes I’m proud to say I made. Then there are the holes in my wardrobe waiting to be filled with clothes that I need (in a first world sense) but don’t want to buy because I want to sew them. My time is often taken by making money, laundry and more dishes. Who has time to sew their wardrobe?

When I wear what I’ve made, I know I managed to resist or ignore the never-ending to-do list and used that time to do something I enjoy. I fought down my lazy perfectionist side that won’t start an imperfect project.

With the help of a sewing class and an online sew along, I completed this button up in no less than 6 months. When I’m more confident in my skills, I’ll think about speeding up that process.

The Archer buttonup is meant to be loose fitting. A good choice for my first buttonup because I could focus on learning to do collars, buttons, and cuffs without worrying about the fit. The seersucker plaid is forgiving of imperfect stitching – ideal for my well loved Necchi 3537.

After 10 or so practice buttonholes they started to look pretty good if I do say so myself.

After 10 or so practice buttonholes they started to look pretty good if I do say so myself.

Next time around, I want to practice french seams for a clean inside. I sewed a complicated zig-zag stitch along the seam to prevent fraying with little success.

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After completing the project, I decided my sewing should not prevent me from getting outdoors every now and again. So, we packed ourselves off to a farm to take idyllic pictures of hands grasping at low hanging fruit.

A perfect plaid shirt picture or me standing stock still waiting for the camera to snap. Maybe both are true?

A perfect plaid shirt picture or me standing stock still waiting for the camera to snap. Maybe both are true?

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A Sewing Class: Grainline Studio’s Archer Shirt

Some people can say with confidence that they are self-taught sewists. They picked up patterns and sewing books and experimented; eventually, they learned to sew beautiful, well fitting garments.

Not so for me. Continue reading

The Scavenger Hunt That Lead to a Pillow Shirt

In the summer of 2012, I emailed my mom, grandmother and aunts to ask if I could scour their fabric piles to get materials to practice with. Fabric can be expensive and I needed to practice putting in an invisible zipper and adding lining to a garment when the pattern didn’t call for a lining. I sensed that I might ‘ruin’ a few projects before creating something wearable. Continue reading