Yep, H’s shirt is finally done. As I mentioned in the blog hop post, just about everything that could go wrong with this did go wrong. I have sewn just about everything twice (at least).
So first, the finished product…
I probably could have ironed it before I photographed it. But it is linen so this is probably how it will usually look anyway.
Like last time, I used the free pattern Lekala 6207. Last time I narrowed the shoulders and it fit better, but H requested an exact copy of a RTW linen shirt and so this time I left it as per the pattern. I also drafted a new collar based on the RTW – as is, it is quite large.
So what went wrong? Well, the first thing to go wrong was the thread. Yes, the thread. I happened to have a matching thread already but it must have been at least 20 years old. And it kept snapping. Said thread is now in the bin. I wish I had read this excellent post by La Sewista before starting on the shirt and I wouldn’t have had this problem. Also after reading that post I decided to try her do-not-backstitch idea (you just dial down the stitch length instead) and I must say I am impressed. Actually the whole NLS (Next Level Sewing) series are worth a read.
So the problem with the thread snapping was that it is on the topstitching of the pocket. So I had to unpick that and being quite loose weave linen it really didn’t like the extra attention. It stretched a bit. Which is why my previously pefectly matched stripes ended up a teensy bit off.
|So close but yet…|
So the next thing to go wrong was the side seams. I flat felled them but somehow when pressing before the final row of stitching, I pressed in a crease of excess fabric. On both sides. And didn’t notice. No, I don’t know how either.
Then came the abomination that was the first collar and stand. I, as always, used this excellent tutorial by foursquarewalls which constructs and attaches the collar in a different (and more logical) order. The problems with the collar were entirely of my own making. When I was doing the collar I hurt my lower back. Bending down to put something in my handbag which was on the couch would you believe. I mean seriously, I have no idea how or why just bending over hurt it – but it did. So sitting in any one position for any length of time was uncomfortable. But I had determined that I would have the shirt finished for H’s birthday so I kept sewing for too long. And all the sewing I did was rubbish. But somehow my pain addled brain thought it was ok at the time. When the pain cleared the unpicking began. So moral of the story – if you can’t sew, don’t.
As I said previously both the collar and stand looked ok as long as you didn’t look at both sides at once as both were very asymetrical. Because I had enough fabric I just chucked the collar and stand in the bin and recut both. Let me tell you, attaching a collar stand on an already trimmed and clipped neckline is not easy.
I also had to redo the topstitching on the front placket because the first attempt was far from straight and even.
Fortunately I did the yoke properly the first time. I cut it on the crossgrain so that the stripes ran horizontally. And I changed the one centre pleat to two smaller ones nearer the shoulders because H prefers them that way.
I should point out that H did suggest several times that I just leave this and sew something else but I feared that if I left it, it would be a UFO forever. I am now very glad that I persevered.
So I recommend the Lekala pattern if you fancy making a shirt for the man in your life. Although if it’s your first man’s shirt you may find the instructions somewhat lacking. But with the many excellent tutorials available around the internet you shouldn’t have too much trouble. And I do really recommend the collar tutorial, you really should give it a try.
Next time I’m going to use one of the many collar point tutorials and see if I can improve them. What about you? Do you have any favourite men’s shirt tutorials, tips or suggestions?