Friday, May 18, 2012

A Hiatus

Regrettably, I am going to have to take a brief hiatus from blogging/sewing. My wife has just been diagnosed with preeclampsia (I can't believe that I just spelled that right on my first try!) and put onto bed rest until the pregnancy ends. It's possible that I'll get a few moments to break away and get some work done, but not too likely :(

On the flip side, the garden is going pretty well (as long as I can keep the vine borers at bay). Check out this zucchini that I picked the other day:

I promise to keep everyone up-to-date as the pregnancy progresses. In the next month or so expect a sudden upload of disgustingly cute baby pictures. I'll still be checking comments so feel free to drop me some love/encouragement/threats.

Until next time,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Where I create a good fitting, but unwearable, shirt (part II)

This post is part II in a series. To get caught up to speed, check out part I here.

Awww shit, look at that crease! Note how the yoke rolls down onto my arm. Clearly the shoulder fit to too big. Except, when I compared the shoulders of this shirt to my well fitting white shirt, the rear yokes measure exactly the same. So I measured the front yokes from collar to sleeve:

And found that the blue shirt was 2cm wider along the front yoke edge. I don't know why they drafted this odd of a arm scythe, but I was going to have to fix it. Time to remove the sleeves and recut the yokes.

It was at this point that I realized total sleeve removal was going to be a no-go. When adjusting the side seams I chose to half-ass things and sewed the arm hole bottoms shut. Since I didn't intend to wear this shirt out anywhere it wasn't a big deal to just half-remove the sleeves. If you are doing this invasive of a procedure on a shirt you want to wear, I'd bring in the sides last (or just do things right the first time).

I measured in 16mm (the front yoke size on taken from the white shirt) and marked my new yoke width.

and then drew my new arm scythe using the french curve that I've borrowed from Crissy (I'm giving it back soon, I promise). I'm a firm believe in over-using pins, and also of pin-basting, so this was the sleeve before I sewed it:

While I was working with the sleeve, I went ahead and removed a 2" wedge (from armpit to cuff) in an attempt to reduce bagginess in that area. I think I may have pinned poorly, because it gave the sleeve an odd wrinkle. This is was the fit afterwards:

And an obligatory before:middle:after shot:

All in all I'm quite happy with the way this worked out. It looks like the shirt is too tight across my abdomen, but it's just my posterior being all too big again. I have plenty of ease above the hips. To address my rump in the final pattern, I'll add an inch or two to the bottom circumference. 

So what do yall think? Did I just totally waste a perfectly good 60/40 cotton-poly blend shirt? Any pointers on cutting it back apart to make a pattern? I've typed this 2nd part 4 times now because blogger keeps losing it (I guess they are experiencing technical difficulties here in the cloud...), so I'm all out of witty things to say. Leave me some love in the comments; Next time I think I'll take on ties!

Where I create a good fitting, but unwearable, shirt

Starting a new job bring with it many new and wondrous things. Chief among these, is the need to update one's wardrobe. One thing that I learned while hunting for new office-wear is that I have an awkwardly built body. OTR shirts that fit in the body will be bizarre in the neck/shoulder/sleeve EVERY DAMN TIME. Plus, now that I sew I am even more aware of these fit issues (which I was blissfully unaware of before). It was time to get my hands dirty.

As I mentioned in my Shirt Issue, I have several cheap and ill fitting shirts laying around in my closet. I decided it was time for my 'U.S. Polo Assn' shirt to find a new purpose in life, as a pattern base. The plan was to tailor the shirt until it fits great, then cut it apart and make a paper pattern from the pieces.

At this point, I think it's important to mention that I'm very much aware that I could just buy a shirt pattern, or even borrow one from Crissy (I'm sure she has at least 12). But that's not the way we do things around here. It's got to be the most difficult, drawn out, learning intensive route every time.

This is what I started with:

There is enough room in there for two of me. The last time I addressed this problem I used a modified 'pinch-and-pin' method to remove almost 8" of material from the body circumference. However, that shirt had no pleats, and this one has a sizable box pleat to contend with. While I think it looks stupid, I decided to just sew the pleat shut along the full length of the shirt.

Keeping things even was pretty simple since this shirt is a herringbone weave, so I had convenient guide-lines to follow. I went ahead and gave it a quick press to set the pleat. Once one side was pinned shut, I measured the width of the box pleat (1 1/2")

and then marked the width down the full length of the shirt. Again I used the shirt grain as a guide to make sure everything was even. I doubt it would have mattered if I was off a little here or there, so don't stress out if you're doing this on broadcloth.

And then carefully fold the shirt in half so that the two pleat edges are even. Leave the first side pinned shut during this. The goal is to have the outer pleat edges (the edges that face the side seams) touching.

As you can see here, after a good press, the pleat is folded over on itself. If we sew along the bottom edge of the pleat/fold the resulting stitch line will hold the pleat shut (making it into a functionless style piece). It will also be totally invisible since the pleat itself will cover it. 

My stitch line. The pins here are just holding the fold shut while I sew. Remove them and press the pleat open. At this point we've removed 3" of material from the circumference of the body, let's check the fit.

You can see how much of a difference a little volume reduction can make, but it's still is too blousey for my tastes. Since the back is now stable, I feel safe taking some more material out from the side seams. For this I decided to remove 1" from each side at my waist, tapering to a 1/2" reduction at the armpit and shirt bottom. Here was the result:

Looking good! I'd wear this to work now. Except that I can now clearly see creasing by my arms. Creasing that tells me the shirt is too large across the shoulders. It's like this project is never ending. 

(Author's note. This project is kind of long. Longer than I expected. I'm making an executive decision and splitting it into 2 parts for ease of browsing. Kyle Ruins a Shirt Part II)