Mini-Sweatshop of One

I can’t believe how little clothing costs as I just experienced what a pain it is to sew ’em… And I have a whole new appreciation for Project Runway – it is hard enough using a Sew Easy pattern, let alone make your own design! I can’t even imagine.  Though I am hoping to get good enough to alter basic patterns to make them more of what I want.  Clearly that is long way down the road.

So anyway, recently I’ve been inspired by my co-worker, M, who made a gorgeous shirt – loved the fabric and the shape and style of it.  So I decided that I could and should should sew my own shirt.

I went to Jo-Anns a few weeks ago when patterns were on sale, and got a couple patterns.  I actually got the pattern than M made – and another one, similar but still different.  What I looked for was no zippers and no buttons. Going to the Jo-Anns by my house is running the risk of catching the black lung or some other horrible sickness – it just seems so dirty and ripe for something bad, like mold.  Still I go there, when I must as there is little other choice.

Today, since Boom was headed out to Charlotte in the late afternoon, I decided I should go to High Fashion Fabric to get some fabric for my to-be-made shirt.  Good thing Boom did not come with me – it is a huge room full of bolts of fabric.  A wee bit overwhelming.  I was wandering around in a daze when I realized I needed to pull it together!  I knew I wanted a stiffer fabric – something that had a little body to it.  And I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, since this is my first attempt at a shirt.  And nothing with too much of a pattern.  I finally ended up getting a purplish – navy fabric with same tone tiny polka dots.  Has body like a silk shantung, but is made of polyester or something like that.  and it was only $8.99 a yard!  I got 1 1/2 yards (good thing I got a little extra!).

Here is what I started out with:

Pattern (4 pieces), instructions, thread, fabric and hook & eye closures.  I did also have to use my computer, as it called for slip stitching to attach the collar to the shirt.  Since I had no idea how to slip stitch, I turned to Ms. Internet for some help.  and of course she obliged.

Here is my nearly completed shirt:

Not too shabby, I think, for my first shirt ever. I still need to hem the bottom and then put the hook and eye closures in the back, but you get the basic idea.  Don’t look too closely either, as there are mistakes and I am not entirely sure I put the collar on correctly.  Oh well.  I am thinking it may be a little big, but maybe that is just it’s boxy style.  I think it will look cute with my black velvet pants!

It took me less than 5 1/2 hours to make.  I cut a few of my pieces out incorrectly, so had to re-cut them.  I did cut out the pattern earlier, so I guess it really took me less than 6 hours to make.  I would like to find a pattern that uses elastic – maybe with puffed sleeves?  I also am a bit perturbed by the raw edges on the inside – need to think what I can do to contain the stray strands of thread and to keep the fabric from unraveling.

Once I finish this shirt, I’d like to wear it everyday.  Don’t think I will, but I will likely look at it everyday, for a week or so – will make me happy to know that I made it!


5 responses to “Mini-Sweatshop of One

  1. isn’t sewing clothes a tremendous feeling of accomplishment? Great job and love the fabric. When you are making something fairly easy and want to get rid of the ragged insides, make “french seams” (find details from the good ol’ internet.) They are easy and really give a professional looking finish. You don’t have to make french seams on every part of the garment — just where you think it will matter most (the side seams, etc.)


  2. Looks great! Sewing one shirt in an afternoon is quite an accomplishment – I am very impressed!

  3. Can’t wait to see it on and to see you out on the town in a Tingaling original. I assume the handcrafted label is included?

  4. I am tres impressed! I think the most fun part will be when you get compliments wearing it, and you can tell people you made it!!


  5. It looks really pretty, I’m impressed….

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