Thursday, February 08, 2007

Firefly and Retro Tunic shirts

I am so proud that I managed to make two shirts a couple of weeks ago. Just like knitting my first sweater, I made a few mistakes, learned many new things, and presto - it's something wearable!

Pattern - Simplicity 4112 - Built by Wendy
Fabric - Cotton shirting from Jo-ann's

This was the first shirt I made. As you can see from this photo, there is supposed to be a sash, which I made, but I think the material is a little loose to handle it. I also modified the sleeves so they were shorter and less flowing. By modified, I mean I folded the pattern, cut the material, and crossed my fingers.

I was really, really happy with the way this turned out. I was surprised how much my knitting knowledge helped in figuring out the construction of the shirt, especially when it came to setting in the sleeves. However, my knitting knowledge got in the way a little bit when choosing what size to make. When I look at a knitting pattern, I tend to ignore what the body measurements are and look at the finished measurements. That way, if I want a sweater to be a little looser, or a little tighter, I can choose the appropriate size. So I did the same thing for this pattern. But when it comes to sewing with this fabric, I forgot about NEGATIVE EASE!!! Meaning, there is none. So the shirt *just* fits. I should have made a size larger (I made the smallest size) but - lesson learned!

The hardest part of the shirt? Collars!! I find collars hard to get right when knitting also. It's a little wonky, but my hair covers most of it, so I call this shirt a success!

Rob named it the Firefly shirt because I thought it looked a bit western and Rob thought it looked a bit Chinese (with the mandarin-ish collar).

I love the buttons I found for the shirt!

Heady with the success of my first sewn shirt, I quickly made the second one... with mixed results.

Pattern - Simplicity 4111 - Built by Wendy (again!)
Fabric - One yard of Liberty Tana Lawn in Kinnear

This is the fabric that inspired me to try sewing a shirt. Before Christmas, my friend Huay and I were talking about sewing, saying things like, "Who'd be crazy to sew a shirt? It's too much work!" Then I went to Manhattan and saw this fabric at Purl Patchwork, and it called to me. I only bought a yard, and then the realization that you can't make much with a yard of fabric set in. I bought these two patterns, and decided to use this pattern, because it took up less fabric.

I initially made the shirt exactly to the directions, but I did not put the elastic in the sleeves. If you look at this picture, you can see that there is a band of elastic under the bust of the shirt. After finishing the shirt, it was too tight with the elastic installed. Not only that, it pulled the shirt low and I was showing lots of cleavage (for me, anyways). So I removed the elastic, which resulted in a comfortable but looser type of shirt. Not quite a success because, as a result, it fits a little weird around the shoulders, but not a disaster because I wore it out today and it was so comfy it felt like I was wearing a pajama shirt!

By the way, I am a huge fan of Purl Soho and Patchwork. I have bought quite a few items from their website in the past couple of months. Lori Z. was kind enough to let me know today that their warehouse is in Costa Mesa, a mere 45 minutes from where I live. (By the way, Lori made the same two shirts as I did, and they kick a**!) And that you can shop there! DAN-GER-OUS!!! (Don't worry Rob, I won't go there anytime soon.)

Anyways, thought I'd share the fabric I ordered from the website, pretty much all for pillows.

This is Abeille from Kokka Fabrics in natural. It's a thinner material, I thought it would be good for bedroom pillows.

These are both Echino from Kokka Fabrics. They are sold out of both of these on the website, but I'm sure they'll be getting more in. The bottom one is very retro, it reminds of the wallpaper in my dentist's office as a kid. And I love them both! Hopefully I can turn them into living room pillows in the next couple of months.


yumi said...

Those fabrics are beautiful. The last one looks like the bird from the show The Partridge Family.

blossom said...

great work!! i haven't sewn any shirts, yet! i think you can wear a cami underneath the second shirt, it would look perfect! your fabric collection is just lovely.

yaiAnn said...

I luuuuuurve it all!!! I still have to make both those shirts too AND you got the fabric I love, too. My friend lives 45 minutes from Costa Mesa, too. Do they have fabric there? That would be really dangerous. eeeek, maybe we should all meet up for some stash enhancements the next time I'm in town (and hit up the PCC swap meet)

grumperina said...

They're fabulous! Love your fabric choices. Shirts are definitely not an easy thing to sew, and you did great!

MinaG said...

love the shirts! and the fabrics! well done!