Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Duty Calls

I've been very busy over the past few weeks. Here's what I want to be working on--McCalls 9212, which is one of the first vintage patterns I purchased.

I bought some gorgeous red linen and then got busy on other projects and set it aside after tracing the pattern. You know how it is...sometimes a project (like my daughter's Gertie dress) needs to sit and stew for a year or two. That's the beauty of retro sewing. The patterns don't go out of style during the procrastination period, they just get more retro.

I got this far...
...when duty called and I had to switch over to this:

My go-to men's shirt pattern. I've been using this same pattern to make my husband's shirts since we first got married. (I'm rather impressed that he still wears the same size he wore when we wed.) I weaned him away from custom shirts almost a decade ago, when children's organized sports controlled our lives. He was quite happy buying his shirts and I was quite happy having him buy his shirts...until he could no longer find his favorite cotton chambray work shirts.

The brand he liked no longer exists and he couldn't find another brand he liked. That's when I got the look. The I-know-you-can-duplicate-my-favorite-shirts look. In return I gave him the I-know-you-can-rub-my-feet-every-night-while-we-watch-TV look. For a while our gazes battled, negotiated, then agreed. Shirts for foot rubs--and several hours in the fabric stores of my choosing. I must confess that I bought more than chambray, but more about that later.

Here's shirt number one (there will be three, because I'm insane):
Sure enough--it looks eerily like his old work shirts, right down to the white top stitching and buttons.

I used a medium weight woven sew-in interfacing for the collar and cuffs. I think it worked well.

There are no raw edges in the shirt. The side seams are flat fell seams and I (finally) learned how to attach the sleeves to the body without raw edges showing...
thanks to Peter at Male Pattern Boldness who is taking a shirt making course at the Fashion Institute and learning all kinds of amazing stuff that he's kind enough to share on his blog. The steps are here if you're interested.
My stitching wobbled a bit at the top of the shoulder and normally I would take it out and redo that section, but I forced myself to be realistic. This is supposed a comfortable work shirt my husband can wear in the Nevada heat. Within a week there will be a barb-wire hole or some such thing marring the general wonderfulness of this shirt, so I'm going to live with the wobble.

Once the shirt was done and I convinced my husband that I'd make him another in the next decade, I was ready to dive back into the dress...and then duty called again.

Someone (okay, it was me) came up with the bright idea of the family running a popular 8K race dressed as the characters in Robin Hood Men in Tights. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find green men's tights? Finally I found football tights. Hurray for green school colors.

There are six of us, which means six jerkins made out of brown duck. I'm on jerkin numbers four and five, sewing them assembly style since they are the same size and I won't do anything foolish like sewing a large front to a small back (not that those things happen to me or anything). So...another jerkin or two, two more white puffy shirts (one completed and fortunately the rest of my merry band have their own puffy shirts), six hats, and I'll be back at that red dress.

I can't wait.


  1. I have that pattern! It was also one of the first vintage patterns I acquired. I haven't made it yet, but every time I see it I think to myself "I really need to make that!" At the rate you're getting sidetracked, maybe I should try to race you to see who could get it finished first! lol I just have this little thing called a PhD dissertation distracting me, no biggie ;oP

    I'll be eagerly awaiting seeing your finished version - and being inspired (again) to do my own!

  2. Those dissertations do tend to distract. ;-) I hope all goes well. I'm excited to get going on this dress--just one jerkin and two shirts to go--so stay tuned. When you get done with your version, I'd love to see it!

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