The Evil Shirt of Doom

Don't be fooled by its innocent appearance... this is truly the Evil Shirt of Doom

Is finished, and actually doesn’t look as terrible as I had thought it might. The construction is still pretty bad—the worst since the sheer JJ blouse—but it’s basically impossible to take stitches out of this fabric, so it’s just going to have to stay that way. It is very drapey, and hangs quite close to the body compared to the other shirt from this pattern, probably in part due to the narrower yoke, but partly just the different fabric. I do like the wider cuffs. I was worried about the lengthwise stretch, especially beside the button placket, but at least so far it isn’t noticeable. I did a crapload of reinforcing on the shoulder and armscye seams, hence the double rows of double-stitching on the yoke.

Anyway, it’s done. Warts, wrinkles,  wavy seams and all. And, once again, he won’t let me take a picture, so

Doom Shirt---back view. Note the highly uneven hem. Actually, don't.

here it is on a hanger. When worn, it has a much more casual look than the other shirt, which is a tad dressy; I’m not really sure the distinction shows as well on the hanger, though. I don’t think any of us were sure how the gathers would work in a knit, but they are actually not bad (though they were a pain to sew). I guess it helps that my expectations for this shirt were so low, low, low.

I think I need to add a small component to my documenting of my sewing, and that is the Laundering Factor. Sorry to talk about my laundry, folks, but this is an issue: I can make the nicest clothes in the world, but if they don’t survive the laundry, it’s just a big waste. I don’t mind hand-washing some stuff (the sheer JJ has had this treatment several times now, and while its seams continue to pull, they’ve been doing that since five minutes after I first put it on), but the real, heavy-duty, day-to-day stuff has to survive the machine. I’ll do it on delicate in cold water, throw it in a lingerie bag, hang it to dry after—but it has to get through the machine.

So far the other JJ blouses have survived the machine quite nicely, though they could use a bit of pressing, and I hate ironing (other than when I’m sewing). My first cowl top has popped in and out of the wash a couple of times now and aside from a bit of pilling (it’s the same Evil Fabric as the Shirt of Doom, by the way) it’s fine. But the Manequim cowl top came out (of the lingerie bag!!!) with a big hole in the back drape. Seriously? In the bag? I don’t know what happened except maybe it got caught in the bag’s zipper? Anyway, I’m a bit choked over that. It was its first trip through the laundry! But, in the end, the shirt was basically a muslin, and I have no qualms with re-making it in a better fabric at some point. No, what I’m really choked about is the Black Jalie Jeans. These things fit like a dream. I fought with the waistband, had to pulll the twill tape out because it was too tight, tweaked and tugged… and then I washed them.

Now, I never put my stretch jeans in the dryer. This is one of those things that Is Not Done. But I did (in the interests of shrinking things up) put the fabric in the dryer when I pre-washed it. Also I have nowhere to hang 4m of denim to dry. And I made them, and got them fitting wonderfully, and then I washed them again. Hanging to dry.

After hang-drying, they were a good 1/4″ too big on each leg, and the whole waistband was loose and gaping. Seriously, folks, I could’ve screamed.

So this last time when I washed them, I (cringed and) threw them in the dryer. And, of course, they come out fitting beautifully. The waistband is still a little soft—I think a problem with my interfacing, more than anything, and I”ve bought some different stuff to try next time—but the fit is snug where it should be, and the waistband is no longer actively gaping, even if it is a little stretchier than I’d like.

So, here’s my problem. Should I give up pre-washing the stretch denim, on the grounds that the dryer causes more stretching (later) than it prevents shrinking? Should I add a wash to the construction phase, before I put on the waistband (which won’t help with the waistband stretching out part, alas)? Or just continue to (sob) throw them in the dryer, accepting that they’ll die much sooner than they would otherwise (Which, I guess, is a lot easier to do for jeans that cost me $20 of fabric instead of $80 and up). Don’t ask me to give up wearing jeans that look like they’ve been spray-painted on, I’ve been doing that since I was twenty and the hunt for that elusive fit is the main reason I spend so much on RTW jeans. Even then the ratio of jeans I still like after a full day’s wear is not much more than 50/50. I guess we’ll have to see. Play it by ear. Experiment. The biggest problem with sewing with stretch fabrics, I’m concluding, is that they are unpredictable. There’s too many variables—shrinkage, stretch, recovery—that are really hard to fully comprehend before you’re wearing the finished garment. At which point, it’s too late.

Anyway, that’s my whining for the day. Time to get to work.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sewing

4 responses to “The Evil Shirt of Doom

  1. Summer

    “Don’t ask me to give up wearing jeans that look like they’ve been spray-painted on”

    Lol, love it! I machine wash and dry my jeans inside out and that prevents a lot of fading. For me, jeans stretch out during wearing and only the dryer can shrink them back into shape. Perhaps use the dryer only as needed? Like you said, each denim behaves differently. Grrrr

    The knit shirt looks great, btw.

  2. It’s not the fading that bothers me (I usually start doing the inside-out wash thing, but then the knees start fading faster than the rest of it so I give up). My issue with using the dryer is that it breaks down the lycra faster, so your pants don’t last as long. Since I usually spend a LOT of money on my jeans, I need each pair to last as long as they can. Also I usually find that the tightening from the dryer usually only lasts a few hours of wear. This is what confused me with the black jeans—I wore them for DAYS without them loosening up, then wash them, and pow! But you’re right, this pair, at least, will probably spend a lot of time in the dryer if that’s what it takes to keep me loving them. I have enough of the same denim left to make another pair, so for that one I think I’ll wash it after it’s constructed, before putting the waistband in. Which won’t help with the waistband, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    Hey, thanks for the comments (and compliments ;) by the way! :)

  3. Zena

    Late to the party, but here’s my 2 cents:

    It’s a little odd that you wore them and they didn’t loosen up until the wash. But it looks like the wash loosens it up, the dryer tightens it again, and the wearing doesn’t have much effect.

    I’d prewash the fabric (maybe even 2-3 times) but *not* use the dryer if I wasn’t planning to put them through the dryer as part of the regular maintenance.

    • That’s a good idea… I just have nowhere to hang-dry 4m of denim! :) After one last taking-in-a-quarter-inch at the thighs and a few more wash/dry cycles, they seem to be fine with hanging dry now.

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