Syo Sews

Syo sewed so well. Also she's wearing a shirt I made her.

While I’ve been dithering over the hubs’ coat, Syo seized the opportunity to sneak onto an unattended machine and whip up a little purse. Her being extremely proud of her creation, she asked me to blog about it. Me being putty in her cute little fingers, immediately snapped some photos and set to.

Look! It opens!

Look! Not only does it have a strap (thankfully using up the last of that trim!), but there’s even something approaching a seam-finish on the end of the fold-over flap!

Ok, so I may be a little bit exuberant. Here’s the thing. She sewed this on her own. The only thing she asked me was whether she could use the machine (yes, dear, just don’t sew through your fingers, k?). No hovering, no planning, no supervising every seam-allowance and pivot and backtack.

People, this is how I learnt to sew (when I was probably right around Syo’s age, maybe a smidge older). Grab fabric, think (or don’t), and go. Doesn’t work? Try again. Something you never thought of goes wrong? Oops, that was a learning experience!

I’m not knocking anyone who learnt to sew properly—it’s probably a much faster, more efficient way to learn. But it’s not how I learnt, and trying to teach my kids feels… forced. Weird. Stressful.

This wasn’t stressful. This was great.

Shot with tree.

In other news, I traced out the size F(2, but in length G/3) and size H(4) of the Jalie 2908 jeans, to make up for my nieces, possibly even for Christmas. I’m still in limbo over a shirt for my Dad… I have the fabric picked out, but the Negroni pattern I ordered at the beginning of the month (yes, I caved, finally) still hasn’t arrived. I have printed out a custom size (as far as I can figure going on my mom’s recollection of his measurements and some gentle prodding over the phone) of this pattern, but I’m a little worried that it’s going to fit like a tent, which is not really what I want to create. I’m planning a backup gift on that front, either way. On the subject of Mr. Isis (every time I type that I think I should just put “Osiris”)’s jacket, I did a second muslin, with a much fuller back and wider sleeves, after he very instructively flexed while wearing the first muslin and ripped the back seam open clear to the waist. We are having some issues over fit vs. freedom of motion; like many hard-to-fit people, he’s used to wearing knits or vastly oversized wovens. Anyway, the second muslin had a very curved back seam, a lot of ease rotated into the shoulders (basically I rotated some of the curve from the neck into a shoulder-dart, but I don’t plan on sewing the dart, just easing the fabric in), and has some big folds under the arm, all of which disappear completely when he crosses his arms. I tried to suggest (as I seem to recall reading somewhere) that a suit-jacket should lie smooth when the hands are clasped in front. He doesn’t consider this adequate. I think he’s on glue. The debate continues. Anyway, I think I can shave off a bit of the excess and get something that doesn’t look completely grotesque when he’s standing naturally.  Fitting muscles is weird. It’s almost like an FBA for the back, in an area that doesn’t happen to have any darts. (Boy has a drop of almost 12″ from chest to waist right now. That’s not only more than mine, that’s more than twice mine. The jerk.). At least widening the sleeves went well. I’d be tempted to try a larger size, but the shoulders fit beautifully.

Now if I could just find my roll of craft paper to make the rest of the pattern pieces… (I’m trying to save the wrapping paper for the presents…)

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35 Comments

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35 responses to “Syo Sews

  1. Congratulation to Syo for her creation!
    And to be fair, I combined my mum’s teaching, some ‘choas theory learning’ of my own and finally some proper classes for pattern making and advanced sewing technique (which I took when I got the impression I was missing something to make my garments quite the way I wanted them) so I can definately understand your consideration.

    And then, fitting an even slightly close-fitting jacket for a man is hard. I remember that making the pattern for E’s casual jacket was quite a struggle and got messed up at the last hurdle when it turned out that with the collar on, the back of the neck was too tight (lesson there: you really have to do a muslin with collar. A raw neckline will stretch and hide a world of trouble). I think that neck issue is fairly common for men with strong upper bodies. Fortunately for me, E is a fuller at the waistline than Osiris (just go for that name, I’d say) which keeps him closer to a ‘normal’ figure (although I’m still struggling with a shirt block for my stick-skinny-but-well-muscled younger brother, so I think I know what you’re talking about) but his long arms and legs made him buy RTW stuff which was quite wide in the body. So, in essence, he tends to want that freedom of movement, in a nice, fitted shape…
    My tips would be these: go for a fabric which has both some weight to it and yet drapes fairly well. I’ve had good results with wool coating. It will hang gracefully and it’s a ‘normal’ for men’s coats to have some added ease.
    And this: I know you’ve already decided on a pattern but it’s for a fitted jacket. Those are built with the most confining sleeve and shoulder arrangement. Combine those parts to their equivalent in a true men’s coat pattern or one for a casual coat/jacket. There, more ease is added in the body and sleeves are at a different angle.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts! I did a full collar in the first muslin, fortunately. We are using a draping, soft coating, although I’m not sure how much genuine wool it contains.

      Stick-skinny but well-muscled is pretty close to describing Osiris at the moment…

  2. I think I learned to sew the same way…except, my mom had some doll clothes she had cut out but lost enthusiasm for. I picked them up and sewed them together and ta-da! I don’t even remember how I learned to cut out patterns, pin, follow a grain line, any of that — although I’m sure it happened because I have the Cabbage Patch dresses to prove it. The purse is lovely and Syo looks delighted!

    You are doing better than I am. The Hubs is built like a bear and has a long torso. I really should make him shirts because everything is either too short or too roomy through the torso, but I hate assembly-line sewing and get fidgety at the thought of having to fit someone else’s body. I haven’t even managed to sew for myself this week and that’s saying something.

    • Ahaha! I saw a pattern for Cabbage Patch outfits at the thrift store the other day! I really have no interest in sewing doll clothes these days, though, so I resisted. (And my kids don’t have CP dolls. Although my mom probably still has my old one stashed somewhere…)

      I really like the *idea* of sewing for my hubs, because he is so hard to fit and stylistically picky. And some things I’ve made him he’s worn to death, which is always nice. It’s the actual doing it—fitting, getting photos, etc.—that can be frustrating… ;)

  3. Go Syo, your purse is very cute, next thing you’ll be guest posting about your projects!

    T, someone was making a tailored jacket for an athletic figure (wide sloping shoulders, narrow waist, etc) recently (? 2 months ago) on the C&T forum, maybe you can pick up some hints there?

    Have an awesome Christmas if I don’t ‘see’ you sooner!

    • Oh, I should check that out. I remember going over some old threads on the subject when I was trawling that site ages ago, but I haven’t been recently (I always feel outclassed ;) )

      Have a great Christmas yourself!

  4. Congrats to Syo!

    Osiris is a great nom-de-plume… I just use my husband’s name…

    Italian men’s shirts often have double-pointed darts in the back, to give a better shape… I wonder if Osiris would stand for that?

    • Anne

      I made a Burda shirt for my guy that had those back double pointed darts (Burda 03-2009-132) and it worked out really well.

    • Back darts would definitely be a possibility for a shirt… This particular pattern has the side-panel (which is basically like a princess-seam, but further to the side) which I keep thinking should be able to take the place of the darts, but the shaping’s not necessarily in the right place. The problem with fitting muscle is that it moves and changes shape so dramatically…

      The other variable in here is how he’s feeling about his body :P. Right now he’s “skinny” so he wants everything to be super-fitted. This time last year, he was “fat” and really wanted everything like a tent. I really don’t want to make him a coat he’ll refuse to wear if he gains ten pounds.

      Boy has issues. >_<

  5. Lucy

    12 inches? Flimmin’ heck.

    Go Syo! I am completely self-taught, starting at the grand old age of 20 (and diving straight into garments complete with fitting alterations), and I don’t regret it for one minute because it feels like my hobby and my incentive! Sure there are quite a lot of things that I’d do differently were I sewing the same things now, but I feel I’ve learned those lessons a lot better than if I’d had somebody Wise and Learned standing over me and pontificating.

  6. WTG Syo! Good job :O)

    This is how I learned to sew as well. Its a good way :O)

  7. Way to go, Syo!! That’s awesome! And I (re) learned the same way. It’s probably easiest and best.

  8. Hooray to Syo and her lovely purse! I think things you’ve figured out yourself are a lot more special (and techniques stick in you mind much better) than having someone stand behind you doing all the thinking. Most of my sewing was figured out that way, too (and most of the rest of the credit goes to youtube… ;) ).
    No fitting advice as I’m pants at fitting, but I love Osiris as a nickname for your hubby. :)

  9. Syo deserves major props! Being able to see how pieces become something else and knowing what pieces are needed are so tough for some of us. Excellent work!!

  10. Go Syo, I love the purse. I learned mostly by doing, and often miss that feeling of freedom. There was a lot of failure but I learned a ton by my mistakes. My mom’s biggest contribution was not worrying about her machine, rescuing me when I was stuck and teaching me how to press. Sounds like fitting Osiris is going to be a chore–can’t say I have that much pity for you when the problem is that he is so buff. Happy Holidays!

  11. Booyah, Syo!!!

    Oh dear. A house with kids must have a stead supply of glue, huh? Phin (Mr Clio) also has a larger than average chest-to-waist drop b/c of his muscles. So the arms and chest are a *problem* and RTW fits a bit tent-like. Double pointed darts does work for him on shirts. I noticed that when he buys suits, it’s almost always Italian brands, which typically have a larger drop than American (go figure). So, maybe snooping around some Italian labels or fashion sites might also give some ideas on style lines and how to tailor the coat for a more muscular physique? I would not mess with the shoulders if they fit.

    • Yeah, I definitely don’t want to mess with the shoulders.

      In his late teens (and at the height of his insane-body-building) Osiris once inquired of a tailor about getting a suit-jacket custom made. The man told him it couldn’t be done. I had thought he was just lacking imagination, but now I’m wondering…

  12. Petra

    The purse is FABULOUS!!! My seven year old favors similar colors and construction, and yes, it is much more relaxing if I just let her do it!! As for men’s coats, I am having exactly the same experience with my husband’s now belated birthday gift. I still need to increase the sleeve width in back…sigh… I too harbor the sneaking suspicion that if 1) the muslin material were slippery like lining and 2) he was testing fit in a position more common in his real life job than in Cirque de Soleil it would be F-I-N-E.

  13. What a creative spirit! We, of course, know where she gets it from. I wish my kid were a little bit more drawn to sewing. She has other creative pursuits and, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that kids are on their own paths.

  14. Kudos to Syo! The creative talent runs in the family!

  15. Yay, Syo! It’s exciting to see one’s kids scratching their creative itches, isn’t it? And kudos to you Mr. Isis’s coat. Although I’ve sewn DH a few shirts, and he’s not a picnic to fit, he likes his clothing loose, even if it’s a knit, so fitting isn’t so bad. BTW, the picture of your muslin seams rrrrripping à la Popeye was my LOL moment for the morning….

  16. How very exciting that Syo sews!! I learned exactly the same way. My mom helped when I asked, but otherwise she left me to my own devices and it was wonderful.
    And you have a white tree?!! I wanted a white tree and lost that “discussion”.
    I may find one on sale after Christmas and swoop it up.

    • Well, we’ve been having the real tree/fake tree “discussion” for the last dozen years. The white tree was actually my concession last year—if we were going to get a fake tree, it had to be one that couldn’t be found in nature. :)

  17. Zena

    Another vote for “Osiris”.

  18. What a great purse, she looks so proud, and rightly so.
    I like Osiris, fits the theme.
    I haven’t sewn for my husband yet. I’ve taken measurements in case I did want to do a surprise, I have a much loved (as in ripped at seams worn out) shirt that will be redone into something else for him. But sewing has to come from a real itch to do a project for me, the itch just hasn’t been strong enough yet.

    • Shopping with my husband is so frustrating—he’s a stylish guy (within his very particular preferences)—and hard to fit on top. I love the idea of making him that perfect thing that he’s been looking for since he was a teenager. But it does have its frustrations…

  19. Now she needs to start a blog! ;) She’s so cute!

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