A long-awaited shirt

A long-awaited shirt (Also, GRASS! NO SNOW!!!!)

A long time ago, I made Tyo a shirt. And she loved it very much, but since I had made it in a pattern a couple of sizes too small, it was outgrown pretty much instantly. A replacement was mandated, but despite my best intentions, I allowed myself to be distracted with frilly dresses and fleece pants and other frivolities for, well, nearly two years at this point. I think it was Gertie’s pattern that put Tyo over the edge, though. Anyway, she marched down to the savage pit of despair that is my basement “sewing area,” dug through the chaotic array of teetering, half-unpacked boxes*, and emerged, victorious, with this fabric, which she had picked out, long ago, for a replacement shirt.


Burda 04/13, pattern #120

The next question was, of course, the pattern. What she REALLY wanted was an enlarged version of the original pattern. It being a Lekala, this is theoretically not that hard, but I wasn’t quite prepared mentally to figure it out. She’s also been wanting a tie-front shirt, too, which seemed like a more seasonal option, anyway. So I decided I’d use this tie-front pattern from the April Burda, which I picked up a few weeks back, thinking particularly of this pattern for Tyo. Of course, while Tyo (who is nearly thirteen) is now overlapping into the lower end of women’s sizes (when did THAT happen?), this particular pattern only goes down to a 36, and really she needs a 34. And even then, about five cm less of body length. Fortunately, in the foggy recesses of my brain I remembered something about the Selfish Seamstress’s long-ago tutorial on grading down nested sizes. Actually, this wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be. I suspect taking the time to highlight my closest line on the pattern sheet helped. Then I added seam allowances, which was basically adding back the width I had just removed, by the way. OK, I know there’s more to it, but just sayin’. For my final trick (such a good mother I am), I removed the five cm in extra length, half from the armscye area and half from the torso above the waist. I even walked my seamlines afterwards to check that they were good. I NEVER do that.

Then, I spent a slightly ridiculous amount of time pinning the major match-points on this wiggly, gauzy plaid. Seriously, I think cutting separate layers would have taken less time. It would’ve been worth it, though… except that I then proceeded to cut out both front and back with absolutely no regard for matching the sideseams. So all was basically for naught. DURRRRRR. This is why we don’t sew (cut out) late at night. *headdesk*



I opted to at least try to match the sleeve in the front armscye.  /sigh.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

I actually think this is a ridiculously cute little shirt. I love the simple collar (even if I couldn’t make heads or tails of Burda’s instructions for sewing it, and consequently winged it and made a bit of a hash.) I love the one button above the tie, and the gathered elastic on the sleeves (even though Tyo has warned me she will probably just roll them up.) The fit is pretty decent. The shoulders are a wee bit wide (and I did measure her shoulder width!) but perhaps that’s how it’s meant to be. I can’t quite tell if the waist length ended up right since the tie kinda scrunches everything up, but I guess that means it doesn’t matter, anyway. Despite being spongy and shifty, this is a really lovely fabric to work with. Also, yes, I was too impatient to wait until I had a real button on, so she has it pinned with her Mockingjay pin.

She's a cool kid.

She’s a cool kid.

The one thing that could’ve been a bit disastrous was the long, diagonal front edge of the ties, which is a hot ripply mess just waiting to happen. Fortunately for me, this fabric was fairly amenable to being steamed back into shape, and fortunately for anyone else who tries this pattern, once they’re tied I think it doesn’t matter too much. I mentioned I made a hash of the collar (well, mostly the finish on the inside.) I also managed to snip through the outer fabric when finishing this seam, so there’s an interesting little “detail patch” in one shoulder that I forgot to photograph for you. It’s totally cute and intentional-looking. Right? Right. We’ll go with that. In an attempt to neaten up my nasty collar-innards, I stitched a white flat-fold bias tape along the shoulder/back neck seam, which worked out reasonably well, and makes for some nice stabilization in that area for this spongy fabric. My seam-finishes are nothing to write home about, serged with a bit of topstitching… except that they are, because I haven’t been able to serge anything this lightweight in aeons without wanting to tear my hair out. I came up with a stop-gap solution for my serger’s overly aggressive needle thread tension—I wrapped some sturdy buttonhole thread in between the tension discs and cut it off short. The extra thread holds the discs open just enough that they have something resembling a normal tension for the actual serger thread. Hooray! Yes, I know this is not an Approved Solution (TM), and it will probably explode without warning into a Tangle of Overlock DOOOOOOM without warning. But it’s working and I really don’t have the money to get my serger serviced AGAIN (especially since the last servicing totally failed to correct this problem and may actually have exacerbated it.)

One final face

One final face

And I think that’s all I have to say, except that this is actually only the second Burda magazine pattern I’ve sewn, ever. And I’d be totally tempted to make myself one, except that there’s no way it would look as good on me as it does on her. I would like to figure out that collar, though.

Oh, and she wants another—in red. That’s my girl. 🙂

*I have a high tolerance for functioning around mess. This is particularly unfortunate for my neat-freak husband.



Filed under Sewing

34 responses to “Shirt-tales

  1. You are right, this is a ridiculously cute shirt!

  2. Very very cute shirt! And I love Tyo’s faces!

  3. Haha, I love how you described Tyo’s determination to finally get this shirt made! 😀 She was right though, because it looks great on her. You’re a very good (and talented) Mom.

  4. This is super cute-what a nice mom you are!

  5. Tyo looks great! Love the gauze shirt. Super cute.

  6. Cute shirt! I love the fabric she chose and the fact that she just used her Mockingjay pin to close it. =)

  7. Whoa! Congrats on the self-hosted domain! 🙂 Anyway, CUTE CUTE CUTE!! You should probably just go ahead and make the second one up now, *or* you could teach her how to make the second one. You know…teach a man to fish or whatever…. 😉 And yes, I am able to ignore a lot more mess than my hubby as well, but either he’s getting over it or I’m getting better at determining the “mess threshold”. 😉

    • Aww, thanks! Been thinking about it for a while, had some money burning a hole in my paypal account… (it doesn’t count as real money if it’s in the paypal account, right? 😉

  8. That’s a great shirt and I love how TYO is rockin the Cowgirl boots. Honestly, ignoring Burda instructions is wise – my screw ups are usually worse when I manage to follow them.

    (Also, that you managed to fit in references to The Princess Bride and The Hunger Games, and an image of a Rubik’s Cube all in one post is rather impressive. 😉

  9. She looks totally grown up. The shirt is ridiculously cute!

  10. Joy

    It’s really cute – especially in the plaid. I can’t believe she’s so grown up!

  11. That is killer cute. You really are an awesome mom.
    I can’t say that I have ever sized a pattern down, but I use Burda Style magazine has a little graph or tutorial in it somewhere about sizing up that I have used frequently.
    Does she know that you put her picture out there with her tongue sticking out? I think you should print that for later leverage….

    • Oh, she knows… this entire blogpost was vetted. (Mostly because she was trying to kick me off the computer… 😉 )

      It wasn’t nearly as confusing as I thought it might be, actually. 🙂

  12. Very good looking shirt! I kinda like it with the pin closure instead of a button!

  13. The top turned out cute; and it looks like she loves it, soooo
    isn’t that all that matters?
    Oh, can I tell you what happened last time I took my machine in (although not a serger)? Last year some time in March I took my machine in cause it was way weirding out in the bobbin area, (the whole bobbin holder would slip around and throw things off). This year although it was supposedly “fixed”, I took it back again and complained (about 1 year later) that it was doing the exact same thing!!!. The guy took one look at it, and sat right down then and there and figured out what the problem was and fixed it! The part cost me ahem….$12 and the rest was free!!! Of course it didn’t hurt that there were 3 people in line behind me by the time he was done; to see how happy I was with his service. It could have gone the other way! Take it back tell them they didn’t fix it right the first time. Be tactful and who knows what will happen. You could always call first to find out their policy. Good luck!

    • I’m so glad you had such great service (at least the second time!) Sadly, the repair place is in another province at this point… But my stop-gap solution seems to be working well, so I am a much happier camper. 🙂

      And yeah, the top is definitely getting a satisfying amount of love. 🙂

  14. Well, it’s a great shirt, and welcome to the new age of sewing endlessly for a teen daughter. You have some great years ahead of you, picking patterns and fabric together, so well done! Love the tongue photo, she actually looks thrilled despite herself.

  15. This is super cute! And I love the story of Tyo’s determination to get her shirt. Can’t blame her when the results are this fabulous!

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