Friday, November 27, 2009

Another shirt and some thoughts about prints

As promised I made another shirt this week. It is not great but it is a lot better than my previous one, so I will call it a success. The next one will be even better. I used the same pattern for both shirts, but I made a couple small changes for shirt number two. I reduced the size of the pockets and the width of the front plackets. For my next shirt I will reduce the size of those pieces a bit more.

This shirt is 100% cotton which is much better than the polyester I used before. What little experience I gained from the first shirt helped a lot with this one. At this rate of improvement I should have a nice shirt finished by the end of my fourth or fifth attempt. The biggest improvement with this shirt was the seams. The seams on my first shirt were unfinished; on the second shirt I made flat felled seams for the shoulders, sleeves, and sides. My stitching could have been straighter, but I am still quite pleased with my seams.

There are three problems with this shirt, two of which I should be able to overcome with the next one. The buttonholes are a little too big, I screwed up the collar, and the shirt is the wrong size. All three problems provided learning experiences so I am not too upset. I now have a better understanding of how to correctly size button holes. The collar was the most difficult part of the shirt. It needed a few attempts to get it attached and I never got it on well, but by the time I was done I finally understood how this type of collar works. The next one will be easy. As for the size of the shirt, unless I want to get another pattern there is not much I can do. I do not yet feel comfortable enough to try resizing an existing pattern. I wear large shirts, so I thought I should use the same size pattern. I should have used medium. I do not know if all patterns are sized too big or if it was just this one. I will know more about sizes after I try a different pattern.

Before beginning work on the shirt I went to Walmart to buy the fabric. I picked a nice print with flowers, but before I got to the cutting counter I found a bolt of the black and white striped print. The flower print was a lot nicer, but the striped one was only $1.00 per yard. Economy trumped aesthetics. I will hold off using nicer (and more expensive) prints until I can make a shirt I want to wear. As I was loading the fabric into a washing machine I discovered a copyright message in the selvage.

I understand taking out a copyright on an intricate design with lots of shapes and colors, one with flowers, or one with copyrighted characters. Perhaps even an original plaid or an intricate striped design with multiple colors and stripe widths deserves a copyright. But simple black and white stripes? Is this pattern truly worthy of copyright protection? Surely someone used black and white stripes before MBT. What obligations do I have if I use a copyrighted pattern? Do I need to give MBT credit for my shirt? Can they sue me if my shirt is not up to their high standards? Maybe I should just use solid colors. Does anyone hold the copyright for red?

And now for the obligatory class update: On Tuesday I made but did not attach the collar for my tailored shirt. Unlike the collars on the shirts I made at home, this one has a neck band. Now I know how to make two types of shirt collars. I also finished the front placket and attached the two front pieces to the back. This shirt has a yoke while the two I made at home do not. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to put the pieces together, but after I got them pinned the sewing was easy. I will either alter the pattern I am using at home to include a yoke or find a new pattern that already has one. I have two class sessions left in which I must attach the collar, make and attach the sleeves, close the sides, and hem the bottom. It is a lot to do, but I am on schedule and I have confidence in my ability to turn in a well made shirt on time. Then all I will need to worry about is my final exam.


  1. I see that one part of the front has horizonal stripes and the other part vertical stripes. What does the back look like?

  2. Vertical stripes on the back. The left front and right pocket were cut on the crosswise grain; everything else is on the lengthwise grain. If I use this print for another shirt I will make bias cut pockets and a yoke cut on the lengthwise grain. The back and both front pieces will be cut on the lengthwise grain. The yoke and collar will have horizontal stripes, the front and back stripes will be vertical, and the pocket stripes will be at a 45 degree angle pointed down. Sleeve stripes will be in the direction of the arm. Most stripes shirts have all pieces cut on the lengthwise grain, but pockets and yokes cut on the bias are not unheard of.

  3. I love striped shirts but I am not to sure about this one at all. My opinion though.

  4. I'm not too fond of it either. I'm still learning how to make these shirts and this fabric was cheap. Once I can make this shirt well I'll start using better prints.