The baby t was the first shirt we made. Everyone in class agreed that of the two it was the more difficult one. I do not know if that is because it is smaller or because by the time we started work on the adult t we had more experience with sergers.
It took me three attempts to make the baby t. Fortunately I had finished my previous assignment early so I had time to cut out multiple copies of the pattern pieces before the class began work on the shirts. My first attempt was a dismal failure, but it provided useful experience with sergers. The shoulder seams were easy, but after multiple attempts and failures to attach a sleeve, the fabric had been trimmed too much for me to continue. I used what I had already assembled as scrap. It would have been nice to finish a shirt on my first attempt, but I was neither surprised nor upset with the outcome. I began that first shirt knowing it was just practice. By the time I gave up on it I felt I had finally figured out how to successfully attach a sleeve, and I learned a trick that proved invaluable on all my following shirts. I found it to be a lot easier to attach sleeves and neck ribbing if I used two different color fabrics. This allows me to see exactly where the two pieces of fabric are so I am able to sew the seams without any holes.
Before I began work on shirt number two the instructor made one to show the class how to do it. It took her no more than ten minutes, and she was working slowly so that she could explain each step along the way. I spent nearly 90 minutes working on my shirt. The neck ribbing was the most difficult and time consuming part, and while I managed to attach both sleeves on the first attempt without any problems the process was also quite difficult. I had not yet learned how to use the coverstitch machine, so for the bottom I did a mock coverstitch hem with the serger and a straight stitch. Unfortunately, as I was using the serger my hands slipped and I gouged a large chunk out of the shirt. I knew I would not be able to turn it in, but I finished it anyway. It was still good practice, and I was doing fine on time.
I do not know any babies, but my teddy bear was willing to model the shirt for you. It is a little big on him, but at least I do not have to worry about him outgrowing it.
Attempt Number three was a lot easier. I finished the shirt in about one hour. I knew what I needed to do, and I was sewing with a little confidence. I knew the shirt was not perfect, but I was pleased with it and I wanted to give one of my classmates time on the serger. There are 20 students in the class and only nine sergers. I lost one point because one of my shoulder seams was not perfect, one point because the neck ribbing was not perfectly centered, two points because the armpit seams did not line up perfectly, and two points because the bottom hem was not perfectly straight.
The adult t-shirt was the easiest one yet. It took me less than 45 minutes to make. The only men's pattern was for a v-neck shirt, and I do not like v-neck shirts, so I made a women's shirt. I will give it to my sister. The pattern called for the sleeves to be hemmed with the coverstitch, but I thought they would look better with a ribbed cuff. I told the instructor how I felt, and she said that as long as I could make it work I could make the sleeves however I liked. I went with the cuff. My classmates were impressed with my innovation, and the instructor gave me a perfect score for the sleeves. The total grade consisted of eight sections, each with a maximum score of five points. I lost one point for a shoulder seam and two points for the armpit seams. It did not change my final score, but I was thrilled to see that for the neck ribbing and serger use my score was five plus.
The semester is almost over. The only things left to do are make a tailored shirt, learn to use a button hole machine, and pass my serger threading test. I could have threaded a serger today, but I wanted to let my classmates who still needed to finish their t-shirts use the machines; I will do it next week. The instructor did not want us to start sewing the tailored shirt today. She will provide detailed instructions for it next week. I was able to cut out all my pattern pieces though, so I will be able to start work as soon as she says go. It is a big project, and I admit I am a little intimidated by it, but I think I will make a good shirt. If there is one skill everyone in class has become great at this semester it is tearing out stitching. I hope I will not have to do too much of it, but at least I can do it well.