Partway through 2013, I started making clothes for my son – I was tired of his clothes looking like every other little boy we knew and I was tired of either having to choose incredibly cheap clothes (which never lasted well) or incredibly expensive clothes. Somewhere around the end of 2013, when I realised that I was actually getting fairly good at this clothes making, I asked myself a question . . .
Why wasn’t I making clothes for myself?
I knew part of the answer to that was fear. Another part was expense (newsflash: material is expensive!). But I live 5 minutes drive from the wonderful East Coast Fabrics, which always has affordable material, and as for the fear – honestly, it was time to get over myself.
So my husband drove us to East Coast Fabrics and watched our son outside while I bought some material. Once I had the material, I had no option . . . I had to make something.
I decided on the Blank Canvas Tee. Free pattern, easy to fit, easy to put together. I wasn’t worried about worked with a stretch fabric since I’d been making Squirm’s t-shirts for quite a while – plus I knew I would actually wear a t-shirt.
I hoped to make a tester first, but the op-shop item I’d picked up to use for material (who knows what it was! Possibly a nightie?) wasn’t big enough, and I wasn’t going to find material much cheaper than I had it – so my brand new material became my ‘tester’.
And it worked out like this . . .
The material was a wrinkly, pink and white striped knit (the colour reminded me of a musk stick – hence the name) – I’m still getting to know all the different fabrics, so I’m not 100% on what it was, but I knew it would probably be pretty comfortable to sew. I used the Blank Canvas Tee pattern almost as is, but I cut the neck lower because I’m still breastfeeding, and it allowed me to pull the neck down.
The actual sewing was pretty easy – the pattern and instructions were easy to follow. I couldn’t find my interfacing to use for the shoulders, but I just used a strip from a slightly heavier knit and that worked really well. I was worried about what the neckline would look like after a zig-zag top stitch (a twin needle is on my wish list), but the thread matched really well, so it’s barely noticeable.
The hem gave me the most trouble – this material was rolling everywhere and not listening to my iron at all. I ended up using iron on tape, but it left it stiff 😦 It’s loosened up a bit in the wash, but I won’t do it again. (I’ve learned a couple of different techniques since then)
I like the shirt – I’ve worn it a couple of times already – but I don’t love it. The material makes me look rumpled, which isn’t always the look I’m going for. I’m also not a huge fan of the kimono sleeves – I think I like them a bit more fitted. Plus, I see all the sewing flaws in it!
But, for a first piece of clothing for myself, I’m pretty impressed with it. It proved to me that I can make clothes for myself, that I will learn while I’m doing it, that I will get better with every piece I make. And I had an awfully good time while I was sewing it.
Of course the next step was taking some photos to show it off. I could have waited for my husband to do it, but he’s not always great at taking photographic direction (prefers to do his own thing) and although we own a tripod – we couldn’t find it. So the outdoor table became my tripod while I tried to figure out how to get a decent shot! These aren’t wonderful, but – like the shirt – they’re a starting point to move on from!