Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-long: Day 4

Sewalong_4

Find the rest of the Sew-a-Long series here!

Are you ready for the 4th installment of the Mandarin top?! Fitting can be intimidating. Just remember to go slow, take it one step at a time, and do tiny adjustments until you get it where you want it to be! And don’t over-fit! If you try to get a garment to lie completely flat with zero wrinkles, chances are you won’t have enough wearing ease left and it’ll be terribly uncomfortable. There are many great articles on the internet that can help you learn how to fit! Even if you’re nervous, go ahead and give it a try. Hands on experience is the best teacher 🙂

For this step you will need:

  • Mandarin pattern instructions
  • Both fabric AND paper pattern pieces
  • Sewing machine + thread + scissors + pencil
  • Pins or Wonder clips (my favorite!)
  • Seam gauge, measuring tape
  • Full length mirror or camera w/self timer to check the fit
  • Seam ripper!

First, assemble your shirt according to pattern instructions. They are really terrific! I love the illustrations of each step. And I was pleasantly surprised by how easily and quickly the top came together! Truly the most time consuming part of this pattern is the fitting. But that’s the whole point of sewing for yourself, isn’t it?
It was a dream working with all of these pattern pieces – they aligned perfectly. I imagine this is why quilting is satisfying for so many people….everything fitting together so nicely! I am an extremely sub-par quilter, so quilts don’t really do it for me, but I LOVE a well-cut, non-slippery woven clothing pattern!

As mentioned before, for the muslin I omitted the collar and cuffs. I even omitted the buttons and buttonholes at first, but I did add them in later.

Once it’s together, try the top on. I pinned together the buttonhole markings for the initial fittings.

IMG_0080 IMG_0081 IMG_0082

If you need fitting adjustments, take note, and fix one at a time. From this fitting, I could see that I needed to: [Read more…]

Off the Rack ~ Converting a Slide Belt to a Grommet Belt

One of the tips you frequently read for busty gals is to buy clothing in a size up to fit your boobs, then get the waist tailored. Or, if you can’t get it tailored or the waist is only mildly big, then belt it. However, that belt tip requires that the belt actually stay snug. And unfortunately, several of the belts I own are fabric-covered slide belts with no grommets, so they don’t stay tight.

I got tired of constantly tightening those belts, and I can’t really replace them with grommet versions since most of them came with a dress that they perfectly match. So this week, I turned a slide belt into a grommet belt. Now I can adjust it bigger for bloated days, but it stays tight when I want to cinch in my waist.

Here’s how I did this easy and cheap project…

Supplies you’ll need:

Belt
Hammer
Eyelet/grommet tool and matching grommets (purchase the kit here, or just the tool here)
Seam ripper
Small, sharp sewing scissors
Chalk or marking tool of some sort
Belt buckle cover kit (this one was only $3.90 on Amazon)
Pliers (which I forgot to photograph below)

IMG_4959

Here’s a closeup of the belt buckle kit: [Read more…]

Sew-a-Long Update

A sewing tragedy struck last week – one I’m sure you sewists are familiar with! Or at least, sewists who are untidy and scatterbrained like myself 😉

IMG_7396

My sewing space. Yes….this is what it generally looks like.

I finally found time to stitch up my Mandarin shirt muslin . . . and my pattern pieces were nowhere to be found! Both my cut-out fabric pieces AND my carefully adjusted paper pattern. The only pieces I could find were the top bodice pieces, because I had sewn the darts in and apparently separated them from the rest of the project (why I did that, I have no idea).

I tidied up my entire sewing room and couldn’t find the missing parts anywhere!

Tears were shed. It was a sad, sad day.

I haven’t completely given up hope –I’m still going to hunt one more time and clean more thoroughly. But it’s looking like I may have to start from scratch! Don’t you just love when you have to start a project over from the ground up??? At least it’s an opportunity to make improvements. Seeing as I just finished breastfeeding last week, my bra size might be changing soon and maybe I’ll need new pattern adjustments this time around! Hopefully this setback only amounts to an even better final product 🙂

Save

Mandarin Shirt Sew-a-Long: Day 3

Sewalong_3

Ok, the last two weeks have been a little complicated (Supplies)(Piecing the pattern)(Pattern Adjustments)…and we haven’t even touched fabric yet! Never fear, we will finally do that today. Get ready to cut out the fabric for your fitting muslin! Cutting out a sewing pattern is a fairly universal process, so if you’ve done this before, just go ahead and do your thing! I’ll just share some of my tips and tricks below.

For this step, you will need:

  • Your adjusted (if necessary) Mandarin Shirt pattern pieces
  • Fabric for your muslin, washed and prepped
    • I bought a plain, non-stretch cotton fabric (similar), as this will not need to be a wearable garment. It will only be used to check the fit and make further adjustments.
  • Pattern weights or pins
  • Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
  • Pencil, tailor’s chalk, or other fabric marking utensil
    • I am a HUGE fan of the Pilot Frixion highlighter for fabric marking! It removes with an iron.
    • I also caved and used a Crayola washable marker for parts of this….again, not a wearable garment, so removable markings aren’t as important.

Firstly, for your fitting muslin, you don’t technically *need* to use all of the pattern pieces. It would be a good idea to cut out one of every piece so you can practice doing the steps before doing them on your final shirt. But the minimum pieces necessary to check the fit of the garment are: [Read more…]