Making Shirts!

6:21 PM

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd been to our Farm and in my spare time, did a little sewing.
Using a pattern purchased from Blank Slate Patterns - the Beachy Boat Neck - I made some shirts for my kiddos.  For each of these shirts, I got the fabric from Girl Charlee, an online website that has fabulous knit choices.

The process begins with the above picture: fabric folded over and pattern pages pinned to the fabric.  With this type of pattern, I printed it myself from a pdf document and taped the pages together. It came with really good instructions, so this wasn't all that hard to do. 

And here is the finished product.

Proudly modeled by Brooklyn!

From the side...

And here was August's version of the Beachy Boatneck...

And a side shot.

And now I will take you step by step through my process, as it occurred, for making Dorien's shirt.

After pinning and cutting out the pattern pieces, I matched up the front and back pieces at the shoulder seams, wrong sides facing out and sewed along the shoulder pieces.

And here is the front and back facing pieces. Also matched up, right side to right side and sewn along the shoulder seams.

Then you pin the facing to the neckline, like so.

In this case, you turn the front and back right side facing up and then pin the facing (matching front up with front, etc) so it's laying right side down onto the right side of the front and back pieces. If it sounds confusing, it really wasn't.

Sew around the neckline.

Once your neckline has been sewn to the facing, you baste the side facing pieces to the arm pieces. This makes it easier to pin on your sleeves, so the facing isn't moving around while you're sewing.

Confession: I had never basted before. It was easier than I thought. Literally just a matter of hand-sewing some stitches down the side of the fabric to hold it in place. It will be pulled out later. 

So, here is the front and back with facing sewn on and the sleeves pinned in place. It really looks crazy.

And then carefully, I sewed the sleeve to the front and back pieces, making sure the facing piece was properly attached too.  The pattern instructions said it might be good to topstitch around the neckline, and they were right.  It definitely made it look cleaner and tighter.

Once the arms had been attached, the next step was literally to pin the sleeve seams and side seams together and sew it up! I used my serger for this part and it was a snap. 

As an FYI, my mom has a ginormous dining room table at the Farm and I took full advantage of this enormous table. I had my sewing machine set up side by side with my serger, and was able to use the other end for the pinning and "preparing" of the fabrics.

Sides all sewn up!

I'm still figuring out how to hem knits, so for the sake of simplicity, I literally just serged the bottom of the shirts. I am not able to set up a double needle on my sewing machine, and since I'm still figuring all this out, I just went with the low-tech approach. It looks fine on the shirt, since it's a slubby knit anyway. 

Last step: Put the shirt on the future wearer, measure the length of arm and hem and finish it up.

Since this shirt was for Dorien, I made the sleeves slightly shorter than Brooklyn's and August's. And I did hem the sleeves, using my regular sewing machine. 


Side shot. I love boatneck shirts and somehow, they seem even sweeter on little kids. 
Dorien's fabric is the softest knit and he looks so sweet in it!

I also got significantly faster with each shirt. I think Dorien's shirt (yes, it is also smaller) took me about an hour and a half to make. Brooklyn's shirt, being my first, probably took about 3-4 hours. 

Final products on my precious little children.

Another shot of my beloveds.

And after all that work, you definitely earn yourself a nap.

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  1. Hey Ashley. Did you know you can baste with Glue? There are special fabric glue sticks that you can use. The glue washes out. It makes it so easy.

  2. Ruth, thank you! I didn't know that, but I will definitely look into that next time! How brilliant! Thanks for the tip!