The Ferdinand Shirt
This shirt was a big sewing learning experience for me. It's not quite my usual style (a little cuter than I go in for), but I love it. Full of firsts and not-firsts, but doing things better (smarter) than before.
First first: Frenched all the seams! I am in total and complete love with French seams, and I kind of want to show the seams to everyone, although I don't. This might be the main reason I love, rather than just like, this shirt.
I've never had a serger, so such a clean, slick seam finish was a wonderful treat, and doesn't at all feel like too much extra work. Although, on the right shoulder, I perhaps didn't realize that my needle was shifted to the side and I perhaps ended up with stupid fray-y fabric peaking through my sleeve cap, and perhaps I was forced to unpick it only to realize that I could have actually just sewn over again with the correct 1/4 inch seam allowance and been fine. Even with that kerfuffle, it felt very worth it. I would very much like to learn how to do a clean seam finish with the invisible zip, but I haven't the slightest. There, I was forced to zig zag and it's fine but I want that French seam cleanness everywhere.
Second first: Marking with a tracing wheel and thread for darts. Sure makes a difference for sharpness and precision. WHO KNEW.
Third first: Eased, double darted, set-in sleeves. Of everything that went into this project, feels the most impressive. But Kristiann’s instructions were so clear that other than the above-mentioned French seam snafu, all the new-to-me bells and whistles were a snap!
Which reminds me. Kristiann is Kristiann Boos, the mind behind Victory Patterns and the author of Boundless Style, from which this pattern was drawn. She’s a thorough, careful instructor, and I enjoyed reading her approach to various techniques. Boundless style is a mix-and-match dress-making book: I chose the Billie bodice, Ella peplum, and Bardot sleeve in a straight size 10 as I seem to match this book’s pattern block pretty closely
The Billie bodice contrast is achieved with some folding, which you can’t see in the line drawings, and is pretty neat. It was fun to build, I gotta say. Although I worry about it sticking out weirdly.
I more or less chose the pattern to work with the limited fabric available, a handkerchief print skirt I picked up at value village while hunting for a suitable bear costume to turn into an ewok costume for my son. I bought the skirt despite disliking the shape because it reminded me of Ferdinand, the sweet bull.
The white contrast fabric came from a bedsheet, in the spirit of refashioning. Though this top would look better if I’d been able to make the back in the red kerchief, the bedsheet went overtime for those pattern pieces.
On to the not so new, but definitely improved elements.
First: an actually fairly invisible zip on the side. Although I wish it opened at the bottom as this shirt is quite snug and I feel like I’d like that better for dressing.
Second: a lovely collar. I’ve done one collar before, but this one is better. I used an alternative-alternative method, as I constructed the collar and outer stand, then attached to the shirt, then the inner stand, glue baste and sew. The stand top stitching looks quite nice and clean, but the inside is a bit wonky, in part because it isn’t perfectly matched and in part because my stitches started skipping something ugly.
Third: the curved hem turned out just dandy, using the By Hand London tutorial. I did a glue baste and hand stitch to finish, which was tedious but I was still fighting with that thread situation, so it was probably ultimately faster.
Sooo happy with how much I learned on this. Cutesiness therefore a ok!
Size: 10, no alterations that I recall.
Fabric: red print from a skirt, 98% cotton, 2% Lycra. White solid from a sheet, 100% cotton.
If there is a next time: a full solid with contrast collar would be lovely, would be nice to choose something with enough fabric for a dress, and I want a nicer way to finish that zip! Also, is a sway back adjustment the thing for the extra fabric back pooling up there?