Why do I sew? Let me count the reasons... | Week 30 | #52wonderfilledweeks

Why do I sew? I'll give you my extensive list of reasons below...make sure to take notes:

1. I can make anything I want.
2. I can alter anything to make it into something better.

Did you catch all that? LOL! Short, sweet and true! I can make anything I can think of and I can usually alter anything to make it better.  I did both of these things this week.  

So last week I was trying out a new (to me) pattern that wasn't love at first site but I ended up falling in like with it pretty hard core.  I really like the drape and I do love how it feels on.  This week I used my two yard cut of red, bamboo lycra to make the same shirt with a few alterations.  I thought the original white one was too snug on my fluffy parts so I took a 1/4" seam allowance instead of the indicated 3/8".  I also added 3/4 sleeves and split the difference in the length I had taken out from the previous week.  The result was...well not my favorite! (see below)

I wore it for our preview concert but wasn't sold on the fit.  The bamboo lycra is far more "drapey" than the DBP of last week and it felt a little big and sloppy, so I sat down and made some alterations.This shirt is hard to make some fit changes (like length) but I knew I wanted to 86 the sleeves and take in the side seams.  So this week was all about fit and spending time with my seam ripper...I know alot of people who would just cut off the seam allowance but I was really dedicated to doing things the right way this week so I got really good at taking out serger seams.  

The top was a pretty easy fix.  I turned the shirt inside out and pinned where I wanted to take in the side seams and basted the new seam.  Once I tried it on and made sure I liked it I moved onto removing the 3/4 sleeves.  These sleeves were from another pattern and for some reason ended up being looser than I would like.  I think because the shirt is so flowing in the front it was important to have more fitted sleeves, but maybe that's just me? At any rate, I took the sleeves off and serged down my new side seams.  Then I measured the arm holes and cut 3" bands at 85% of the arm hole length plus my seam allowance and banded the sleeves.  I really like the look and feel of this.  One band does lay wonky but I am hoping/praying that once I wash it all again it will relax a bit. 

I decided I really liked this particular top once I layered it over a black camisole.  I think the colors are striking so this is how I will wear it this week.  The drape is still probably a little too much in this fabric.  But I really do like how this top lays across the shoulders and upper chest.  I have some ideas for some cool Lotus' when I have a little more time to do the "pieced" or "color blocked" option and I have a GREAT double sided sweater knit that would be perfect for this...but I would need to figure out some sleeves for that one I think...

The other project I did this week was all about alterations AFTER I had a final product.  Often in my business we have to wear printed/logo t-shirts.  Even when I wasn't fluffy they never really fit me well.  The men's or standard t-shirt look large and sloppy, especially in the shoulders (because the seam usually comes down almost to my elbow) and the women's cut really doesn't account for actual boobs! A few years ago after I got back into sewing I realized I had all the skills to alter these shirts to fit me correctly.

I am sure some of you are thinking why bother? Well...this is why >>> When you FEEL good, you hold yourself differently, you command a room differently, you simply present yourself differently.  I found when I was wearing something that was ill fitted or just plain uncomfortable I didn't feel I could do and say the things I really wanted, merely because I didn't want anyone to look at me and see how uncomfortable I was.  Being self conscious can be debilitating and quite frankly it's unnecessary since I have the skills and tools to change the circumstances.  So this time when we put in our shirt order I got a men's 3X.  HUGE, and for good reason, I knew I'd possibly need the extra fabric for bands and sleeves.  

But just for giggles lets see how it looks on!

I started by grabbing my seam ripper and going to town.  I took the entire shirt apart.  Every hem, band, sleeve...everything.  

Then I started grabbing patterns to use to cut new pieces.  I ended up using the main bodice shape of the M4M Mama Claire, but the version where I make just a V neck and not a cross over shirt, for the body of the shirt.  I used the M4M Mama Mya for the neck line and I kind of eye balled the sleeves into a dolman type cut. 

Once it was all cut out (with the exception of the hems and the neckband) I sewed it all back together...and it was terrible.  I cut the bodice too short, the shoulders were still too long/big (duh because I hadn't actually cut them) and the traditional sleeve sewn to a dolman style cut bodice was just all wonky. (It was so late, and I was so disappointed I didn't stop to take pictures)

Now it's late, Super is outside taking pictures of Mars, and I am almost weeping in the sewing studio because I am sure I ruined this shirt.  My first thought was...geez how silly am I being...the art work on the shirt is mine (I also do graphic design) and I have the machine and the white vinyl to cut out the artwork...so worse case scenario I could get up early Saturday morning and buy some red jersey and just make my whole shirt from scratch...which by the way I still plan on doing! But then my second thought was hearing Tim Gunn in my head saying "make it work".  So after a long sigh, and a short pep talk I got the seam ripper BACK out and took the shirt apart, again!  This time I laid it out and eye balled cutting the shoulder seam, using the a traditional "in set" shoulder seam as my guide and not a dolman. 

With the new shoulder cut I once again sewed the sleeve pieces back to the shirt and resewed the side seams.  Next up was to carefully measure and cut band for the bottom of the shirt. It was so short I couldn't have hemmed it if I wanted to and it would ride up with any slight movement.  I was ecstatic  to see that I had enough material to make a large band that solved the length issue. 

I didn't have enough to make bands for the sleeves so I serged the edges and turned them up about 3/4".  Thankfully the neck band still worked with the new neck line and I finished up by top-stitching with my double needle for the sleeve hems, the neck band and the bottom band.  The final product is something I don't just feel okay in I feel really great in it and I can't wait to wear it and totally geek out at the symposium this week. 

Isn't it amazing what a good fit can do for you physically AND mentally? I'm washing up everything now and getting ready to pack up.  IHS 50 (International Horn Society 50th Symposium) here I come!!!


  1. I am so excited to see a way to make all my required shirts look better!! I've just been cutting out the neck, and it really doesn't do much : P

    1. Take your time and measure twice and cut once!! You can do it!!!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

IKEA Stomma Clock Hack | This WONDERfilled Life

When "Doodie" Calls | This WONDERfilled Life

About Last Week | This WONDERfilled Life