I tried to sew a shirt…

Last night, I decided to try to follow a pattern (Butterick b5653) to make a shirt. It ended in disaster and was definitely a “Gordon Gartrelle” original. So, let me talk about my many errors…

1. Notches. When cutting, I forgot to add the notches. I remember vividly reading and watching videos on the importance of the notches but, I still forgot. So, I marked the space where the notches were supposed to go so, I could remember.

2. The layout for cutting is important. I decided to just cut the fabric and completely disregarded the layout. Of course, I knew the layout was important but, I figured I had 2 yards of fabric so, I had enough fabric. Wrong! When it came to cutting the lower front and lower back, I did not have enough fabric. So, instead of the longer version D I had to go with the shorter Version C.

3. When it came to adding the underlining to the upper lining, disaster reigned. Somehow, I grabbed portions from the bottom and actually sewed it to my seam at the top. Needless to say, the top was completely ill fitting.

4. What is understitching? I thought I completely read through the instructions but, I noticed that it told me to do that. I read up on it but, I think I’m going to check out a video for further clarification.

5. The fit of the garment was simply horrible. The right sleeve was so tight I could barely get my arm through. The bottom was not even so, one side was higher than the other.

6. I think I did pretty well on my gathers for the sleeves but, they can be evened up a bit.

7. I need to find a more efficient way of making sure my darts are lined together. However, I think I did alright for a first time.

So, after I noticed the mistakes, I ripped back quite a few seams. This was around 1:00 AM this morning. By this time, I was frustrated ย and decided to call it a night. Well, this morning I tried on the top and it actually wasn’t that bad once the seams were ripped back. So tonight, I plan on giving this another go.

I felt like I wasted my time and materials but, then I started thinking that the mistakes were a good thing. The entire purpose of trying to make this top was to get a feel for a written pattern before I start my dress for the OAL2014. So, looking back I realized that I can learn from these mistakes and hopefully avoid them on my future projects.

I am learning that sewing takes patience.

Check out the pics of the garment after I ripped backย the seams in those problem areas. I plan on trying to save this top tonight.

IMG_0156[1] IMG_0159[1]

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13 thoughts on “I tried to sew a shirt…

  1. It looks pretty! Patterns piss me off so much sometimes, I don’t think I have ever used one start to finish, lol. You still seem positive about the experience so keep it up chickadee!

  2. You are so good to attempt sewing with a pattern without taking courses! It is not too bad at all! I have mastered the science of following a pattern (after taking a sewing class and then working from easy patterns to more advanced ones) but still make mistakes when I am tired! You should give this another try when you have enough energy to focus on it! I would love to tell you what understitching is but I do not know if I can explain in words! I would loke to help you via skype if needed! Let me know!

  3. Disappointing that it didn’t work out but I think you’re right–the mistakes are a good thing in that you learn a lot from them. I know that my sewing screw-ups have been very instructive. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, the upside of doing the OAL is that Lauren’s sewing posts on the dress will likely be really helpful since every tutorial I’ve seen from her has been really clear.

  4. You might want to use a “learn to sew” pattern for your next venture. They really do teach you the basics, and along with that I would recommend keeping a good sewing book right next to you while you are working. They are all pretty good – The Vogue Sewing Book even covers couture techniques such as “pad stitching” for tailored garments. I got a used one at a garage sale for $1.00 !!

    • Oh, thanks so much! I never knew about the ‘learn to sew’ patterns and I see that they have really great designs. I may try to pick up one this weekend. And I really do need a great sewing book. I bought this book called Sewing Basics by Sandra Bardwell but, it doesn’t really go into detail so, I will check out the vogue sewing book. You found your’s for such a great deal! And that’s why I love yard sales and thrift stores ๐Ÿ™‚

      • You’re welcome! After all – a simple garment that is well constructed, will be much more gratifying than the frustration you experienced with the shirt. I started out with cookie cutter like patterns, and now I can sew anything. If you watch for sales – you may even be able to get yours for under $2 – I think Joann’s is having their Firefly sale going on next week – some patterns are sure to be dirt cheap!

  5. Aw, don’t worry – I recently messed up a blouse phenomenally. I sewed the back to the back instead of the front, I stitched up the zipper notches instead of the darts, I accidentally ripped a hole into it, and my facing was a different size to my neckline. Oopsie! The only thing that worked out beautifully was my setting in of the sleeves ๐Ÿ˜‰ I binned it, so well done you for trying again! Tasia of Sewaholic has some great tutorials on techniques, and there’s some on understitching, too – have a look here, under U: http://sewaholic.net/sewtionary/ It’s really difficult to explain without pictures, but once you’ve done it a few times, it makes so much sense. Good luck tonight!

    • Oh my goodness! After my frustration last night, I was definitely thinking about binning this one. LOL. However, this morning I started thinking that I can give it another run. And thanks for the link. I’m about to go check it out now —>

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