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Cutting the Fabric
My first overwhelming sense of confusion with this pattern arose when I was working through the cutting layouts. The accompanying video completely skipped over the actual fabric cutting and marking, so I turned to the instructions.
It wasn’t clear whether the shirt fabric should be folded right-sides together or wrong-sides together. I started ironing it wrong-sides together (so that the pattern side was facing me), but started thinking, “It seems weird that all the chalk markings would be on the right-side of the fabric…”
I turned to Google and found this helpful forum discussion asking the same thing. The consensus is that it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re consistent; however people opt for right-sides together so you don’t end up with markings on the proper side on the off-chance that they don’t wash out. ✊
Ok, refold and let’s go!
A several-hour marathon cutting session ensued. Sewing was more of an athletic endeavor than I had ever expected. I cursed my squat and not-quite-wide-enough craft table and my makeshift coffee cup pattern weights as I hunched over, squinting and poking pinholes through my pattern pieces and fabric to make incomprehensible-to-me markings.
I ended up only cutting out the fabric for the shirt body and sleeves because I couldn’t stand the prospect of following still more cutting layouts for the interfacing, collar, and cuff. 😩
A Quick Note on the Accompanying Video Tutorial
While I love video tutorials, this one left a lot to be desired. Norris, the instructor in the Simplicity video, is great at explaining the steps. However, the lighting quality and fabric choice were less than stellar.
Norris is sewing a red gingham shirt, and the lighting in the video is so bright that it’s difficult to see which side is the pattern-side. As a result, I had to consult the packet instructions a great deal during the garment construction.
Normally, that would be fine. But as a complete newbie to following pattern instructions, I was often left with more questions than answers — especially when steps in the video didn’t match up with steps outlined in the pattern.
For example, Norris didn’t do the stay-stitching or basting steps outlined in the pattern.
As a result, I had to sit and make some hard decisions about which instructions to follow. In the end, I chose to do the stay-stitching but ignored a lot of the basting instructions (since I wasn’t sure at what point I should remove them, or how).
Sewing the Front, Pocket, and Back Yoke
After making a small portion of the muslin, I think I was feeling a tad overconfident. I made a few mistakes and had to pull out of the seam ripper.
One mistake was that I attached the pocket without stitching the pocket facing (step 4). What resulted was an amorphous blog of a pocket with no real definition at the top.
My boyfriend kept trying convince me to not use the seam ripper, certain that I would decimate the shirt in the process. But I secreted myself away with it and from the ashes emerged a beautiful, crisp pocket.
After fixing the pocket situation, I felt adventurous enough to attempt the shirt loop. I say adventurous because in the Simplicity video tutorial, Norris chooses to make his shirt without the loop. Thankfully, the pattern instructions for this part are very clear.
I didn’t get any pictures from attaching the yoke because I was so focused on understanding the burrito method, but here’s what my shirt back looks like before top-stitching my yoke.
Sewing the Neckband and Collar (Steps 17-23)
Along with this being my first time making an article of clothing, this was my first time ever using interfacing.
Since I used cotton quilting fabric for the shirt and it’s on the thicker side, I decided to go with the Pellon 911FF Fusible Featherweight interfacing.
(Funny story: I’d initially decided on a different Pellon style, researched the crap out of it, and went online to verify the in-stock selection at JoAnn’s. I went there confidently, knowing they had 100+ yards of it and someone could help me find it even if my newbie self couldn’t track it down. Lo and behold, nobody there could find it and I had to guess at a good substitute. 😵 )
Step 17 was a bit confusing from the diagram, but you want to fuse interfacing to one of the neckband (pattern piece #6) sections. Then, with the pattern sides of the interfaced-neckband and the shirt body together, start pinning the neckband to the neck curve starting at the notches.
The curved edge of the neckband should be closer to you (if you’re positioned at the bottom of the shirt).
Since I’m working with the pointed collar, I’m jumping past steps 18 and 19, which are for the club collar. Steps 21 and 22 took a solid 20 minutes for me to figure out from the video and pattern instructions combined.
The instruction say “Turn collar; press.” With the shirt pattern-side up, turn the collar piece upward so that the curved edge is now facing away from you, and its pattern-side is now up.
Once you’ve pinned that together at the notches, take your other neckband piece and place it right on top, moving the pins so that they’re holding all 3 layers together.
Finally, press the bottom (facing-you) edge of the interfacing up 3/8″. Now sew 3/8″ along the entire curved (facing away from you) edge of the neckband pieces.
Here’s what the shirt looks like now: