The Sisterhood of The Travelling Fabric

Hi Everybody!! Oh my goodness, where have I been? Well lots of places actually. While I have been sewing since my last few posts, I just have had no desire to blog. What's up with that? So I have a big back log of things to blog about. Plus John and I took a trip to London, so I want to tell you all about that too! But before I get too overwhelmed let's get to The Sisterhood of the Travelling Fabric

A long, long time ago (last March) in a faraway land (Bangkok), a lovely sewist called Meg made her husband a chambray shirt. The fabric looked so lovely, and deliciously stripey that I couldn't help but fawn over it. Come on, who doesn't love a good chambray? And a striped chambray to boot! Oh and the shirt looked really nice on Tim too! ;) Anyway, being the lovely lady that she is, Meg contacted me a few days later with an offer to send me, and Nicole (who had also made a fuss over the fabric) some of the aforementioned chambray. Of course I am not one to turn down fabric, so we all decided that it would be great to make it a three way swap in the spirit of Lola's Sisterhood of the Travelling Fabric. The amazing sewing community strikes again! 

Anyway, I still haven't made anything out of the chambray, though it does sit in my fabric cupboard where I can gaze at it daily, and take it out and fondle it to my heart's content. I just haven't come up with the right project for it. Would it be weird for me and Meg's hubby to have matching shirts? I did however work up the courage to cut into the beautiful rayon challis that Nicole sent me. How did she know I love blue? ;) I hummed and hawed over what to make and narrowed it down to a nice summery shirt, or another Southport dress. With the help of my design consultant (aka John), we decided that I should make a nice summery, sleeveless blouse. This resulted in my first attempt at the Granville. I know that I blogged one already, but that one was actually my second attempt.

I chose my size based on my waist and hip measurement, with the help of the finished measurement chart, and then once I had traced out the pattern pieces and preformed an FBA, I compared them to my Archer pattern pieces and decided I would be okay to jump right in without a muslin. 

Everything went quite well. The fabric was tricky to cut out, but I thought that I had done a pretty good job. I thought it looked a little bit wonky when I finished, but it wasn't until I saw it in these photos that I realized just how awful it was.

Oh my goodness, how could have miss that? The collar is totally lopsided and look at the button band!! 

Ahhhhhh! And look at the armhole! Side boob anyone? I felt so badly about this shirt. Partly because I felt stupid for not realizing just how wonky it was, but also because the fabric had been gifted to me. I was super embarrassed and I had to work up the courage to point out all the flaws to John. I mean I have been sewing for a year and a half, these silly mistakes shouldn't happen to me! Ugh!!

Anyway, lucky for me, there was enough fabric to squeeze out a remake. I was a little worried that I had done something wrong with my FBA or the pattern somewhere, so that's when I decided to make the first Granville I blogged about. Once it was finished (and a success), I went out and bought some spray starch and very, very carefully cut out a mulligan. I should also mention that I cut it all out on one layer, no fold. That really seemed to help. I made sure to compare the pattern pieces to the fabric as I went along to make sure there had been no shifting, and then I carefully sewed up a new shirt.

That's better! I am happy to tell you that while it's not perfect, it is sooo much better and I am so happy with it! I have been wearing this shirt pretty much constantly since I finished it. Seriously, I must wear it about twice a week.

See how the armhole fits so much better on this one? I really think that had to do with my cutting job. 

I love the princess seams in the back of this pattern. Such a nice fit!

So I did a number of alterations to that you might want to know about, here's my list:

  • a 1.5" FBA and moved the bust dart up 1 1/2" so it lined up with my apex
  • shortened the shirt by 3 1/2"
  • a 1/4" high round back adjustment
  • I shortened the shoulder seam grading out to nothing about 3/4's of the way down the armscye to make this shirt sleeveless. See this tutorial.
  • the armholes and hem are finished with store bought bias tape

It took me a while to decide whether or not to share this shirt with you. I could have easily just shown you the "good" shirt and left out the "bad" one. But I decided that it is all a part of the learning process and I should document my mistakes and failures as well as my successes. 

I am so grateful to Meg for initiating this fabric swap, and I am so thankful to Nicole for this lovely fabric. I want to apologize for wasting some of it, but I don't really think it was a waste. I learned a lot! And now I have a beautiful shirt that makes me think of Nicole every time I wear it (and a wonky one hanging in my closet as a reminder to take my time). So it was a win win in my book!

Thanks for hanging in there for this long post! Have you ever swapped fabric? Do you have any slippery fabric cutting horror stories? I'd love to hear them and any tricks you may have picked up a long the way.