Nothing's perfect

First, business. The EU has passed new laws requiring sellers of digital goods outside the EU to pay individual VAT taxes on EU sales. I'm not quite sure I understand the full picture. All I know is, my web platform currently does not process these taxes like they do for US state taxes. In the mean time, I've moved my PDF pattern to ETSY for sale, since they have an interface setup to deal with these taxes. As soon as I'm able to sell  PDFs here, I'll bring them back.

Now the fun stuff

I'm super excited right now. If you've noticed a lull in my blogging and instagraming, it's because not only am I basically living in a snowbank, but I have been hard at work on the next Blueprints for Sewing pattern! I can't wait to show you guys!

Amidst all this, I've managed to squeeze in some personal sewing time. I've been thinking about needing some button up (down?) shirts, a style I initially avoided. I think that they suit me, however, as I find myself reaching for my one nicely fitting vintage LL Bean (teenage boys?) button shirt. I decided that what I wanted was a half-button, henley style shirt. Less formal, but with a bit of menswear detail. Sometimes this is called a 'popover' shirt. I'd love to work on this sort of a popover for a future Blueprints pattern. It was TOO COLD outside (-8?) to take a nice picture so I settled for in front of the stairwell window. The photos are quite underexposed...let's call it a vintage effect!

For those of you who think the sewing projects of a pattern designer are without flaw and fury, its actually quite the contrary. This project fought against me almost the whole way!

The fabric I used was a fantastic(ly thin) cotton lawn, whose origin I can't quite recall. Since I traced off a pattern from a garment, I had to do a considerable amount of truing (correcting) the pattern. I also had to factor in a few alterations. Then, decide the construction steps I wanted to follow, since they were not written down for me. Attach collar in one piece? Follow the shirt making method Tasia outlined over at Sewaholic? (she has 2 great new shirt patterns, by the way!) Since this shirt was intended as a wearable muslin, I rushed through a lot of steps.

I always tell my students not to rush. Do a scrap sample of a fiddly or new technique before attempting in your fashion fabric. Use interfacing that matches the weight of your fabric.

Did I follow my own instructions? In my haste, no.

I was able to redeem myself, though! In fact, sometimes I think damage control and problem solving in sewing are what build your skill most :) Here's the highlights:

  1. Cut my neckline placket facing too narrow. Perhaps due to mis-measuring, as I grabbed a placket from a previous project and went for it on my shirt, without realizing an old error I had corrected without noting on said project.
  2. Didn't stay stitch my neckline. Why? Laziness & speed. Did my neckline stretch out? Yes. Did I resew? No, I had already sliced one collar stand with a sharp new seam ripper (perhaps I should revise my previous post about seam rippers :x). As a result, my collar does not meet at the center front. But I rarely button to the top, so no biggie.
  3. I jumped the gun on the sleeve plackets before deciding I wanted a triangular extension at the end. I ended up cutting a small patch and faking it with top stitching.
  4. Totally used a too stiff interfacing for a collar made in such thin lawn. I used what I had. It's actually not bad for a formal crisp collar, but it doesn't lay down like other casual shirts I have. I knew this would happen, so totally my fault. In retaliation, I put NO interfacing in the cuffs. They're not bad...I think a 2nd layer of the fabric might have done it (though would have needed more body for the collar). But they're a bit on the floppy side. For this shirt, it sort of works.
Collar doesn't match at CF :(

Collar doesn't match at CF :(

Sleeves too full?

Sleeves too full?

Floppy cuff!

Floppy cuff!

Silly mistakes aside, I'm really quite pleased with the garment. The fit is pretty spot on. For the next version, I think I'll take a bit of fullness out of the sleeves. They're a tad 1800's. I may also add a bit to the back yoke. I have a broad back and usually need a lot of ease in the shoulders.

For my next version, I'm planning to crack into an awesome Cotton + Steel print. I'm hoping the quilting-cottony-ness works with this's a tough call. I can't resist the print though and I feel like the final shirt will be 1990's Arizona in the best way possible. Especially if I used the decorative pewter buttons I've put aside! J saw this and said he wanted shorts, so we may end up in coordinated outfits like another Massachusetts artist couple you might have heard of.

Spirit Animal from Alexia Abegg's Mesa collection for  Cotton + Steel

Spirit Animal from Alexia Abegg's Mesa collection for Cotton + Steel

Nancy and David Featherstone have dressed in matching outfits for decades. David Featherstone invented the pink lawn flamingo.

Nancy and David Featherstone have dressed in matching outfits for decades. David Featherstone invented the pink lawn flamingo.

Ladies and Gentleman, this is why we muslin. This project also embodies one of my most embraced rules-of-sewing:

The 3 foot rule

The 3 foot rule decrees that any mistakes that are not visible from 3 feet away do not count. They do not need to be fixed. Any honestly, anybody who is closer to you than 3 feet will not notice these flaws. And for the small percentage who do, they're likely thinking, "I wonder if they made their top? It's so cool!!" rather than "Way to set in a sleeve, amateur!".

I am a reform perfectionist. The kind of person who agonizes about a mistake until it makes them crazy/depressed. This is something I've been working on for quite a while and I find that rules like this help me let myself off the hook. At the end of the day, regardless of weird plackets or stiff interfacing, I made a beautiful shirt that I love to wear and had fun putting together. And that's what matters.

Do you all practice the 3 foot rule or something similar? Do you see tough projects through to the end, or chuck it and move on, shedding any bad feelings on the spot?

Taylor McVay2 Comments