Monday, February 15, 2010

My First Garment: T-Shirt

Started: January 31
Finished: February 14
Hooray! My first garment! I started this project with my mom on Sunday, January 31 and made a day of it. She helped me cut the pattern out, arrange the fabric on the table for easy pinning and cutting, pin the pattern to the fabric, and cut the pattern. She even helped me with some of the basting. Most importantly, she emphasized that I must not pull on the fabric as it moves under the presser foot. Pulling on the fabric would make it stretch and would distort the final product. She also told me that I needed to let the machine do the work of dragging the fabric. My only job was to guide the fabric to ensure an even seam. Both pieces of advice sound obvious but she was right to give them because the fabric used for T-Shirts is stretchy and thin. If I wasn't careful, it would bunch up under the presser foot and I would have to undo the mess. This happened once towards the beginning when I was trying to sew the darts on the sleeve's shoulder. The fabric bunched up so badly that it damaged a small section of the fabric. Thankfully, the section is hidden because of a seam.
Additionally difficult was reading a pattern. There were so many little symbols that I needed to refer constantly to my Sewing 101 book. Sewing a garment is construction - a builder needs plans in order to construct a building properly and builder must be able to read those plans. Such is sewing. I spent a good portion of my time just re-reading the directions and making sure that I understood them properly. And then there are the special terms: finishing, interfacing, etc. I needed to look them up to make sure I knew what I was doing. Maybe that was just the perfectionist in me? But I don't think so. I think that sewing requires patience and thoughtfulness - why bother making a garment so quickly that it looks crappy? The process of sewing is a very thoughtful one because the person sewing wants the final product to reflect the effort involved... My first and final product isn't perfect -- just take a look at the edge of the sleeve here. The fabric stretched and bunched in spite of my efforts! Ugh. So frustrating!
I am particularly proud of the neck, the shoulders, and the symmetry. The darts on the sleeves line up with the wearer's shoulders. The center of the neck lines up with the center of the T-shirt and the sleeves are both the same length.

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