Sunday, January 11, 2015

Musings of a Novice Garment Sewist

This weekend, I finally felt ready to dive into garment sewing *for real.* I need to stop buying a ton of voile and rayon fabrics... unless I'm actually going to make something, right? I'm trying the Sorbetto Top by Colette Patterns, which is a free pattern.

When I first tried garment sewing a year ago, my guild friend Amy held my hand through the pattern tracing and cutting.Then, I went home and tried to read the pattern, but I got lost. Garment sewing is like a whole new language to a quilter, and I felt totally out of the loop. I found this book and requested it for my birthday; I've referred to it about 7 times today alone, so it's already been worth the money. If you are a beginner garment sewist, I highly suggest it (this is not an affiliate link or anything- just a book I really love)!

 Working ahead of the game in this picture - I haven't actually cut out the shirt on the *real* fabric yet. I've envisioned this lawn by Cotton and Steel as a shirt since it came out, and it's going to happen!

I'm usually one to dive right into making quilts, sometimes without regard to all sense (I ignore essential questions, like: do I have enough background fabric? Is it so late that I risk falling asleep at the machine, or worse? Do I have any sense at all of what the final quilt will look like?). Garment sewing seems so much more regimented to me; maybe that's why I've been avoiding it for so long. I thrive on the creative and the unexpected (apparently). So far, though, I've found it pretty invigorating. I'm glad that I'm armed with almost 5 years of sewing skills though - that definitely helps.

To make my muslin or toile (a practice version of the shirt), I used some ugly yellow cotton bobbin thread that I won't mind seeing depleted, plus a bunch of super cheap muslin fabric. I even learned what French seams are and how to sew them (woohoo!). It's the little things, right? I'll also practice making continuous bias tape on my muslin.

I finished most of the muslin with the encouragement and help of my Instagram friends (thanks!!). However, I'm adding on 7 to 8 inches to the bottom and I need to widen it, because I am all of the following: tall (5'10"), big-boned, and curvy. The muslin actually fits well, except for the too-tight bust and the extremely short length. I'm hoping to have a finish soon... stay tuned!

The funniest part was that Mike came home from work and couldn't understand where the whole making-a-shirt thing came from. :D Oops... I probably haven't shown him the fabric I've bought...


  1. Between you and Laura (littleandlots) I think I have to make something to wear to QuiltCon... I'm going to play it safe though and go with a skirt.... as long as its not too bunchy or too short, it'll be a win, right? :D The gemstone fabric will be perfect for this top too!!! Can't wait to see you in it!

  2. I am glad to hear that it is going well so far! And yay for Instagram help. :)

  3. hahaha he doesn't know about your apparel fabric stash! (neither does my husband, haha...except that he's reading this over my shoulder...). This top is going to be so cute and you'll be so glad you spent the time and effort to make a muslin so that the shirt is so nice! Hopefully the whole process doesn't burn you out for too long though (like me and the washi tunic, ha)

  4. You are wise to make a muslin one first so you can see where the adjustments need to be made. So many dive into their "good" fabric and then end up disappointed and out so much money.

  5. Its looking great so far hon! This is going to look amazing in the "real thing" and we can be twindies at MOD once I get up the guts to make my staple dress out of the same fabric :). Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  6. Garment sewing is addictive, I miss it lots! I even have a diploma in Fashion Production =) a good tip for the patterns is to make it for your bust size and then adjust the waist and hips. The bust controls the neckline and sleeves, so busts are more complicated to adjust.

  7. I'm watching your journey with lots of interest. The only garments I have made are Pajama trousers for my boys - and I got bored even then! But I did buy some voile recently with the crazy idea of making a Tova - I think I'm completely out of my depth though!


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