Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Procrastinating . . .

Over the weekend, I got started on Hubby's special request shirt.  He had asked me for a short-sleeved mandarin collar shirt in linen.  I spent some time looking through my men's shirt patterns, but decided to go with the pattern I developed for his business shirt back in March, switching out the sleeve piece for the short sleeve from McCall's 6044.

When I went to my local fabric shop last week to look at linens, I got kind of a sticker shock.  Mind you, I went to the "expensive" shop (Fishman's) but I really wasn't expecting this fabric to be quite that expensive - it was $25 a yard!  I ended up going there twice - the first time I just took a picture of the fabric to show him.  I wasn't about to spend $50 plus on fabric without knowing if it was what he wanted!  But he liked it, so I went back the next day to get the goods.

The fabric was labeled as Irish Handkerchief Linen, and the color Burgundy - it's a great color for his skin tone.  It's incredibly soft and drapey.  Given that the fabric is so luxurious, I was expecting my sewing experience to be luxurious also.  But it's kind of giving me fits.

Sorry this picture is so bad - it's so cloudy today I couldn't get a good one.

Being fairly loosely woven, the fabric frays like crazy.  So I had all the pieces spread out on my coffee table and did not touch them until they were ready to be sewn. Things went pretty well at first - I got the buttonholes, pockets and yoke done with few problems.  And then I moved on to the band collar.

And it's a mess.


Somehow, the outer edge got totally stretched out - even though my outer collar is interfaced (with the fancy, expensive ultra-lightweight kind) and my inner collar was cut 1/4" smaller, as usual when making shirts.  So now I have to pick the whole darn thing out again - did I mention that my thread is an EXACT match, and it's been cloudy for days?  I've pulled out the big guns (my strongest reading glasses) but am still having a hard time getting going.


I spent some time today looking for advice online about sewing with handkerchief linen, especially for anything referring to stretching.  But everything I've found says, "Linen is so easy to sew with!  You can use it for anything!  It's so stable!!"

I did find one website that recommended forgoing interfacing (fusible or otherwise) in favor of self-fabric interfacing, so I'm going to give that a try.  Thankfully I had enough fabric left to cut out another 3 collar band pieces.  And I've sprayed the heck out of those with Sullivan's Spray Stabilizer - I'm hoping that will help some.

Have any of you had this problem before?  Anyone out there have any advice?  I should have known better than to congratulate myself on my sewing lately - this project has knocked me down a peg!

22 comments:

  1. So far I've only sewn for myself so I can't give you any helpful tips, just sympathies! Hope it goes better second time round and that your eyes don't get too much strain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oy! I did manage to detach the collar and put on a new one (will likely post about it tomorrow). It's OK, but not as perfect as I want it to be for my honey,and now I do have heachache and some eye strain! Will remedy with yoga, followed by a nice, cold beer, LOL!

      Delete
  2. I hope your shirt woes mend themselves :-( remember its all part of the learning experience. Next time you make a shirt you will know what you dont want to use xx
    But lady !! What about your awesome Hazel being showcased in the top 5 makes of the month !!!!! Well done you :-) xx I was super stoked to see your dress there. Well deserved and praise indeed xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's for sure! I've made tons of shirts both for him and for myself, and have never had this much trouble! Not going near this stuff again!

      And thanks! I was quite surprised and pleased when I saw my dress on the top 5 this morning!

      Delete
    2. Yay! I saw that this morning. Cheers! :)

      Delete
    3. I was so excited to see that, too!

      Delete
  3. No advice, Gail
    But lots of positive thoughts for you

    I use my Ott Lites for close work
    (Something like 6500k)

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - I think they helped a little!

      I don't have an Ott Lite (probably should get one though!) but I used a full-spectrum light a doctor friend "prescribed" me for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that did help. Plus those heavy-duty reading glasses!

      Delete
  4. I have a hard time ironing linen... if that makes any sense. It always seems to want to stretch out as I'm ironing it. Funny enough the linen skirt I'm thinking of also came from Fishman's.

    Did you do any stay stitching on the upper collar where it stretched out? I'd do a row on the outside of the seam allowance (basting here of course) as well as inside the seam allowance... just in case of more stretching. Stay stitch from the corners to the center to prevent more stretching, too.

    Good luck!!! I'll be crossing my fingers for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm . . . I knew I should have waited instead of forging ahead! I've got it reasonably well handled now, but as I said above, it's not perfect. I could do it one more time. I'm going to sit on it until tomorrow and see how I feel. The stay stitching is a good idea - I didn't do that. The Sullivan's did help a little though.

      When I thought about it, I realized that his RTW linen shirts also stretch when I iron them, so I guess that's the nature of this fabric? My hope is that 5 minutes of wearing will produce enough wrinkles that my little sewing flaws will be hidden :-)

      Delete
    2. Do you think steam would help it shrink back to shape? In those situations, with cotton and wool blends I always try a little steam. Of course, try it on a scrap first!

      Delete
    3. I used a lot of steam while making the shirt - I always use plenty of steam when ironing linen. It didn't help to shrink it; if anything, it relaxed it and made it stretch a little more! Something to keep in mind!

      Delete
  5. I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to wish you luck! I'm interested to see what the solution is...

    ReplyDelete
  6. how funny! okay not your shirt problems, but just today i listened to the thread cult podcast interviewing a lady who specializes in linen. it's worth a listen and maybe you can track down some good advice through links on the "daughter fish" blog. it sounds like if you're not paying top dollar for linen it's pretty much no good... so what you got must be the real deal european linen. hope it works out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that! I listened to it this morning and it was very interesting. And I wasn't aware of that blog and the podcasts, so I've added it to my reader!

      Delete
  7. Love the color, and yes, I remember the prices at Fishmans ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is really the first time I've allowed myself to spend that kind of money on fabric, but I've been eyeing some of the wool suiting - they have every color of the rainbow!

      Delete
  8. Very cool how the hubb asked you for this. And to wear such a bold color. The fabric looks terrific and cool for summery weather.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, these photos really don't show the color very well. It's a true burgundy, like a wine red color. Goes great with his Mediterranean skin tone!

      Delete
  9. Ugh, how frustrating! The color looks wonderful though, good luck getting it how you want it. On a more cheerful note - congrats on the top 5 Colette mention!!

    ReplyDelete