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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Gory Details

Finally, as promised, the gory details of the changes I made from the Kwik Sew2728 pattern for Brandon's jacket. One small change that doesn't really bear detailing is that I used the curved shirt hem instead of the straight one, which is shown on the hooded view on the envelope. Just a minor change because I like the look of the curved hem. Also, I lengthened the sleeves about two inches, which I like to refer to as "monkey arm alteration"

1. Adding in-seam pockets. This was probably the largest change that I made. It was surprisingly easy. In-seam pockets, it turns out, are pretty much the same shape and size for anything. I borrowed the pattern piece from a vintage robe pattern I had. I measured how far up the from the shirt hem the pocket was on one of Brandon's store-bought lined shirts to determine placement. (For those who are curious, it was 3.75" up, but remember, I used the curved hem, so it would be different on the straight hem.) I followed the instructions for in-seam pockets from my Vogue Sewing book, plus I top stitched the pocket pieces to the seam allowances where the pocket pieces connected with the shirt-side pieces, to make the pockets lie flatter.

2. The shirt has a yoke in the back. To reduce bulk (the lining is a fleece that is already bulky enough), I traced a separate lining piece of the yoke and back piece together, minus the seam allowance between the two. So the back of the shirt that the world sees was done with the yoke, but the lining is a single piece. If you are looking to save time, it takes longer to trace the pieces than it does to sew the lining yoke to back piece, but for reducing bulk it works well.

3. I made a casing for a drawstring on the hood. I felt this was a necessary change so that the hood would be warmer and stay on his head better. I decided arbitrarily to put the buttonholes for the drawstring 3" up from the bottom of the flannel hood pieces, and a quarter-inch from the side. The buttonholes had to be made before the flannel and lining were sewn together. Two inches was too far up. It would have been better at around .75" or so. I wish I'd gotten some metal eyelets for the drawstring to run through, as I'm not sure the buttonholes will hold up. I used a black boot lace for the drawstring itself, which works well enough.

Instead of topstitching a quarter inch from the edge of the finished hood as suggested in the instructions, I top stitched a half inch away, to leave plenty of room for the drawstring. That distance worked very well.

4. The other minor change I made was to add a slot in the top of one of the chest pockets for a pen to slip through. This is a useful detail found on many store-bought shirts, but neither of the men's shirt patterns I've made have included it. Luckily, it's not hard. I won't explain it here, because if you want to do it, and are of sufficient skill to be sewing a man's shirt, you probably have sufficient skill to figure it out by looking at an existing shirt, or even my picture.

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