Confession: I left last week's homework for the last minute.
I had a cold last week, the weather was atrocious, and I figured I could do the sewing that needed to be done if I arrived an hour and a half early for class (the classroom is available to us). I had already cut my fabric and interfacing at home; I just had to produce four "beautiful" cuffs (two sets).
I literally finished my cuffs with 30 seconds to spare and it was not fun -- lots of cursing and a few finger scalds. I think I did an OK job despite this, but I was very stressed throughout. I wasn't the only person doing his homework right before class, mind you, but still, it's not a good idea (if you can avoid it). Not entirely coincidentally I'm sure, Professor B. made a point of saying yesterday that FIT expects you to do 2-3 hours of homework for every hour of class. So in our case, that would mean 6-9 hours of homework. That's a lot, but remember, some people are learning to sew for the very first time.
NOTE: Professor B. never did ask to see our cuffs. Grrr....
I'm not going to wait till the last minute again (I hope). I already feel pretty comfortable with the industrials we use in class, but I still have to remind myself not to press the foot pedal (and run the machine) when I'm raising the presser foot with my knee. The knee pedal is a convenience but it requires coordination and if I'm under pressure, I find myself forgetting which leg is doing what (the knee pedal is activated by pressing it with your right knee toward the right). Just like on a home machine, stitching with the presser foot up is a big no-no.
A few times I also forgot that the needle threads from left to right; thread it wrong and you end up with a mess.
Yesterday's class was focused primarily on attaching the back of our men's dickey (the garment we're starting with) to the inside and outside yokes, and then the two yoke layers to the two fronts (left and right) using what's commonly known as the burrito method (which I describe in detail here). None of this was new to me but I did learn a few new techniques. First, I must admit that I NEVER edgestitch the top of my yoke either in back or in front, primarily because it's not necessary. We were instructed to do so and I guess I will from now on. It's especially nice on a solid shirting when using a contrasting thread color.
Here's my yoke edgestitching in back. This is stitched only through the outside yoke and the seam allowance (of all the layers) but not the inside yoke itself.
And here it is in front (this goes through all layers).
You'll notice I changed my shirting choice from tiny red and blue gingham to a solid gray. On the gingham I couldn't easily see my topstitching. On the solid gray, it's obvious and more decorative. It allows me to evaluate my work at a glance.
Rather than an applied placket, the two fronts will have a "simple turnback" placket and we learned how to do that. We were instructed to cut our interfacing 3" wide (in most commercial patterns I've used, the interfacing is cut no wider than the first fold of the placket). We rule two vertical lines, the first 1 3/8" from the raw edge and the second 1 3/8" from the first line. The two folds will create the placket (and this will be the same for both front sides). The buttonholes will hold one side in place and the buttons will hold the other; no need to topstitch.
I haven't folded mine yet; I'll do so for next class. I think our pattern is sized for a 40" chest, btw.
As I've said before, we're not using 5/8" seam allowances. We're either stitching at 1/4" or 1/2".
Here's something I never knew: on men's shirts, you never notch. This is because seam allowances can be very narrow and the notch can cut too deep. Any marks must be drawn on with chalk or pencil.
I think that's about it. Next time we'll work on our collar stands and collars. We'll submit a finished dickey as our midterm assignment. We're already approaching the halfway point! I should say that the class felt a little smaller yesterday. Either people are sick or a few of my classmates have fallen by the wayside.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!