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Dec 14, 2012

Can't Help Tweakin' Those Shirts of Mine

Readers, I've tweaked my polka-dot shirts once again.

Here's why:

Looking at a few of the photos from Wednesday's Pattern Review anniversary party, I noticed that, from certain angles, the color blocked shirt looked like the red portion was draping slightly differently than the black.  I wanted to reinforce that diagonal seam so that the two pieces hung more like one.

Here's what I did:

1) I grabbed a roll of "Hug Snug" rayon seam binding and cut two pieces the length of the front and back diagonal seams.

2) I cut a length of fusible web, sliced it down the center so it was narrower than the seam binding and, with my iron, fused it onto each diagonal seam.

3) I then stitched the binding down on each seam allowance.  This way I don't have to worry about the fusible web not holding.

Maybe it's all in my mind, but to me it looks like the shirt drapes much better.

Next up, my solid red shirt: I decided that the collar would look better buttoned down.  I had never made a button-down shirt collar before, so I copied what I saw on a RTW button-down shirt I own.

1) I found some shirt buttons from my button stash even tinier than the ones I normally use on a shirt front.

2) I made two small buttonholes at each collar point and reinforced them with Fray Check.

3) I added buttons to the shirt at the exact place I wanted to the collar to be secured.  I backed each button with a tiny piece of cotton fabric.  I may do this over with something a little thicker, like a small circle of wool.  This is so the button doesn't damage the fabric should it pull.   Do you ever reinforce buttons that way?

I really like the way this came out.  It's a slightly preppy touch that I think improves the shirt.  A new photo shoot may be in order.

I think I am truly done with these!  I mean, what else is there?

In closing, readers, are you inclined to fuss with finished projects, tweaking them endlessly?  If so, do you consider this an obsessive/compulsive disorder, or rather a healthy revisiting (with fresh eyes) and seeing room for improvement?

Either way, you're OK.  At MPB, we don't judge!

Happy Friday, everybody!


  1. I think they both need neon lime frills... ;-) No, I don't think it is in your imagination at all, it does sit better. A bias seams is a harsh mistress and you have tamed her, sir!

  2. I love your button-down collar! It gives it a more finished look, and a bit more interest around the collar.

    Not sure how you sewed that without your eyes declaring mutiny. Whoof.

    I've heard of people backing buttonholes with silk organza, but not the buttons themselves. I like it.

  3. I like the improvements. I have a tendency not to mess with things once I'm done, because it reminds me too much of mending. I do find that for some things I need to wear them to find the flaws and, hopefully, the next rendition will be better.

  4. The button-down collar is sharp, and it really distinguishes the two shirts as more distant cousins.

    Speaking of cousins...aren't we due for a Cathy Lane Holiday Special???

  5. I like your improvements. Yes the shirt looks better.

    I not only reinforce collar buttons, but also the stress points on shirt pockets - I place an oversize scrap piece of fashion fabric on the inside, behind the top inch or so of each side of where the pocket will be sewn......turned on the bias. I secure it with a few smears of waters oluable paste, and THEN I sew on the pocket.

    After the pocket is sewn on, I trim away excess fabric leaving about 1/4" on each side of the pocket stitching. Because the scrap is turned on the bias, it won't unravel in the laundry, and it matches the color/weight of the fashion fabric.

    It provides a good secure foundation and the pocket can take a lot more abuse before ripping out - either the seam or, heaven forbid, the fashion bodice fabric.

  6. There is always room for improvement on anything. So don't feel like you have OCD or anything like that. I often have thoughts about improving on what anything I have worked on, it's called learning from experience, Peter. :) Great looking shirt btw.

  7. Nope, both the tweaks are definitely an improvement, although I didn't really see anything too much wrong with the diagonal seam, myself- but then I probably didn't see all the pictures, either. It does look a bit better in the 'after' picture.

  8. I never would have noticed the drape on the diagonal seam, but it really looks smoother after you added the snug-hug. I love all of your attention to detail and I appreciate you sharing your experiences with us. I think that's what makes your garments look so professional!

  9. Sometimes you have give a new garment a test run before you know what tweaks it needs. If you didn't make those fixes, you might not want to wear them so much. I say tweak away!

  10. I'm insane with jealousy over your red fabric. I've been trying to find one that I love for forever now, and you found it -- on the other side of the country, unfortunately! Congrats & great project!


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