Put a bird on it

Much like that one skit from Portlandia, I love bird motifs. LOOOOOOOOOVE them. So naturally, my daughter needed a shirt with birds on it, right? The colors in the fabric are mostly purples, her favorite color, and adding a puffy sleeve adds up to awesomeness for a little girl.

I used Burda 9439, a t-shirt pattern with tank top, puffed sleeves and long sleeve variations. I always trace out kid’s patterns when I think that I will want to use it for multiple sizes and this envelope has up to size 12, suggesting many more years of use out of it. My first snag was when I noticed while tracing that the neckline said no seam allowance. Umm, what? I thought the pattern had a standard neck band, but instead it uses a knit binding of the edge. Yay for reading directions! The finish was not one I had done before, so I figured, why not. I was a little leery of the idea of finishing the second shoulder seam after binding the neckline, but I had seen this before in ready to wear and who knew, I might find this simpler than my usual quartering of neckbands and hoping that I don’t get too crazy with the serger.

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I dutifully pinned the binding to the shirt, careful not to stretch anything, and threaded up the sewing machine with the twin needle for the topstitching in place. Snag number one, the binding was thick at this point so I had to keep the binding centered under the zigzag foot just to keep from veering off of the binding. I wasn’t enamored of the look as I would have preferred to have the stitching follow the edge a little better, but hey, new technique, right?!

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Oh boy. I don’t know how I ended up stretching everything out of shape, but this turned into a hot mess. My hopes of a beautiful shirt disappeared in an instant. Optimistic me decided to see if anything could be steamed back into place knowing that the possibility was remote. Yeah, not happening. Sigh. Seam ripper time, woo hoo! I removed the binding, decided it would make a better neckband, and set about to figure out how much to shorten it so that it will pull inward as it should so as to lie flat against the body when worn.

Sadly, despite my gazillions of sewing books, not a single one gave me adequate directions, so off to the Internet. Courtesy of the nice members of Pattern Review who posted the link to this video, I was able to regroup and finish the neckband of the shirt.

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Much better

The rest of the shirt was quite easy to assemble, though after the neckband debacle, I basted the gathered sleeves in before I serged the seams.  The gathering at the bottom of the sleeve was accomplished by elastic thread but I’m not sure how well it will hold up to wear as I’ve never used it before and it’s just knotted in place.  At least I have plenty more.  My sewing machine was a bit cranky about doing the twin needle hem and sometimes skipped stitches.  I think the poor thing needs a tune up as I’ve been using it a bunch since 2005 and this isn’t the first project where at full speed the stitches skip.  At least everything still work when sewing at a snail’s pace, which is about my speed for getting everything done right the first time.

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A pleased recipient

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Hey, Mommy, didn’t you notice how cold I am?  Stop with the pictures already.

*By the way, can anyone explain why I have to go to Simplicity’s website to find the Burda envelope patterns as the Burda site seems to only have the magazine patterns?

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