Playing in Maryland pt.2: Shirts

Vintage Looking Tablecloth
Vintage Looking Tablecloth

As I mentioned in the previous post, we made shirts for DH and BIL#3 (I have to give designations now since there are multiple BILs involved). As you have heard both are involved in the Native Sons of the Golden West. Over the course of a few months, I found two different types of California themed fabric and bought it. I knew I was heading to Maryland and SIL#2 is almost always game for the crazy ideas I have.

My idea was to make two shirts out of each fabric. We started with the tablecloths. They were available on eQuilter. Mrs. K saw them and emailed me about them. I bought the last three. As I said in the previous post from Sunday, we had to fussy cut in order to get the most out of the motifs on the fabric and to have enough fabric to make two shirts.

Pattern Layout
Pattern Layout

The first order of business was to lay out the pattern pieces on the tablecloths (yes, we washed them) and cut out the pieces. We tried to get the most pieces out of tablecloth #1 to ensure we had as much of the motifs on each shirt as we could and as we were nervous we wouldn’t have enough fabric.

While we were laying out the pattern pieces, a story appeared. Not a story with a murder and a romance, but a story about California. One of the shirts we decided tended towards water and boats and the other land. We couldn’t use all the motifs for each shirt. It was kind of a shame we couldn’t fit the California motif into both shirts. It just wouldn’t work. I kind of wish I had bought four tablecloths, but I know there were only three left.

Tablecloth in process
Tablecloth in process

We decided not to do all of the shirts at the same time and we focused on the tablecloth shirts. We sewed and pressed and marked. By the time I went to my work conference, we had two shirts done in including the buttons.

We were pretty thrilled with the way the tablecloth shirts came out. Would we have wanted them to have more of the California map on them? Yes. Would we have preferred it if the lines around the border could have been made symmetrical? Yes. It wasn’t possible yet we are very happy with how they came out.

There were a lot of design challenges with these shirts, but I think that the design challenges made this project fun and the shirts unique.

Black NSGW Shirt for Paul
Black NSGW Shirt for Paul

SIL got me on the garment sewing bandwagon by making me sew the entire third shirt myself. She was there to guide and be my marking slave, but I did all the cutting and sewing.

We were able to finish that except for the buttons.

I came back on Saturday and we blew through the last shirt. I cut out the pattern (only one piece wrong this time) and then SIL took the lead and I took slave position again. We got it done, though we are both skeptical that it is a three hour shirt as the pattern advertises.

I have made a few garments before, but the patterns seem very complicated and I am not a confident garment maker. Working on Shirt #3 and alongside SIL on the others really helped boost my confidence. I won’t be making ballgowns anytime soon, but I might try an easy dress from a pattern I bought. Or remember that skirt?

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

4 thoughts on “Playing in Maryland pt.2: Shirts”

  1. I struggle with patterns too. I adore making our renfaire costumes…well the shirts and chemises anyway. They don’t have a pattern! I even do collars on the guys’ shirts without a pattern. Of course these pieces are very forgiving and the more handmade they look, the more authentic they look. There isn’t a tailored feeling to them at all.

    A skirt is one of the best patterns to start with. They are very forgiving and even if you have a set-in waistband, it isn’t that hard. You’ve done aprons too, haven’t you? You should give it a go!

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