Here’s another low-risk project to get the sewing juices flowing.
My husband bought four linen-cotton shirts – same cut, different colours – something like 5 years ago. He once mentioned that he found them a little long and if I felt like shortening them, it wouldn’t go amiss. At least I think that’s what he said – I probably wasn’t paying attention 😉
I successfully shortened all 4 shirts over the course of a week and a half. And the rather long initial delay followed by the choice to do them now has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have a few shirts of my own that I’ve decided to shorten, nor the idea that it might be wise to have a go at a simple shortening operation before tackling my own shirts, which require some manner of reshaping. Nothing at all.
It seems to me that the main reason why I didn’t jump in on this alteration in the first place was because I got overwhelmed with picky, non-structural details. One intimidating detail was the odd little rectangular patch wrapping front-to-back around the hem at the side seams; I expected grief from fiddling with little bits of fabric, trying to press straight SAs, and negotiating thick and thin bits. I gave myself permission to just skip them.
The other item was a little hem detail at the bottom of the buttonhole placket where the raw edge is folded to the wrong side in such a way as to make a little triangle. I didn’t know how it was done and it seemed wrong somehow to just cut it off. I opened it up and figured it out and I decided (a) I kinda liked the look, and more importantly (b) it was actually quite easy. In fact, it’s a rather tidy alternative to the double-fold hem through a squillion layers – provided the shirt has a separate placket piece.
I got M to put on one of the shirts and eyeball how much shorter it should be. I added back ½” out of an abundance of caution, then remembered to allow another ½” for the hem allowance. The contour of the shirttail hem is the same.
When it came time to finish the hem, I pressed up the ½”, then folded the raw edge in and pressed again. The linen-cotton blend pressed beautifully. As it happens, the new hem width was pretty much bang on the same as the original. I used the same stitch length too, which worked out to about 1.8 – pretty small but an apparent indicator of good quality. The finished bottom edge is now 3″ higher than it was.
Each shirt took between around 60-90 min. While it got rather dull by shirt #4, it’s nice to have a project where you know how to do each step. Even if it is for someone else.
Shirts 1 and 3 are woven stripes. Shirt 4 is solid. Shirt 2 is shot – red with white for a pink effect. Funny thing: I have reached critical mass with thread such that I almost always have a decent match on hand for any project, even if it’s not a perfect match. But I generally hate pink, so the best thread I had was the neon candyfloss colour that I bought because it was on sale and hideous, and would therefore be visible as basting on anything I might possibly make.
Also, it was Noko’s 19th birthday yesterday (as near as I can figure), so here’s a slightly out-of-focus Noko who is happy to be getting skritches.