Hello Sewcialists! I’m excited to share how I was recently “Sew Brave” by sewing for someone other than myself!
I have only ever sewn for myself until my husband requested that I make him a flannel button-up shirt. I was pretty nervous about the endeavor. My first reason for being nervous is because we splurged on some pretty pricey but super high quality Pendleton Wool fabric. He already owns a Pendleton wool flannel, and he had enough confidence in my sewing skills to turn to me and go, “You know, I bet you could make this.” So I found a great basic long sleeve button up pattern – the Yukon Button Up by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop – and got to work!
My main goal in sewing his shirt was to make it look as professional as possible. I didn’t want anyone to be able to tell it was handmade by a home sewist; I wanted it to look the same quality as the ready-to-wear Pendleton flannel he already had in his closet. To be honest, anytime I sew things for myself I am more forgiving with the imperfections in my work. But I would not dare pass along an item for someone else with those same imperfections! So I took some ultra cautionary steps to make sure that I felt my work was acceptable enough to have others wear.
The first step that I took was that I made sure the fit of his shirt was perfect. Fit is something I always have such a hard time with on myself. I don’t know if it’s because I always seem to have to get in such odd position to tuck and pin things on myself, but things just never seem to work out for me. I made a muslin for him to check the fit of the shirt along with the length and sleeve length. We went with XL for him (even though he measured as a L) because he wanted it to have a bit more ease since he wears his wool flannels a lot while hunting or hiking. It turns out the sizing was perfect as is and I didn’t have to make ANY adjustments at all.
As you can see below, the muslin helped tremendously in making sure the sizing we decided on would be a good fit for him.
The next thing I made sure to do was to use an extreme attention to detail when putting all the pieces together. I made sure to measure everything twice, test all my seams and buttonholes on swatches, and drew stitching lines on areas I did not feel confident eyeballing. I also used some fusible web tape on pieces that I needed to stay put that I did not feel pins alone would help to keep in place.
I am most proud of how the pocket turned out on his shirt. He wanted me to line the plaid lines up vertically, and by using precise measuring, drawing in the stitching lines, and having a little help from the fusible tape, I perfectly sewed the pocket on as requested!
After sewing this project, it really opened my eyes to my ability to achieve a very professional look with a bit more precision and attention to detail. A lot of this seems like a total no-brainer to me now, but these are steps that I just weren’t taking when it came to all the previous garments I sewed for myself! I think that I get so caught up in all the projects I want to sew that I end up taking shortcuts. Sewing for someone else was definitely a good exercise that taught me new tricks for sewing more precisely. Sometimes it takes being brave and leaving the good ol’ comfort zone to see what you are fully capable of!
Angelica can be found on Instagram at @angelica_creates. She lives in the Greater Seattle Area of Washington State in the US and is an avid sewer, knitter, and cross stitcher. While sewing and stitching is what she is mostly known for, she is also an Aerospace Procurement Analyst, wife, dog and cat mom, and Disney fanatic. She enjoys being able to sew her own wardrobe and inspire others to develop a deeper connection with their wardrobe!
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