A birthday shirt for Rob

Last night our friends Rob & Autumn invited us over for a game night to celebrate Rob’s birthday. After spending the first half of the day sitting brain-dead on the couch, recovering from a busy week,  I decided I wanted to make Rob a shirt for his birthday. Which meant I had four hours to complete the shirt. Not impossible, by not leisurely either.

I had some synthetic rayon I bought several months ago at the wonderland that is Fabric Outlet. It was a remnant, which meant there was only about two yards two work with.

Fortunately both Rob and the pattern, Simplicty 2081, don’t require much fabric. I had made a shirt for my husband from this pattern once before, so I knew it wouldn’t be too baffling and since Rob and my husband are about the same size, I wouldn’t have to grade the pattern much.

The whole shirt is essentially five pieces, double-thick, so cutting out was pretty quick work. I also lucked out by somehow perfectly matching, from memory, thread and buttons to the fabric on an earlier trip to the fabric store.

Since I was pressed for time, I didn’t stop to document a lot of the process and the rayon also proved to be rather unravely which made we want to work quickly. It also gave me an idea to do french seams when it came to sewing up the sides. This I did want to document as they’re kind of fun.

I generally don’t go in for couture details on my garments as I am impatient and figure no one is going to be looking inside my clothes anyhow. Mostly it’s the impatient thing. But when I thought about it, french seams aren’t really any slower than a regular seam with zig-zag stitch on the ends and it would really make a big difference with this fabric since it was so prone to fraying.

So here’s french seams, for anyone who doesn’t already know how to do them:

First, you’ll need to make sure you have enough of a seam allowance as it uses more of your fabric than a regular seam. I usually leave skimpy seams, so a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch was enough for me. Sew your ends together like you would normally, except sew them wrong-sides together, like you want to expose your ugly seam to the world. I know, this seems crazy and wrong, bu go with it. Try to give yourself really stingy allowance or trim off any excess after you’re finished.

Then, turn your garment inside out and press the seams flat, keeping them tight. Then — and here’s the part I forgot to take photos of — sew along the edge of your seam again, taking care to fully encase your first seam edge inside the second seam.

If your fabric frays a lot like mine, don’t worry if some of the loose threads stick out of the second seam. Just carefully trim them off with some thread snips when you’re finished. Ta-dah! Again, I didn’t document this all that well, but there are tons of tutorials online that do a better job of showing this process.

Truth be told, I didn’t actually finish the shirt in time to get over to Rob’s house. I still had to sew the buttons on, but it ended up being fortuitous as I had two buttons to choose from and Rob got to pick which ones he wanted. I sewed them on in between turns at Trival Pursuit.

I also didn’t have time to sew a pocket on the shirt, but I’m thinking it might need one. What do you think? Pocket? Maybe I’ll “borrow it back” and add a pocket.

Here’s some shots of the game action. Trivial Pursuit 80s version was considerably easier than the last time I played Trvial Pursuit, when it was the 80s and I was a child.

All in all, a really swell evening with great friends. And a new shirt for Rob.

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