Hello friends! It’s been awhile and all that! How have you been? I’m still knitting whenever I get the chance, but over the past few months I’ve also been playing around with a new hobby: sewing! I’ve really enjoyed the focus and concentration that comes with learning something new, and I thought doing some short sewing journals might be a nice way to document that process and (maybe) revive this space a bit.
Autumn Shirt No. 1
After a weeklong cutting marathon where I tried to get multiple projects ready for sewing, this weekend I made up a Shirt No. 1 from Sonya Philip’s 100 Acts of Sewing. This is my second Shirt No. 1 … the first one I sewed was also my first me-made sewn garment. This is a super beginner-friendly pattern as there’s just one pattern piece you cut twice … no sleeves to fit into an armscye, no bells, no whistles. Though the pattern is simple, for a baby sewist like me, it also has some great skill building elements, like instructions for finishing with french seams and making your own bias binding (to finish the neck). It’s also a great wearable shape, so it’s easy to see why there are 1000s of beautiful Shirt No. 1s hanging out on Instagram.
For this version of Shirt No. 1, I used a deep orange double gauze that gave me all the autumn feels. This was my first time sewing wiht double gauze, and I now sort of want a whole wardrobe of it. I love the soft texture that embraces wrinkliness like a good friend (because let’s be honest, the only time I get out an iron is to press fabric before cutting it!) I found it easy to cut and really pleasurable and tactile to sew. While the fabric is lightweight, I think it’ll still be a great layering piece for fall … since double gauze is actually two layers of fabric sewn together, I think it’ll be good for trapping heat!
I’d read this post from Tilly and the Buttons on working with double gauze before getting started which gave me permission to skip the pressing of the fabric and just work with it in it’s deliciously lumpy state. As I sewed though, I did wonder how to handle steps that required pressing (like pressing seams open or hems up) and the bias binding … I didn’t see a way around using the iron for those things but worried that I might end up stretching out the sleeves or bottom hem (in the first instance) or distort the neckline (in the case of the bias binding). When you press the fabric, it obviously grows as you’re ironing out all those bumps.
I tried to do a bit of googling and didn’t come up with much, so in the end, I tried to use a light touch with the iron when it was required where I could. That wasn’t an option for making the bias binding though, and the neck does look a bit weird when it’s off the body (which is probably more to do with my wonky top stitching than anything else). I hope when I give it a first wash the binding doesn’t shrink or pucker, but my guess is it will be fine. One of the things I really like about double gauze is it seems pretty forgiving (so hopefully it’s, ahem, not so obvious that my front is longer than my back, or that all my stitching is a bit uneven).
I’m between the pattern’s XS and Small sizes, but my chest measurement is much closer to the size small. For my first version, I cut the small (especially as I prefer things with positive ease), but I ended up with lots of excess fabric at the underarms and had to bring it in a bit around the chest. I still really like my first version, but the neckline is a bit too big, so this time around, I sized down to the XS and am pretty happy with the fit.
I made really minimal changes to the pattern. When I got to the point of trying on to mark where I’d like the neckline to hit, I was really happy with the look of the high neck so just neatened it up rather than doing any significant cutting. I’m 99% sure I lengthened the sleeves and body slightly when I traced the pattern piece. There are lots of inspiring variations on this top on Insta, and I’m sure one day I’ll get more creative. But for the moment, I see a few more simple versions of this in my future as it’s such a good wardrobe staple!
Oh and I finished it all with French seams. They’re very pleasing !
- Pattern: 100 Acts of Sewing Shirt No. 1. I got my copy from the ever so lovely Beyond Measure
- Fabric: Pumpkin Double Gauze from Cool Crafting
- Size made: X-small
- Mods: None really!
I hope wherever you are you’re keeping healthy and happy. Thanks as always for stopping by!