Friday, February 15, 2008

The story of the shirt ...

Shirt for Rich, originally uploaded by michaeldog_1999.

Okay, now for something a little more lighthearted. I am trying my very best in 2008 to do homemade gifts, so along comes Valentine's day as it does at the same time every year. But time got away from it and it was 2/14 and I did not have anything for DH. What to do, what to do .... clothing? Okay. I found some very soft red knit in my stash, off to a good start. I didn't want a plain ole red shirt though ... booorrrinnng. Okay, I'll embroider it. But wait, embroidery on a men's shirt is not all that common honestly and I don't want something looking feminine at the end. With that in mind, of course, I skipped embroidering a big red heart on the front. ;)

I finally found that neat bicycle you can see in the photo, and downloaded it (for free from one of the sites!). Off to a great start, right? I cut out the shirt and somehow missed cutting out the neckband. On finishing up and being happy to basically use up every last inch of my red fabric (hey, no scraps to find a use for later, right?) I discovered this. Okay, I thought to myself, I'll just use some other red from stash fabric. With a stash of literally hundreds of yards of fabric, there has to be a decently matching red ribknit. You guessed it though - nothing! I set that problem aside for later and sewed the basic shirt for shoulder seams, inserted the sleeves flat and left the sides open. On to the embroidery.

Despite very careful checking several times on hooping, I stitched out that bicycle and discovered it was off center - BADLY off center, i.e., not enough that it could be construed to be supposed to be on the left or right chest, and not close enough to the center to not be obvious. Okay, set that problem aside and go back to the neckline issue.

I made the bicycle green so finally decided to do a green neckband. And luck was finally with me and I found a decent match both in color and weight of the fabric needed. Woohoo!

Back to the embroidery problem though. I finally decide to put a stick figure person with the bicycle, and I start hunting for one. I don't have one already so I need to search. I find one at Ann the Gran that will work. Back in business here on the shirt, of course it is now mid afternoon ....

I try to download it. Oh no, her site was revamped and I CANNOT get it to download. I have never had problems with downloading from her site before. I check the forums there, and I'm not the only one having problems. I search through what seems like a hundred other sites and don't find anything that works quite as well. I break for chores and tasks for a couple hours, consider throwing the shirt in the trash and come back. I try Firefix rather than IE and finally get it downloaded. Back in business .... and it's 4:30 p.m.

I stitch the thing out, and it is not the greatest, slight puckering (after congratulating myself prematurely on the great job with the bicycle with no puckering). And then I discover somehow the underneath fabric worked its way underneath the hoop and got stitched in the design. So now part of the bicycle is sewn to the design. I tear out a few hairs and then think rationally again. It is only the far part of his front foot sewn to it --- so I rip out those stitches carefully and am left with a design minus part of his foot. I tack the rest of the design back down so it doesn't all come out and move on.

I press it and look at it - not horrible and hey he can wear it for PJs if nothing else. At least the fabric is still soft and comfy. And it's the thought that counts, right?

Moral of the story: Note to self - start before 2/14 for next year's gift.

PS - At least the shirt fit beautifully when he tried it on. :)


Pauline said...

Wow...I love the shirt! (typed as I'm still looking at the pile of bathrobe supplies.)

But the design on the shirt is fantastic!


Pauline said...

The other thing I intended to type but pressed send before doing so (love the mommy brain...) was that the process you described really gets to the heart of sewing and crafting as artistic and creative processes. Sure, you could have had all of the supplies at hand and done something standard; instead you adapted and improvised each time you hit a challenge and came up with something wonderful as a result, something you wouldn't have created had you had different supplies/tools.

It reminds me of something I think Uncle T mentioned once about an art class where the instructor would damage or change the artwork and see what the students would do with it as a result, creating something totally different and wonderful (or being overwhelmed and quitting).

In any case, I loved reading your journey with this particular shirt.

:) Pauline