OK. Perhaps a bit harsh, but I started work on the Colette Negroni today (I know, I know… first I jumped the gun on the Crepe sewalong, and now on Peter’s shirt sewalong…) and I am completely in awe of whomever thought up the crazy way of attaching the yolk. Also, symmetrical pockets and topstitching seem to be basic torture methods… Here’s what I’ve got after an afternoon and evening of intermittent sewing (what I’ve got, shirt-wise. I skipped the photo session taking pictures of all the steam burns on my hands. But I’ve got those too, my little chickadees…)
I thought I’d snap a few photos and share a few thoughts as I go along… a mini-cheat sheet for those of you joining in the shirt sewalong on the 1st. This particular shirt, while intended for Mr. Bug’s eventual enjoyment, is destined to spend the first part of its life as a shop sample. I’ve been really wanting to make up the Negroni since we got it in, and finally decided on this little blue and white checked Oliver + S fabric… there’s actually much better striped fabric from the same line, but I didn’t want to deal with potential stripe-matching. Or the residual guilt I’d experience if I skipped the matching. I was also slightly obsessed with this Liberty Art print that we have – I think it’d make an awesome shirt for a man, just not my man…
So where to begin? I tried to be as careful as possible during the cutting process – I ironed the pattern pieces AND the fabric (I usually do one or the other…) and cut everything with a rotary blade and actually used more than two pins per pattern piece, for a change! I was pretty apprehensive over the project – I’m definitely not the most precise of sewists, and men’s shirts seem to call for a bit of precision.
The pattern has you start out with the pockets – definitely the part I was dreading the most. I dutifully made a little pocket template out of an old folder – and while it helped, it was still a bear wrapping the edges of the fabric around the edges of my template. The corners were hard to get rounded, no matter how much I fiddled with them. Also, I felt pretty smart – I traced the template from the pattern piece, then I pulled the thread from my needle and quickly ‘sewed’ the template around the edges with a 3/8” seam – when I was done, I had perfectly placed dots outlining the finished pocket shape – cutting along the dots left by the needle was simple!
Also! a warning to those (like me) who wait to buy buttons last – the pattern has you do the buttonholes on the pocket flaps first, so you need to at least know what size you’re going to use. I just set my buttonhole foot to the suggested 1/2” – I hope I find good half inch buttons!
Here’s my pockets – not too terrible for a first attempt at patch pockets (well, first attempt at patch pockets intended to by symmetrical…) they aren’t perfect, but they’re really not that bad. The buttonholes make my eyes go buggy, but I just am trying to avoid direct eye contact!
You can see in the photo how the pattern lays out the pocket pieces. You sew the flap on first, with the long edge unfinished and the point facing up (like, towards the wearer’s head). Stitch on, trim, then fold down and topstitch. I almost went off on my own and finished the long edge differently, but I’m glad I actually read the directions first – the instruction’s method is just fine!
After the pockets, you almost immediately work on the collar – another detail fraught with peril for sloppy sewists like me! Getting those points the same! Luckily, I got it right the first time – they match!
One thing I found somewhat strange about the pattern is that there are pretty wide facings for the front centers! I wasn’t expecting facings on a man’s shirt and don’t think there are any on any of Dan’s button up shirts. I understitched mine, although it didn’t look like the pattern called for it – I probably will topstitch later as well!
Putting in the yoke was trippy! I didn’t take any photos, but just know that if you’re following the Colette pattern, do EXACTLY what the words say – it will work! The drawing looks like there’s more room to maneuver than there actually is and it confused me a bit –
So that’s it so far! Collar, pockets, yoke done. Sleeves, cuffs and plackets left. And the ever-mysterious flat felled seam. This may get done tomorrow, although it’ll be quite the stretch if it DOES get done! And then there are the negotiations with my male-model, Mr. Bug, before all ya’lll will see the final product…
Here’s a front and back shot of my progress so far!