Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Henry Shirt: Review

Henry Shirt

The Sewing for Boys sewalong pattern this month was the Henry Shirt. The pattern was labeled Advanced . I was afeared. Very afeared. 

I decided to solider on, though, and I even splurged and bought fabric especially for the project--Michael Miller's Baby Backyard collection (trying to entice myself to actually finish it?). I put several colors and versions of it on Fabric.com swatch wall and told Will he could pick one for the shirt. He didn't like any of them and selected a fabric with a construction-equipment print. Sigh. So, I picked my favorites of the Michael Miller fabrics and bought some of Will's choice as well.

Ok, so this pattern got hard even with the cutting out. Some pieces must be cut on the bias. Now I know what that means in theory, but when it came to actually doing it.....let's just say it would have been a big help to see a diagram for how to do it. I wasn't sure what part needed to be on the bias, and I was having trouble visualizing how the raglan-sleeve yoke piece was going to be put together, so I couldn't even use the usual "yoke" shape I see as a guide.  Apparently I got it enough on the bias, as I didn't have any trouble getting my sleeves/yoke to sew into place.

Henry Shirt
I do love the look of the contrast yoke!

I also had some trouble with the box pleat. Now, if I'd taken the time to go Google what a finished box pleat looks like (or better yet, found a tutorial for one--I'm sure it's out there), I would have known what I did wasn't correct. I made my big pleat, ironed it to one side and sewed it down. No squishing it out to the sides. An additional diagram of the process would have been very helpful. I also looked at the 3 pictures of the finished shirt to try and see what it was supposed to look like, and the pleat wasn't visible in any of them.

 Henry Shirt
The screwed-up "box-pleat." Oops.

Shockingly, I didn't have any real trouble with the body, except for turning and flipping parts and referring back to the pattern pieces to try and figure out how the sleeves and body went together. Once I got that figured out, it worked out just fine.

I ran into more problems with the collar pieces. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the top and bottom of the pieces were (I'm sure Soren screaming and holding onto my legs wasn't helping). I didn't want to sew it all up incorrectly, so I gave up for the night and left a comment on the this post asking for help. Karen LePage, one of the book's co-authors, emailed me the next day with an explanation and an offer to call or text her if I had more problems! Now that's what I call customer service!

All in all, I think this shirt took two to four hours (including cut time). It's hard to estimate time when my sewing time is so interrupted!

In terms of fit, the shirt is intended to be wide so that it can worn on top of a long-sleeved shirt for year-round wear. And it's definitely wide on my skinny boy. My fit might be even more blousy than it should have been because of my box-pleat fiasco--I'm not sure.

Henry Shirt
Will still seems not quite himself this week. Strep's effects lingering on?

Henry Shirt

Henry Shirt

 I would probably not make this pattern again as is, just because I am not one for layering  clothing, so there's no point in making it this large for my kids. As far as the looks go, it is really cute, and I love the little pockets and the inside yoke. It really looks nice.

Screw-ups: Box-pleat fiasco, collar got wrinkles ironed into due to an interfacing problem I had, collar and snap tabs didn't quite go together perfectly, and my pockets were attached slightly too low and the bottom finished edge ended up getting turned under into the hem so they wouldn't be sticking out lower than the rest of the hem.

Henry Shirt

All in all, I think I did ok considering I am not an "advanced" sewist by any means. It's definitely wearable and cute!

Henry Shirt
The coathanger Will is holding in these pictures is his "bow and arrow" he created after watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  That boy can weaponize anything!

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