Monday, May 5, 2014

Baby Boy Easter Suit

McCall's M6873 to be specific.  I currently have two infant boys in my house and got suckered with some Easter fever and decided to sew this.  The pattern has an "easy" description that I would have to disagree with.  I only got one done before Easter and still have one to do, so I thought I might as well do it online as a semi/pseudo tutorial for prosperity.

Nothing in the construction of these pieces was surprising or horribly complicated.  I've probably sewn more than 100 pairs of pants, a good 50 or more button down shirts and at least 10 lined vests in my time.  Except for pants, it's been a good 15 years since I've been garment sewing, so I was rusty but still fairly competent.  I had some issues with some of the written instructions.  I've decided to be the back up chorus this pattern needs to nudge it a little more firmly into the "Easy" zone.

One thing that I found kind of surprising are the lack of reminders to finish seams and press open as you go.  I know this wasn't a "learning to sew" or "beginner's" pattern, but I still think a nudge to such things is in order.  Be aware that you need to take care of those details as you sew, without them being mentioned in the by-the-number instructions.  Your suit will suffer significantly without getting those seams pressed open.  I very much love my sleeve board for kid's clothes seams.

An unfinished wooden dowel can be very useful for sticking in those skinny leg or arms to get a seam pressed.  I use a miniature cutting board as a clapper, to "clap" down on seams after pressing with steam.  It gives a crisp and long lasting press with very little time or effort.  Any small unfinished piece of wood would do.  Notice the seam edges fraying to beat the band there!  Left unfinished they would ravel up to the stitching after some laundering, and look really ugly too.  You can finish those fabric edges before sewing or after.  Serge or zigzag or use pinking shears, but finish those suckers!  And do it as you go, please.

I started with pants, the easiest and probably most familiar of the garments.  They are easy. The only other things I can think of to add to the pants portion is:
  MARK them.  Those notches are important.  I clip in rather than notch out to save time. Marking them either in or out will prevent you sewing in a piece upside down or backwards, or sewing a front to a front instead of a back.  If the notches don't match up, step back and figure out why. Sometimes I skip marking circles and dots if I can gestimate or lay the paper pattern on top later for say a pocket placement.  I almost never mark fold or hemlines for the same reason.
  NOTCHES disappear after you trim or finish a seam.  Frequently they are the best way to tell front from back on a garment because the front pieces may have two notches and backs have three .  I stick a safety pin in the waistband area as soon as I'm ready to finish those notched seams so I can identify the back later without having to evaluate the crotch, which has room for a bottom in the back and is flatter in the front if you really look at it.  I also mark kids' (or any elasticized) pants by sewing a little ribbon in the back under the waistband casing so everyone can tell when it's time to put them on.

  CUFF CONSTRUCTION on this pattern confused me a little bit when they used the term "roll line" for the fold that you make turning fabric inside to get the total length before folding up again for the cuff.  I would have just called that fold the hemline.  I had to look carefully at the diagram and the pattern to figure out what they wanted me to do.  Roll line more usually refers to a soft fold such as on a jacket lapel.  I would have used roll line to refer to the fold back out to make the cuff if I had to use it at all.  Probably I'd stick to hemline and fold line.  It just irritated me. It could have been a night shift person coping with daylight moment.

Other than those few ticklers, the pants were easy indeed.  If you've sewn anything from a "learn to sew" commercial pattern before, you could pull off these pants.  The vest, tie, and "square" were very simple and I'll do a little ditty on them one day soon.  The shirt is where I think the design wasn't made as easy as it could be and the directions were worse.  It has the potential to ruin lots of little yardages of fabric and discourage budding sewests all across the nation.  It's not a BAD pattern, it just could have been much simpler to be sold as easy. Hopefully, a real tutorial will help someone out.

The outfit at completion really was cute and gratifying, totally worth the effort.  Sewing baby and kid clothes is a great place to gain skills because it doesn't involve big investments in fabric. 

No comments:

Post a Comment