I made another (5th!) Simplicity 2938 last month out of a thrifted men's shirt and a little bit of cotton lawn from SAS. Actually, I used the same orange and white cotton lawn in my own blue and orange Simplicity 2938. This one is petite-sized and will go to the same friend who received a brown and green version in Care package.
The center panel is double layered and the princess seams are enclosed inside the two layers. See this photo-tutorial of the technique. Topologically, it's the same technique used to sew double-layer shirt yokes without hand stitching. I'm pretty sure that I inherited my topological abilities from my foremothers.
In the photo below, you are looking at one shoulder seam, from the inside. The row on the left is stitched from the inside; you are looking at the "right" side of the stitching. The row on the left is stitched from the outside so you are viewing the less pretty "wrong" side of the stitching. The better the machine, and the better the stitch balance, the more closely these two sides resemble one another.
Fabric was scarce and costly. Cloth was cut into men's clothes. When those wore out--usually at the seams--they were carefully picked apart and used for slightly smaller women's clothes. When those wore out, they were cut up into children's clothes or for patchwork items.
This shirt had a wonky spread collar and a bleach stain on the shoulder. But its beautiful cotton was worth the $2 I paid at the thrift store. The cotton lawn is pre-consumer waste from SAS Fabrics. I used thread leftover from other projects and a well-used pattern, making this top 100% recycled.
I want to make a related point. Our grandmas did not have bins full of patterns (as I have). They had a few that they used over and over. Familiarity allowed them to sew faster because they had already fitted the pattern to the intended wearer. Sewing quickly was important because they had many other demands on their time. Time is a resource.
Our grandma probably had a machine that could only sew a straight stitch, but did that better than most of today's cheap machines with their 150 stitch patterns and plastic parts*. IMHO, single-needle tailoring, with only a straight stitch, trumps all other shirt seam finishes for beauty and wearability. It takes a bit more time and skill, but it's worth the time and practice to produce something fabulous. Our grandmas could probably pull off single needle tailoring relatively quickly because that's all they practiced.
BTW, our grandma's clothes probably lasted longer than ours because they weren't worn out in tumble dryers. She hung them up on a clothesline--correctly.
Enjoy these Links:
- Embedded water: cotton
- Simplicity 2938: a workhorse pattern endorsed by the American Sewing Guild
- Everyday plenty AND make do and mend: another shirt refashioned into Simplicity 2938
- Carmegeddon 2 Adventure: see the shirt worn on mass transit!
- More make do and mend: 2 more versions of Simplicity 2938 with recycled materials.
- Care package: one more Simplicity 2938 in a 100% recycled Spring wardrobe care package.
- How to use a clothesline
- How "Green" is Your T-shirt? How you launder and dry it matters more than its fiber content.
- The topological dressmaker A classic Martin Gardiner column for Scientific American and a must read for mathematically-minded seamsters.