The To-Do List, that is.
The list now looks like this:
Robert’s green chambray V8889 – FINISHED
- Oakley slouch hat (crochet) in “Mermaid Musings” colorway, from A Treehugger’s Wife Yarn – halfway finished
- Lizard shawl (crochet) – finishing tonight
Caterpillar Mitts (knitting)- FINISHED
Nessie (crochet) – FINISHED
- Lost Souls shawl (crochet) – this would have been done long ago, but it is currently in a box in the storeroom, sitting under three other boxes
- Multiplicity Buttoned scarf (crochet) – finishing tonight
- pattern weights – I’ve got about twelve of them done, but I have at least fifteen more that need to be filled and sewn up
- woodblock/Irish chain quilt
- sawtooth quilt
- super-secret-almost-finished restoration project
- alpaca fleece – halfway finished with combing, have started spinning
- Shetland ram lamb fleece – 1/8 finished with combing
- Spinning: By the Sea colorway from Avalon Springs Farms
- several items in the mending bin
That’s three projects done, and two more that will be completed by this evening! That means I can start another one, right?
[Just kidding…I want to knock out a couple more of these items before I start anything new.]
I took a break on Robert’s shirt about two-thirds of the way through, to work on Nessie and the mitts (which sounds like a band name). Not because I was overwhelmed. Honestly, I was just putting off my least favorite parts of the pattern – sewing the flat-felled side/underarm seams.
The first time around, that part took forever, so I figured it would be the same this time, too. It was actually a lot easier and faster, once I got down to it. In fact, I think I finally figured out the best method to sew everything down without a) catching the rest of the fabric under the stitching and 2) having to start and stop and move the needle and adjust everything a million times. I even wrote a note to myself in the pattern, so I won’t forget next time.
Of course, once the sleeves were done, the shirt was all done except for the buttons, holes and a final hem. Again, not a favorite thing to do. I hate sewing buttons and button holes. I mean, hate, hate, hate doing them. I’m pretty sure this stems from my years as a costume mistress in my high school theater days, when one of the actors (totally going to call out Cory Moone, even though I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this) consistently told me about missing buttons and closures on opening night.
[I’m not exaggerating about this. One time, Cory came to me 20 minutes before curtain to tell me that he didn’t have elastic in his pants. Or a button on his other pants. And that his shirt, for some reason, was missing a buttonhole all together. Another time, he caught me during a costume change and dropped the revelation that his vest – for the scene that was about to start in 2 minutes – didn’t have buttons. That last one? I glared at him and safety pinned his vest shut. When he said “but it doesn’t look right,” I responded “If you had told me earlier today, when I asked if you needed anything, it would have. Deal with it for now.”]
Anyway, the buttonholes went a lot faster this time around than they usually do and – miracle of miracles – I didn’t mess any of them up. I’ve started using an Exact-o knife to split the buttonholes, rather than trying to snip them with tiny scissors. I’ve found I get a nicer finish, and I’m less likely to accidentally cut through the stitching.
Since the buttons on the front of the shirt are hidden by the folded front placket, it’s not as important that they match all of the other buttons on the shirt. That helps, when you’re sifting through jars and bins of assorted buttons. For Robert’s shirt, I used five plain, white pearlescent four-hole buttons. Since you can see the collar button, I opted for a small square button of clear, green plastic. The buttons on the cuffs and sleeve plackets are vintage gray-green plastic box-shank buttons that go so well with the color of the shirt.
I wanted to try a new-to-me technique when it came to the hem, using bias tape to make the curved bottom edge easier to navigate. I have a nice selection of store-bought bias tape, courtesy of three different friends’ great aunts’/grandmothers’ sewing rooms, which would have been the easy route…but I was already sort of on a customization kick and asked Robert if it was okay if I made my own bias tape using a wacky print. He was fine, as long as it didn’t show through to the front.
I pawed through the scraps I had in my odds and ends bin, pulling out the pieces that were big enough that I could cut a few strips on the bias. Then, I sorted those choices by color, tossing back the ones that *REALLY* didn’t work, as well as the ones that fit the general color scheme but that I wasn’t in love with. That brought me down to five choices, which I narrowed further by taking out the ones where the print was too big to work with the narrow binding. That brought me to two choices, which I ran past Robert.
I didn’t tell him I was leaning toward the dinosaur print, letting him make his own choice. Guess which one he went with?
I cut several 1″-wide bias strips from the fat quarter and stitched them together. Then I folded one long edge down a quarter of an inch and hit it with the iron. You stitch the binding to the shirt edge with the right sides of the fabric together, iron the seam and flip the bias strip to the back. I used my new wonderclips to hold the binding in place (instead of pins), and stitched everything down.
And the shirt is done!
[Of course, then I tripped up the stairs whilst carrying it and it went straight into the litter box at the top of the stairs, which meant it then went straight into the washing machine. At least it was a recently scooped litter box.]