Thursday, February 13, 2014

Growing Boys Need Clothes Too

It is amazing how fast a twelve year old  grows. During Thanksgiving break, Middle Son was a size 10 in circumference, but a 14 in length. The boy went and grew!

Sis Boom Ethan Boys Button Down Shirt
One day when I picked Middle Son up at school, he got into the car and told me that I needed to make him a dress shirt. They were having a swing dance competition.

I knew I wanted to try a new pattern with less ease than the Jalie we had been using for more than a few years. I couldn't find one, so I turned to my fellow sewists on Pattern Review and posed the question about a shirt for him. He was getting to the point of even fewer patterns for teen size boys who don't fit into the very few men's patterns. And of course, they came through with not one, but multiple ideas. They saved me. I was thinking of drafting a pattern, but that little white dress sucked up time.

It took a couple of weeks to get him to help me with a color. I eventually got him to Joann's and I stood him in front of the Kona Cottons. He picked out Cool Grey. Since I only had one 50% off coupon, and the Kona wasn't on sale, I told him that I had that at home in the stash. I had bought it to make Mr. Toad a shirt.

Ethan Shirt--pieces laid out, the back, front and sleeves
are on the ironing board
I am an equal opportunity procrastinator. I don't just procrastinate for myself, Mr. Toad has been waiting for the shirt for a few years.

So I looked at patterns and finally decided to try a new to me company. The new shirt, Sis Boom Ethan Boys Button-Up shirt is available in their Etsy shop or on Pattern Review. It is a pdf download that you piece together. It was about $9 and had multiple sizes that end at size 14. I figured I had a year or of use for Middle Son and Youngest Son would fit for even more.

The front band sew correctly. 
Once it was downloaded, I looked at the number of pages and almost passed out. There were 166! So I went to the last pages and realized that it prints each size individually. Relief. So I figured out how many pages were needed and printed those.

Luckily, I remeasured Middle Son the night before and grabbed the missing ones in the morning. The kid had turned into a size 14 in two months!

Pin the front to the right side of yoke
I really like the how these are marked for laying out. They have overlapping clearly marked and colored edges. They also don't try to fit everything onto one huge sheet that needs to be assembled. They separated. This is the first pattern that I assembled without strange none matching sections that I had to guess on.

Usually, I trace my downloaded patterns because they have multiple sizes. Not this one. Only one size with multiple lengths. AWESOME. I went for the longest. Hey, who knows how much the kid might grow while at school.

Roll front and back together and pin yokes around rolled up
fronts and back and sew
Once everything was taped and cut, I grabbed the prewashed fabric to iron it. I really love the way that Kona Cotton irons. It is my favorite broadcloth. I layed out the fabric and noticed that it had some bleached spots. Then I remembered why I hadn't used it. Our lovely high efficiency washer often will leave bleached spots on the load after the bleach load. This must have been what happened. I don't consider that very efficient when it ruins fabric.

Luckily, there was more than enough to work around the spots. Youngest Son was home sick and was excited that he had scraps to make pillows and a "shirt" for one of his stuffed animals.

After sewing the yokes to front, pull everything through
the neck hole
I did notice that there were a lot of instructions and finally read that the seam allowances are smaller than I am used to, especially after doing a couple couture projects with an inch or more. These are 1/4 inch. Yikes. I decided these were guidelines. The size was a little big so I wasn't worried.
Ta Da! 
I scanned the instructions and went to work. I have made many dress shirts for boys and men. I fused the interfacing, attached the back yoke added the pocket. But I had not used a separated front band. I had a little trouble. I misread the instructions and sewed the wrong side of the band and ripped it out and resewed it. It was one of those, what was I thinking, that was so clear, how did I make that kind of a mistake? moments.

 Sewing the fronts to the yoke is always amazing. Pinning the fronts to the front yoke, then rolling up the front and back and wrapping the back yoke and pinning so that it can be sewn is kind of fun. Once it is flipped out, I use it as a stopping point.
After pressing and top stitching it starts to look like a shirt.

Next time:

  • Attaching sleeves
  • Collar
  • Collar band
  • Side seams
  • Cuffs
  • Hem

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  1. Your youngest son is lucky to be getting an awesome shirt made by mom! My son is still waiting for me to finish his pajamas!! : )

    I went to download a Burda pattern, and flipped out when it said I had 21 pages to print--166 would have surely made me faint! I'm glad you didn't need to print that many. In fact, I will be re-visiting this top, and attempting a .pdf pattern for the 2nd time. It might not be as bad as I think.

    Good luck with the rest of this shirt, it looks great so far!

    1. I highly recommend this shirt. I wish they made it for the in between sizes that Middle Son will be going into soon. I'm still looking for the "right one" for Mr. Toad. That will be in the next month or so. I need that before making him a jacket. Yikes! I am going to finally get that jacket.