Patternmaking, Sewing, The Simple Shirt

Sometimes I Wake in the Middle of the Night with an Idea

I’m sure many of us wake up in the middle of the night with some idea in our heads.  This happens to me on occasion and depending on how I feel I’ll either get up and act on the idea or if the idea is completely whacked I’ll try ever so patiently to go back to sleep.

I read or hear about designers that have ideas come to them in the middle of the night and they’ll get up and sketch, putting the idea on paper, and letting it be recorded so they can go back to sleep.  I practiced this method a week ago when I woke to an idea for a shirt and denim skirt…


Sort of a westernesque theme.  I see the shirt in check and the skirt as a wrap with a zipper closure, pretty simple really.  I had let the sketch sit for a few days and thought more about how to execute the idea, especially the shirt.  I wasn’t too sure what I was thinking about those darts under the bust but I must have thought I wanted something a bit more form fitting.

So the execution of the design began…DSCF6722

I pulled out the pattern paper, my basic fitting shell templates, and delved into the process of drafting up the solution to my sketch.DSCF6720

I love this part.  There’s a lot of thinking that goes on and a lot of problem solving, just like a puzzle.  Do I put a yoke in?  Do I add design ease?  Where do I extend the seam?  So many questions, but I have to remember from design school that the first draft is always a test sample.  Things will change so go with your gut instinct, make your sample, then adjust.

Enter the sample fabric.  I love finding fabric bargains to use as samples.  This particular bolt of fabric came from Hancock Fabrics a few years back.  It is a heavier weight shirting…


with a nice body to work withDSCF6742

I’d guess it is a blend but the best part about this bolt was the price, $1.95 a yard.  You just can’t beat that, unless you are able to tack on a discount coupon to get if for even less, to make up samples!

As the pattern was taking shape, I decided to make it even simpler.  No collar, just a banded neckline, gathers instead of darts.  I did opt for a set-in sleeve only because I need to test the sleeve from my basic fitting shell.  About the only big detail I drafted were the sleeve cuffs…


The shirt took shape very quickly…DSCF6744

…and the sleeve went into the armhole without nearly an issue…DSCF6745

The gathering across the back yoke to me might be a little suspect and I think I’ve added too much design ease but these can be easily corrected…DSCF6746

All in all, I’m looking forward to finishing this pattern and moving on to the skirt!

Let me know your thoughts, I’m always interested in what others wake in the middle of the night for!

Happy Sewing!


2 thoughts on “Sometimes I Wake in the Middle of the Night with an Idea”

  1. I often wake with ideas for writing and sewing.
    I love your bargain fabric, crisp and fresh, and your design is lovely.
    Can’t wait to see more!


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