Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to Grow Fat Gracefully: The Double Shirt

The completed double shirt

The problem? Two shirts, each okay in their own way but each a bit too narrow to gracefully drape an expanding mid-section.

The solution? Double them up! (Note that one of the shirts had already been altered in the past with the addition of gorgeous vintage buttons.) Here are a couple of how-to diagrams that those with sewing savvy will hopefully be able to follow.

How-to A (click to enlarge)

Because I tend to get hot, one strategy was to remove the sleeves and back of the shirt underneath so that I wouldn't be suffering under a double layer of cloth. The only place the shirt ends up double is the front, and the top shirt always remains open, eliminating the problem there. Begin by slitting the shirt that will be underneath up the back. This is simply for fitting - this back will be completely removed in the final product. Put the two shirts on together, and move about until the combo is hanging in a comfortable, flattering fit. Pin the top shirt to the bottom shirt along the top shirt's side seams. Take the shirts off together, and pin along the top shirt's shoulder and back collar seams. Cut away the bottom shirt's sleeves and back.

How-to B (click to enlarge)
The end result is that you gain several inches at either side of the shirt, and the whole thing is airy and comfortable because you'e removed the back and sleeves of the bottom shirt. And with all of that extra material, you can create a new pocket and...add polka dots!

How-to C

Finished shirt front

Finished shirt back

Bonus Polka-Dots How-To

Lately I am loving polka-dots and have come up with an easy way to crank out perfect polka-dots every time. Start by creating a bunch of polka-dot templates on light cardboard (advertising postcards work perfectly). Use the rim of a glass, jar or cup that matches the size of the polka-dots you want, and trace around the rim with pen or pencil on the cardboard to create a series of circles. Cut them out. Cut the cloth you're going to use for your polka-dots into rough circles with about a half-inch extra all around.

Cardboard template and cloth

Ironing around the template

You'll find you can work in sections, folding part of the cloth circle over the template, ironing, and then folding and ironing the next section of the cloth circle. Takes a little practice, but you get more nimble very fast.

Fully ironed polka-dot

Just before stitching, slide the cardboard template out and save for later use. Pin down and stitch the polka-dot.

Stitched polka-dot
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