Shirt making tips

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Jun 16, 2006 at 2:57 pm / Patterns, Sewing, Tutorial / Trackback

When I was going through my garment stash for yesterday’s post, I came across this shirt.

I’ve named this the “perfect shirt”. Not that it is of course, but I made it as an exercise, in an attempt of technical sewing perfection. It’s cut on the bias, all seams enclosed etc. etc. I also made a different kind of button stand (this process was repeated to hem the shirt sleeves too), it also has a bluff pocket and I thought I could use parts of it to pass along a couple of shirt making tips.

The first tip is how to mark the placement of buttons. I was sure I’d explained this before but I can’t find it in the archives. The way you mark placement of buttons is easy. First you make your button holes (the making of button hole guides was discussed here and here). Once your button holes are made, you fold the shirt inside out with the buttoning edges together as shown below.


Line the edges up carefully and then, using a wax pencil (or your favorite marking tool), poke down through the center of the buttonhole to mark the fabric below (as shown below).

Do that and your buttons and buttonholes will always be perfectly aligned. It’s low tech and it’s manual and I’d bet it’d surprise you to know that garments are marked just like this in factories. Sure, you could use the button hole marking guide to mark button holes and it might be faster but it wouldn’t work as well. Due to tiny differences -when the operator makes the holes- they may not line up according to the guide. Using the holes on each individual item to mark the corresponding button, ensures that they’ll line up. No two shirts will ever be exactly alike. But they should look as though they were.

The second tip I wanted to pass along is in regards to making the front button stand on shirts. There’s at least 6 different ways to make these that I know of but I like this one the best because it doesn’t require sewing on a separate strip. Turning the one side of that button stand under (the edge facing the body of the shirt) is a pain in the butt and you can see poorly turned button stand hems a mile away. Nothing screams home sewing more than that. It’s hard to turn under that edge without a folder so this is how I like to do it. First, here’s a view of the back of the button stand. It looks like it’s pieced but that is the pleat.

This is how to draft and do it.
The front of the shirt is shown below. Let’s assume the stand is 1.5″ wide, finished. Add a total of 2″ to the edge. 1.5″ of it is to cover the back side of the stand. The remaining .5″ is to form the pleat. However, the pleat is on the other side of the center front so in effect, you’d really be splitting the pattern in that part to put in the extra .5″.

Usually though, the edge of the pattern is straight and you can add the 2″ on the end, you’ll just have to be sure to move the notches. Maybe seeing how it’s sewn will make sense.
Fold at the first notch (the one closest to the edge), folding the back side of the button stand under.
At the second notch, fold it again.
Sew a line of stitching, 1/4″ from the folded edge (catching all layers).

Then unfold it. Press the pleat toward the body of the shirt.

Of course you’d still have to top stitch the other side of the button stand to finish it off but the hard part is done. I know some of you already know how to do this. It’s often used for hemming. If you look at the first photo, you can see I hemmed these sleeves like this too. It’s a clean finish. Oh, and be sure to fuse that button stand. Two layers of fabric is not enough to keep it stable. One of the reasons why this shirt isn’t perfect is because I didn’t fuse it. I don’t know what I could have been thinking. Maybe I didn’t because I cut it on the bias and thought I shouldn’t.

I don’t like the fit of this shirt at all. I never wear it. The fabric was pretty when I bought it, I thought it was some kind of cotton/linen blend but now I wonder. It’s got some kind of scratchy pilling going on. That’s another lesson. Be sure to test wash some sample fabric before you cut anything out of it -or heaven forbid, order any yardage- and be sure to wash your fit samples before you fit them. I say that so many times I sound like a broken record. I should program a hot key to paste that in for every time I need it.

Now, if you’ve read through this far, this shirt also has a bluff pocket, the likes of which I described the other day. This pocket is much prettier tho, don’t you agree? It’s another variation in that the hem forms to the outside but it’s the same concept. Also, the bottom of the pocket is shaped into a “V” rather than being rounded at the corners.

I’m thinking I should do the bluff pocket tutorial but charge for it. What do you think? I know they do that over there at PatternReview. I’m amazed at the classes they get money for. Just for giggles, I even took one, on zippers. It was okay. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing I hadn’t already published on this blog only better (no lie) -and they were charging $40 a head! Mindblowing. I figure if they were getting $40 for information that was freely available, I should be able to get at least that, for something that isn’t :).

Related:
Entries in the reverse engineering standard work series (how to copy industrial sewing methods)
Standard Work (sounds boring, read it anyway)
Reverse engineering standard work pt.1
Reverse engineering standard work pt.2
Reverse engineering standard work pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.4
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5
Reverse engineering standard work pt.6
Reverse engineering standard work pt.7
Reverse engineering standard work pt.8
Reverse engineering standard work pt.9

Spin off of Reverse engineering standard work pt.5:
A failed experiment
A failed experiment pt.2
A failed experiment pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5.1

38 Responses to “Shirt making tips”

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Els
June 16th, 2006
3:53 PM

I have used this button stand too on several shirts but mainly on men’s, and the button matching is another fool proof method which will never fail.
Looks like although we are living on different parts of the world a neat sewing technique is worldwide spread. I learned how to do this from a tailor in The Netherlands.

Gigi
June 16th, 2006
4:31 PM

One of my favorite button stands! I always felt like I was cheating but won’t anymore. I would *happily* pay for a bluff pocket (or any other) tutorial. I will be the first one to sign up!

Gorgeous Things
June 16th, 2006
5:15 PM

I’m with Gigi. Offer it up! I’d love to learn some techniques from you!

Andrew
June 16th, 2006
5:16 PM

And I’ll be the second!

J C Sprowls
June 16th, 2006
5:35 PM

I like this button placket for the shirt. I do this for a “mock banded” front, too. The two-piece method is too much bother, frankly. I personally prefer a french placket for my shirts. They’re easiest of all. SImply extend 3″ beyond the center front, fold 1 1/2″ back twice and topstitching the outside edge.

I’m still tinkering with the bluff pocket – I’m not entirely ready to give up, yet. But, I’m close. I agree it’s worth the price of admission – I’ve already burned through about $6 in shirting muslin so far…

Gidget
June 17th, 2006
1:32 AM

Ohhh, please don’t charge for it! Not that it’s not worth it to do so, but it will cut out people like me from learning how.

Heather aka SilkKnots
June 17th, 2006
8:56 AM

Kathleen, PLEASE put ALL of your construction info in a book and publish it. I would be the first buyer. There is a real need for top notch industrial sewing techniques, especially my need…lol.

laurra
June 17th, 2006
10:10 AM

kathleen
I have purchased your book but have never contributed to the site.
I have printed out most of the how to articles.
My experience has been when you purchase a sewing book the author will usually have one or two tips if you are lucky for around 25.00 Being the ultimate DE here I had fell prey to the home sewing market.not good,
The information I had been looking for is here so I would be willing to pay a monthly fee to have access to patternmaking and sewing tutorials.
laura

Danielle
June 17th, 2006
11:05 AM

I’m loving all of the posts on pattern and sewing techniques, oh my goodness. Thank you Kathleen!

Personally I would much prefer to purchase a book as opposed to an online tutorial. Unless I desperately needed that specific technique I probably would not bother unless the fees were nominal ($40 American for a single technique is far beyond my budget, even though you’ve done a great job whetting my appetite to see how, I can’t justify that under my current financial condition). On the other hand I would be willing to spend well over a hundred USD for even a slim volume of industrial techniques by Kathleen.

That said, try out charging for a tutorial, why not? There are lots of people out there who would find it well worth the $40+. If I was richer I would do it just for giggles, too. Sigh.

Heather aka SilkKnots
June 17th, 2006
11:16 AM

In response to Laura’s posting:

I am completely self-taught in the sewing arena but did take a course in patternmaking. I once drafted a bias cut cowl neck dress for a petite girl and the cowl would not stay ‘put’. With no one to turn to for help (this was a very special dress), and desperate, I combed through my myriad of home-sewing books and there, in one of Claire Shaeffer’s book was the answer to my ‘problem’. In that moment, that 1 solution was worth any $25.00 I might have paid for the book and this is how I feel about most books. If I can get 1 bit of professional information to improve my skill then it was worth it.

Any book from Kathleen would be worth its weight in gold.

J C Sprowls
June 17th, 2006
11:23 AM

Kathleen,

I once attended a “sewing technology” class, which was one of the first in the fashion program I attempted. The goal of the class was to create a binder of stitching samples. In reality (and hindsight), it was more: “this is how a sewing machine functions”.

What I would like to see come to the market is a workbook (or video series) that addresses each component of ‘real life’ production. For example, the subject of pocket finishes should illustrate at least 5 or 6 methods with hands-on exercises and an introduction to automation (similar to some of your previous posts). I feel this is as much part of ‘elements of design’ as the theoretical teachings.

BTW: this is part-and-parcel of the “ideal” sewing book in my mind… All these skills are interdisciplinary (e.g. sketching leads to observational skills and an eye for proportion, sewing finishes leads to breadth in patternmaking, etc).

J C Sprowls
June 17th, 2006
11:50 AM

Oh… and the topic of pricing…

I can’t believe that PR gets $40 for an entry level lesson. That’s far too much in my opinion. It’s no wonder sewing is becoming a lost art. And, they’re using the internet to distribute this?!

When I taught at community colleges, I earned maybe $15 per hour and had to supply all my own supplements (no reimbursement). I was required to meet a minimum curriculum and work with books in the bookstore (e.g. I couldn’t sell Kathleen’s for example).

When I taught private groups, classes were based on a rate of $10 per hour per student, max of 15 students plus whatever hosting fees (e.g. rent, store commission, etc). I *might* be able to sell a workbook; but, that had to run over the store’s books (e.g. I sold to the store for cost +, and they kept all the retail profit).

If I were to create a training video, it would be written for two levels of distribution (e.g. individual distribution, and commercial distribution). The individual lesson would be chunked up into smaller components so they were affordable (e.g. 30-40 mins for $14.95). Supplemental info or a workbook would be an additional charge (a la carte).

A commercial lesson would still follow the 30-40 min sequence, but there would be several related sequences spliced together. There would also be supplemental info, workbooks, etc rolled into the commercialized package. The commercial product might be priced between $500 and $1200 for 10 students and run about 120 mins total length. Additional workbooks (for future classes) could be available in blocks of 10 for $650, which is effectively ‘renewing the license’ on the previously distributed work.

Marian
June 17th, 2006
1:14 PM

Kathleen you give out such good information I’m sure if people really wanted this information they would pay, its the little things that stop a garment looking home made.

I say charge away after all you dont get anything for free in this world

Jinjer Markley
June 17th, 2006
7:11 PM

I definitely think you should charge for all of your tutorials–including this quickie on button plackets–but not $40 a class.

IMHO, Home sewers (Read: people with another career or husband to support their sewing hobby) are more able to pay that much for the information than us poor, poor DE’s, who are desperate for the information, so you’ll reach only part of your market if you charge home sewing rates.

However, I WOULD be willing to pay a $100 subscription rate for a year’s worth of tutorials*, as long as you put out enough to make it worth it. (so far, you have.)

* Especially if I can pay my fee at any time. personally, I find it easier to pay for things in lumps–easier on my bookkeeping & my cash flow situation!

Gidget
June 17th, 2006
8:49 PM

I hope that I don’t upset too many people here, but I really don’t understand the comments thus far. Aren’t we all using free web browsers? free blogging software? free photo managing software? There are a great deal of programmers out there who believe in the idea of the world wide web’s open access to information and are willing to spend hours giving of their time and expertise so that we can all learn a little more about the world we are living in. Sure, Kathleen could charge for tutorials, people would pay, but then that becomes a job and not being a mentor to people with hopes and dreams as she once had. Let’s face it, alot of us “home sewers with husbands to finance our sewing” are not sitting back eating bon-bons, spending money on frivolous things while we refuse to pay for the hard work of others. I, like many people I know, toss a pencil onto what will be paid for out of this paycheck. Sure, a couple of dollars doesn’t mean much, but when a bottle of Tylenol for the baby is $5 or 2 yards of interfacing that you need to keep around just in case, or that spool of thread that would make sewing up that garment easier, etc. I don’t think it’s serving anyone to charge for information that at this point just serves to add a little more to our knowledge and skill levels that may or may not be called into service at some time in the near future while we remember it. I think we need to remember the purpose of the world wide web and take a step back from the idea of the web as a ‘money-making’ opportunity.

J C Sprowls
June 17th, 2006
9:10 PM

I’d like to come back and add a little more to my earlier comment on pricing. I don’t want to create the perception that I disagree with the value of the service Kathleen proposes. I happen to believe that every tutorial that has been provided so far has taken a tremendous amount of effort on Kathleen’s part to devise, plan, research, and produce. Each of them has been at least one hour of instruction followed by a great deal of support and discussion.

However, value is different for each of the markets Kathleen is helping, here. In a factory setting, an efficient process will save a lot of money over time. Higher rates for training are absolutely appropriate because it’s relatively easy to prove value/return for the investment. However, proving value becomes a little muddy with hobbyists and micro-businesses. For example, I’d happily pay $250-ish for an all-day class to teach me how to assemble a jacket in less than 2 hours. It’s easy for me to justify that investment being that, at most, I produce 20 suits per year, currently. Learning a different approach which raises that number to 50 would be the justification. However, attending the same class at $1300 I couldn’t justify because, even though production would go up 250%, the value wouldn’t be realised for 2 or 3 years.

I’m still miffed that PR is able to get $40 for a lesson. The reason is because I spent less than that per each hour I attended a class in a 4-year university. In comparison, I find $40 per hour to be cost-prohibitive. I will concede that I cannot know if PR is aware of the technology that is available to them. Or if they’re using it in a way to minimise production costs. In any event, there is an audience who finds value at that rate, so I should digress my objection.

As for the value that Kathleen is providing. I think her book is so jam-packed with information, that it should be priced higher. I also feel that the FI site should be based on subscription – because these tutorials are, indeed, supplemental to the book. I would happily pay $50 to $125 per year because of the amount of work that goes into maintaining the quality and integrity of this site.

I mentioned to a friend that Kathleen works harder than any journalist I’ve met. In that regard, I think that her work needs to be recognized as a trade publication and should be priced accordingly. In contrast, a subscription to WWD is $99/yr. I’m not aware of any other technical publication that provides the level of depth and breadth one finds in FI.

Gidget
June 18th, 2006
12:37 AM

I want to add that I’ve bought the book and my heart leapt with joy at the mention of a sewing book. I can and do, save up pocket change and sell something hanging around, when I find a book that contains the information I want to add to my library like Kathleen’s guide. I’ve no problem with begging on hands and knees to my family and husband when there is a book that will really be great to own. When purchased, I can retain them forever to reference and the authors get paid. Not always true of internet documents. Computers and their software get upgraded and files get lost in the muck. Every dollar is an investment that has to make an effect. Apparently alot of others don’t see it that way, hence pattern review, etc. will make money for the short term, but with what price that gets paid?

Carol Kimball
June 18th, 2006
10:18 AM

A quarterly subscription (perhaps a slight discount for a year) should fit most people’s budgets, and it’s a legitimate business deduction.

Nothing is ever free. Much of the sites/info available on the net are subsidized by major institutions or corporations, or all those little ads. If Kathleen doesn’t get enough compensation for her efforts, this site isn’t going to be here.

Gentle remonstrance: anyone who thinks she should provide it for the glow of knowing that she’s contributing to the Greater Good is welcome to come here and work for me for free. My income is at least as tight as most of yours. You can’t? Why should she?

My more-or-less daily contribution to this site is helping delete comment spam on the Discussion Forum (if it’s there, I’m not at the computer).

An arbitrarily-chosen fraction of any week’s posts would justify a subscription. Set your priorities. Count me in.

J C Sprowls
June 18th, 2006
10:53 AM

Gidget,

Since I got on the soapbox, I decided that I owe you some research. Thank you for raising the point that internet users can lose soft-copy documents due to crashes, upgrades, etc. beyond their control. I’ve added this to my project as a ‘risk’ and will work to mitigate it as I develop/propose a solution.

I had initially thought that allowing someone to log in to secure FTP site for x number of days to retrieve the lesson they purchased was the way to manage it. Maybe that’s not the only answer…

Though, you have to admit that sending someone an Adobe document (i.e. .pdf) through email is a lot cheaper than printing, binding, and posting a book. The same for a video lesson…

I guess the point I wanted to convey was: If an author uses technology to reduce their risk/costs, the consumer can benefit by a reduced market price and faster delivery. If a consumer chooses to print the document, the printing costs + purchase cost are typically a little bit less than buying the bound copy.

What I’m also proposing is that the ‘greater work’ be delivered in smaller components. I suggest this for several reasons: 1) make it digestible for the reader, 2) make it affordable for the reader, 3) let the reader pick what they want, 4) make it easier for the author to produce, 5) reduce the author’s investment/risk, and 6) get the author paid faster.

Developing a “book”, per se, takes several years, a lot of money, and a lot of time (unpaid). But, one ‘chapter’ is easier to produce and the investment of time and money is much smaller. The internet allows us the opportunity to release greater works in smaller bites (or, bytes) – it’s just a matter of trying to see if the technology can fit into the overall plan.

I’ll be happy to continue this conversation offline at any time. I know that words on a page can seem cold sometimes. I don’t want to create misperceptions due to language mechanics. Your opinion and feedback can help me shape ideas.

I should tell you, my goal is to propose ideas to Kathleen so FI remains strong and viable. I’m doing this because I’m selfish – I want and need this information. If I can share or lend some of my talents to her project, then I’m happy to do so. In the end, though, this is her project and I will defer to her decisions.

Gidget
June 18th, 2006
12:49 PM

I understand the point that all of you are coming from. I’ve heard the same arguments for PDF’s, EDI’s, all of the other forms of a paperless society for years, having spent 9 years developing much of that software. They have not succeeded because there is no permanent solution. Yes, it can be initially, a cheaper alternative to ‘the publishing problem’, but in fact, as time goes, it becomes more expensive.

I feel very strongly in the ‘glowing’ idea of a free internet exhcange of information. We’ve spent hours, months and years giving to the inherent idea of free exchange of information, wether software, ideas, critical thought, whatever other ‘charitable work’.

Yes, many sites are supported by ‘big businesses’, and in an attempt to prevent the internet from becoming one big info-mercial, this charitable work continues, most likely in vain as hypocrisy and greed settle into the minds of the internet’s users.

I’ve understood from the beginning, whether correctly or not, that this site is to promote the book or any future books. Under that prospect, charging for educational tutorials makes sense. I was hoping that it was a ‘free’ exchange of information and ideas to promote a problem ridden industry. But alas, the feeling that time is money, invades our senses, and will only promote those who can afford it.

Yes, it is about priorities.

Kathleen
June 18th, 2006
1:13 PM

Aren’t we all using free web browsers? free blogging software? free photo managing software? There are a great deal of programmers out there who believe in the idea of the world wide web’s open access to information and are willing to spend hours giving of their time and expertise so that we can all learn a little more about the world we are living in. Sure, Kathleen could charge for tutorials, people would pay, but then that becomes a job and not being a mentor to people with hopes and dreams as she once had.

It’s a little distressing to read that. I’m not using free blogging software; my license to run this site is $199.00. Similarly, I pay for shareware that I use. For software that doesn’t accept donations, I donate (in part, in recognition of their efforts) $50. a month to neurodiversity.com and have been for the past eight months, every single month.

This already is a job. I don’t have a huge corporation backing me, just my husband. Truth be told, he’s the one everyone should be thanking. He’s the one that makes this site possible. Well, that and book sales. There’s a lot of visitors who should buy the book and they know it but they’re freeloaders and I resent it. Specially when they send me emails demanding referrals and what not.

I don’t have to do this site. I figure I have the right to expect the same kind of income that I’d get if I were working at a job full time some place. Say, -this is on the low end- $50,000 a year. I made $10,000 last year. That’s below poverty level. And don’t forget, that’s raising a disabled child with no health insurance or child support. It’s a mistake to think my poverty is so far in the distant past; it isn’t.

Remuneration is meaningful. If people aren’t willing to pay for it, it’s hard to argue it’s worth doing. Toward that end, spouse and I have been talking about my going back to school. I want to get an engineering degree. I had been thinking industrial engineering but I didn’t like the attitude of chair of the department when I went in for my interview (yes, I’ve gone that far!). He called lean “comic book” engineering. I’m considering environmental engineering, something that supports my core philosophy of ecological sustainability and responsibility. I’m 45 years old; while I’m not too old to start over in another field, I don’t want to mess around; my internal commitments to my values seem to grow stronger as I age. If I can’t make a go of growing sustainable, fair and humane factories, I’ll make a go of going something else that will be of ecological benefit to the planet.

I resent the implication that I have to do this, as tho I owed anybody anything. That said, I love my regular supporters who keep my spirits up. Between them and my husband, I would have abandoned this project a long time ago. I just can’t stand freeloaders. I owe you nothing.

Gidget
June 18th, 2006
4:11 PM

I apparently way misunderstood the intentions of this site. I am not a freeloader. I have no notion that anyone owes me anything.

I found your site, bought your book, and am also 41 yrs. old going back to college to do what I would like for a change. I also care for a severely disabled 48 yr old sister who will never ‘grow up’ and leave home. I too make an income that falls below poverty level.

I was speaking of blogging software in general, internet browsers, even operating systems such as linux. You apparently run a professinal version of movable type. Kudos. If this is a job, then I will view this blog and forum as a company website. I believed it to be an informal living room and not an office I was walking into. Obviously you have expenses that we must decide to pay for. Thank you for clarifying that.

Kathleen
June 18th, 2006
5:06 PM

I should have qualified “freeloader” of which there are several kinds. First, they don’t intend to buy the book (the sales of which support this site) even tho they desperately need it judging from their questions. I don’t consider a book buyer to be a freeloader. The worst kind of freeloaders are those who write me asking questions or wanting referrals. To them I suggest they buy the book because referrals are an endorsement of them and I have no way of knowing how prepared they are. If they’ve read the book, then I know they’ll at least avoid the greatest mistakes possible and not piss off a contractor who’d then prefer I didn’t send him anybody. The worst kind of freeloaders are snotty. They get upset because I don’t provide them with what they want on demand and resent that I suggest they need the book. They act like I owe them something. Why would I send a problem in the making to a respected colleague? As far as I’m concerned, they can just buy a directory.

Lol B
June 18th, 2006
7:37 PM

If anyones interested in shirtmaking you may be interested in the following.

I have a great shirt workbook from the London Centre for fashion studies.

It’s been written for production pattern making and has a section on production patterns, how to develop specification sheets for manufacturing, a proffessional grading section and a section on shirt manufacturing with a ‘schedule of operations’ showing the correct manufacturing sewing sequence.

It even goes as far as shirt presentation, folding packaging and labelling etc. Very good resource indeed.

I must add that although it does demonstrate a large variety of pockets there isn’t a bluff pocket, so I’m hanging to know Kathleen’s method!

It’s available from http://WWW.LCFSfashionmedia.co.uk
and is entitled The Essential Shirt Workbook by Martin Shoben and Clive Hallett. Great delivery service Uk to Australia in 4 days !

Thanks for these cool posts Kathleen, I totally understand why you would want to charge for them.

Kathleen
June 18th, 2006
8:12 PM

Lorraine, somebody else told me that was a great book too. I priced it but got cold feet when I saw the postage (30 pounds=$55.USD) for the books I wanted. Do you have a page count? Their site doesn’t list number of pages or anything for any of the books.

Alison Cummins
June 19th, 2006
6:10 AM

Gidget,

Kathleen’s living room *is* free. She even lets us use her back porch to talk about our kitties. Kathleen hasn’t said anything (as I recall) about charging for this terrific exchange of information, ideas and resources.

What she’s talking about charging for is the food in the dining room. She announces the arrival of a cashew nut loaf with orange-cranberry sauce and green salad, the price thereof, and those who want it can mosey on over into the dining room, pay the price and partake.

Those of us who choose to remain in the living room can continue to sip tea and munch on the delicious, healthy and nourishing home-baked cookies free of charge. (Select good cooks being invited to contribute their free-of-charge cookies as well.)

And those who think everything is terrific and yummy are strongly encouraged to buy the cookbook and take it home with them.

*** *** ***
Well, Kathleen’s living room is free for us. It’s not free for Kathleen. She pays for it in time, money and effort. She asks for donations in a general way to keep it going, points out that people do make them and that she is grateful, but clearly a more structured approach to funding the site is required. I think she’s hit on a good one.

Gidget
June 19th, 2006
1:00 PM

I apologize for my mode of communication. There are other agendas going on in my chicken little brain that prevented me from seeing the bigger picture here.

Anyone out there who hesitates about buying the book, needs to understand, Kathleen is 110% on the up and up and it’s an invaluable, NECESSARY tool to the industry. Having the chance to glimpse Kathleen’s talents and gifts via this website is incredibly inspiring and I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I don’t think it’s worth the money.

Lol B
June 19th, 2006
7:13 PM

Hey Kathleen,

I agree that the cost of postage plus currency factors often make the purchase of books online prohibitive.

I will say too that although for me this book is a wonderful resource I feel that for someone of your knowledge and understanding it may not be meaty( pardon the expression) enough, it may well leave you exclaiming ‘so tell me something I don’t already know’. As I said, no bluff pockets!

It’s a very slim volume only 77 pages in total and a flimsy spiral bound book. Still for those with little knowledge of production procedures and production patern making I think it’s a really great resource. It has 10 chapters

1) history of the shirt
2)Style glossary ( great tech drawings of many many style lines/ pocket details /placquet/cuff/ yoke variations)
3)Shirt Block Construction
4) Pattern cutting
5)Shirt Styles
6)How to measure a shirt
7)Sizing and Grading
8)Shirt Manufacture
9)shirt presentation
10)Useful information

I really want to say ‘hey it’s no problem, I’ll photo copy it, bind it, then send it to you’ but that would be very naughty and illegal wouldn’t it , Damn!

Lol B
June 21st, 2006
4:17 PM

I’d like to amend my review of the ‘Essential Shirt Workbook’.

I bought this book because I like making shirts but wanted to up my skill level a few notches. I became even more interestesd in this after reading about traditional tailored shirts and the methods on the English Cut Blog.

The book has fallen short of my expectations because it claims to presesnt ‘production’ or industrial techniques. I was having pattern cutting tuition with my mentor and I mentioned that I was having problems sometimes getting a clean professional finish when attaching collars and cuffs. My teacher showed me some different techniques for attaching collars and cuffs that she has always used in production which not only made the task much simpler but gave a fantastic clean finish. These methods are not shown in the book, they show the usual home sew technique of bagging out collars and cuffs before attaching.

My teacher was not really impressed with the sewing techniques shown and felt they were not genuine production methods ( she has 35 years experience in the industry and has worked with some great sample machinists who’ve developed some inovative methods.

So , I came away from class feeling excited that I’d learned some new techniques but dissapointed that the bok falls short in some areas.

wande
June 21st, 2006
5:44 PM

Thank you so much Kathleen for all the effort you put into this wonderful site, I have bought your book and it has been invaluable to me. I’m not able to get on the site everyday as I would like to but I catch up on all the posts before the week runs out. You really don’t owe anyone anything and you obviously really do care or you wouldn’t be doing this so diligently and lovingly. Thank you very much and I would be more than happy to pay for this wonderful service- (I call it service cause it is, there is no other site like FI.) Reading the site and your book has given me such hope and, the determination to become a successful DE. Thanks Kathleen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clinton
December 4th, 2006
1:03 PM

I would like to make my own shirt. I already have a sewing machine. Show me the way

naina
July 6th, 2009
1:34 AM

You have given me amazing ideas. Thank you sooooomuch…

Lola
October 15th, 2009
9:44 PM

I just wanted to thank you for making this wonderful and very informative website. I fully understand why you would want to change for this kind of information, and I would image that there are a number of people out there who would be willing to pay for it (sadly not myself, not because I don’t think its worth it (because it really is) but because I can’t afford it as a college student). One idea is to split it up and have certain content and tutorials only available if you pay for them (either per item, or as part of a subscription for a year of ‘special’ information) and certain information available free. For example, you could keep the zipper tutorials and stuff that is already free, still free, but other more exclusive information (such as the bluff pocket tutorial) could be only accessed to people who payed for it. That way people who are very very interested in this but don’t necessarily absolutely need it or consider it essential to know ,such as some people who only sew for fun or who are still in university studying fashion (like myself) and who don’t need it right this minute (since they are not yet out in the ‘real world’ where they would put it to use) can still access the free information to supplement their knowledge (and hopefully leave a donation). And the people who are actually going out and using this information or planning to use it in their business and there for need it more can pay extra to have certain ‘special features’ of the site.
Also, lest you think I am a freeloader, although I have not yet purchased the book since I can’t afford it at the moment I have a little box under my desk where I put spare cash I have at the end of each month to save up to purchase it, since it looks extremely interesting and will probably be most useful years down the road if I decide to become and independent fashion designer (as opposed to designing for another already established company like I hope to do after graduation).

Anyways, thank you very much for the website and I hope you keep it up.

Naomi R.
June 2nd, 2011
11:32 AM

Hello, Kathleen. I’m trying to figure out your draft for the button stand, and I don’t understand one of the instructions. When you write “add 2 inches to the edge”, what is “the edge”? The extension doesn’t seem to start at center front – it looks like it starts 1/8″ to the right of CF. I’d appreciate it if you could enlighten me when you have some time. :)

Mari
August 4th, 2011
11:32 PM

First of all, let me say that since discovering this site, I was surprised the content was free. I have learned and validated more patternmaking/constrction theories that were rolling around in my head, that I should really be thanking you for keeping me from mumbling out my problems on the streets of my smalltown!

I would gladly pay for indepth tutorials and will be buying my copy of your book today!
More importantly, do you teach seminars? I would love to sign up for one.

Thanks for the knowledge infusion!
M

Kathleen
August 5th, 2011
6:57 AM

More importantly, do you teach seminars? I would love to sign up for one.

Yes I provide intensive seminars for entrepreneurs and master classes for industry professionals (pattern makers, continuing ed for college professors etc) upon request. Curriculum is customized to the company/individual. More info is here.

[…] for a much better sew-on front band in his “Shirtmaking” book.  There’s also a front band tutorial at the Fashion Incubator blog, though I think it’s for a single piece shirtfront-plus-band, rather than a separate […]

FF: Craft puzzles | ReveDreams.com
June 6th, 2014
1:01 PM

[…] Incubator has a long series of posts on reverse engineering, of which the first is simply called Shirt making tips. There’s also a single post from PrintCutSew about reverse engineering a handbag […]

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