A Couple of test tops

I have been wanting to make some clothes for myself, well for years actually.  I got a serger last year with this idea in mind. I have a big collection of patterns and even quite a bit of garment type fabric, but I held of on using the fabric in case I make a terrible mistake on the garment and waste it. Over the years, whenwhen I did make a garment, I ended up with it not fitting right in one way or another or made some big goof by misreading the pattern. So, I got this great idea. I bought a bold of $2 muslin at Hobby Lobby to make test garments. That way, I could find out any tricky parts and if they fit before using up the ‘good’ fabric.

So a couple weeks ago, I tried my first one. It is a caftan style shirt that is almost long enough to be a dress. The pattern is Butterick B5361. It is a simple garment to assemble, and didn’t take long at all. The pattern only goes up to the size just before the one I usually wear in ready-made clothes, so I expected it would be too small. Still, I figured this is a basic pattern and may be adjusted once I knew how much. So here is the finished shirt:

I was surprised to find that rather than fit or be too small, it is actually a little too big.Because it doesn’t have a lot of shaping, it seems bulky to wear, although I plan on wearing it around the house. Also I thought being muslin it would feel flimsy, but in fact it adds to the bulky feel. I may try it again in a fabric with more drape. The ankle length would make a nice house or lounging type dress, but I don’t know if this pattern is one I would make to wear outside the house.

After that experiment, I decided to go with a more standard type shirt and chose Butterick B5261. It has a collar, cuffs on the long sleeves, and buttons down the front. Oh and there is a pleat in the center back, but I didn’t take a picture of that. Here is experiment 2:

This one fits much better. I had some trouble with the collar, and will have to study that a bit more before I try this pattern again. Except for that, it was easy and went together in a couple days. It was fun being able to serge some of the seams. I had to get out the sewing machine manual to remind me how to make the buttonholes, but once I got it set they were done in a flash. And I dug around in my button box and had just enough of the right sized buttons. Another thing I learned from the test shirt is to use heavier interfacing on the collar – it is a bit floppy.

As the weather is getting cooler, I am thinking flannel would be nice to try next with this pattern. Oh and the other day in Hancock Fabrics some shirting fabric that would be nice too.


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