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Shirt No. 1

Written by Larissa Gregorin


Posted on June 10 2022

I have been telling myself for a long time that I want to be someone who not only knits their own clothes, but sews them as well. I've had a sewing machine for about 10 years and use it a little bit, but I've never taken the time to create wearable garments with it.

I now have my very own office, and while it's in no way put together or tidy, it's mine! Turns out being able to leave my mess all over the place without worrying about my kids getting hurt on my tools or damaging my materials has made all the difference.

Me in my messy-ass office.

I wanted to begin my garment sewing journey with the e a s i e s t thing I could possibly sew. Enter Shirt No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing.

So far, I have made two of them, although the first one is more like a muslin.

Muslin bedsheet version

I made this first one from an old bedsheet, so it hangs more like scrubs than a shirt I'd wear to look nice. But I do still wear it, it was basically free!

I also had some technical issues making this first Shirt No. 1, entirely caused by me.

First, my regular sewing machine was doing this thing where it was skipping stitches and the top thread kept snapping. I rethreaded it like 100 times, took out the bobbin, cleaned the casing, oiled it, and it kept happening. I asked my internet friends (shout out heyyyy) and they gave me a bunch of tips, but nothing was working.

Only once I finished sewing this muslin version of the shirt did I remove the needle and put it back. Turns out it was twisted ever so slightly instead of facing perfectly forward. Learn from my mistakes, friends. I had to use the seam ripper an embarrassing amount of times on this simple thing.

The other issue I was having was something that's been going on for a little while. My serger was just not giving me a consistent stitch length no matter how fast or slow it went. Again, after I finished this shirt, I rethreaded the whole thing hoping it was somehow threaded improperly, and that would be the quick fix.

It was an even quicker fix. The goddamn presser foot wasn't down. 

If you're wondering how I have a master's degree AND keep two kids alive, I'm wondering the same thing.

Linen haul from the Fabrics Store

Thankfully, with all of that behind me, the next one went a lot smoother. I started out with some appropriate fabric. It's a really nice lightweight linen from the Fabrics Store

Sewing machine working properly!

Do you also use bookend geodes as pattern weights?

This version turned out so nice. The color (black) is great for wearing with basically anything I own. The fabric is also so nice. It looks a little sheer when you hold it to the light, but it's perfect when it's on. And it also moves when you move, unlike the bedsheet fabric that kind of holds its shape like it's made of cardboard.

wow model much

I really do recommend Shirt No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing as a beginner garment. It would be pretty easy to customize length, neck shape, etc. once you know how it fits you.
Once I make a few more different shirts, and I play around with wearing this and other handmade garments, I'll probably make another. I have to see what I actually end up wearing and gravitating to!
Leave me some simple patterns in the comments that you keep coming back to!
Love you, mean it.



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