Long ago when I made myself those raglan-sleeved baseball tees, Emily would, from time to time, give me strange looks. Eventually, I figured out what was going on in her head and asked her if maybe she wanted some shirts like those, and she said "yes!" So I promised her that after the mad rush of Halloween sewing, I'd make her some for school.
The advent season is probably one of my favorites for sewing, because there is absolutely no pressure at all to do handmade gifts. I'm recovering from the lunacy of Halloween costume-making-cum-birthday-partying, so this is my time to do whatever I want by way of projects. It doesn't mean I'm immune to the joys of gift making - it's just that, having worked myself into a handmade stupor some Christmases back, I've decided that I'm better off buying everybody stuff. Every now and then, though, I relapse - just last week, for instance, I had to talk myself out of sewing lunch buckets for all the kids' teachers. Went out and bought myself a four-pack of Baileys instead. Did you know they came in four-packs of minis for $10? I didn't. Hurrah! This advent I'm making Irish Creme truffles. And drinking slightly-spiked hot chocolate, like in the old days before motherhood.
How I do go off-point!
Anyway, so instead of sewing gifts for people, I'm doing seasonally-inappropriate things this advent season, like writing about alterations and tailors, and making school clothes for the kids (Jenna has asked for knit winter dresses next).
Last Saturday, I sat on the floor and drafted Emily's raglan block. Very hit-and-miss, raglan sleeves are, so I knew from previous experience with my own raglan shirts, that I'd be doing a few muslins to get them right. Here's one of the muslins:
And when I say "a few muslins", I really mean "the same practice garment, with wide seam allowances, that I sew-and-unpick-and-resew and mark-and-remark-with-my-black-Papermate-Flair-pen until I get the shape right."
Emily's shoulders have changed so much in the last two years -they used to be slopey and narrow, and now they are wide and bony. Most of the adjustment for this shirt was made at the neckline, to get it to properly hug the throat area but without threat of strangulation. Those shoulders of hers! After the first muslin, I figured I should have just shaped the raglan line into an obvious curve, as is popular in boys' and mens' raglan shirts, to accommodate for them. I didn't, though, because this was her first raglan block/sloper and I've always liked to keep first blocks of anything precise and basic and not tinker too much with them, design-wise. So I left the boring diagonal raglan line as is and made her six shirts.
Can you see that I was still shaping the neckline as I made the shirts? The blue shirt (the last one I made) has a narrower, lower-scooped neckline than the purple (the first one I made). Notice also that the neckline on the pink shirt is a bit wobbly - that's the only shirt I didn't have ribbing in the appropriate color for, so I used the shirt fabric itself. However, I forgot that I meant to bind the neckline (like the sleeve) instead of making a collar. Too late now. Silly me.
"Make the sleeves long, Mum." was Emily's only request. "I like them to cover part of my hands".
She was very excited about the blue shirt, because it is exactly like mine. How I shall miss these days when she still thinks it's cool to dress like her mother. Years from now, when she's a teenager, I shall wonder if this seven-year-old Emily was just a dream.
Isn't it funny how girls this age are? They ask you to make their clothes plain, plain, plain and when you suggest a fashionable stripe, or polka dot, they say "eeeew, no - that's too detailed." But when you disobey them and make the stripes and the dots anyway, they squeal with joy when they see them and say, "I love it! My favorite!" and hug you. I restrained myself from rolling my eyes and saying "I told you so" because I remembered that I was exactly like that as a child. Are your girls like this? If so, take heart - you'll have your revenge when they become mothers.