OK, I admit, that title is a bit misleading. This shirt didn’t take 5 minutes, in total, to make. But it is the first output of my new approach to sewing – the not very imaginatively titled ‘5 minutes a day’ approach.
Pre-baby, I did all my sewing on the weekend. I’d hole up in the bedroom for a few hours with some tea and some music and sew, sew, sew. There is no way my toddler allows that these days, even if I was comfortable with her being only half-supervised in the same room as the hot iron. The problem is, there are only so many free hours after the baby has gone to sleep for partaking of chores, hobbies and relaxing. I couldn’t see myself giving up a large chunk of my evening hours to sewing, as that meant less time for knitting, eating, watching telly, etc etc. And thus the 5-minutes a day commitment was born. I could commit to 5 minutes a day. And those little chunks of sewing time would eventually accumulate to produce a garment. And here’s the proof!
Now, I will admit this took months to finish. Some days I did up to 20 minutes, some days I didn’t do anything. But the principle of regular, small commitments to sewing really worked and I made a shirt I wouldn’t otherwise have made. As other bloggers have noted elsewhere, slowing down also has advantages in terms of quality – I can concentrate and do things right for 5-10 minutes at a time. When I was sewing in large chunks of time, I would gradually accept more mistakes and a lowering of quality in my work.
So some of the sewing on this is really high quality. The fitting – maybe not so much. I did a muslin and an FBA but the arms were just too tight. And rather than cutting completely new ones, I tried to guess and patch bits together and then translate those random adjustments to the pattern and the real fabric. So, the arms are still a bit tight. I tell myself I’ve only worn it once because it’s winter and a lightweight silk shirt just isn’t warm enough. But I think the fit is also putting me off, because let’s face it, I wear a cardigan for warmth pretty much every day anyways.
The pattern is Vogue, but I’ve packed the envelope away in a box and can’t seem to locate the number on the website so it must be out of print. It has lovely princess seams for shaping and very lovely, proper cuffs with a bound vent and two soft pleats. I made it out of some rather inexpensive black silk I picked up several years ago at the Knitting and Stitching Show. I did think this would be a practice shirt that would lead to many more, but I’m not in any hurry to take on that amount of work again, especially as the pattern still doesn’t fit right.
Still, I’m pleased with my new approach and pleased that I made a proper, grown up shirt.