Friday, June 19, 2009

Hawaiian shirt fabric

Somewhere between moving the computers upstairs and packing up "stuff" that's now stored in the garage, I found a bag of fabric. I have lots of materials and supplies from projects started and finished as well as unfinished projects. But this bag was full of materials for a project never started! The date on the receipt was 4/27/2006. Wow. That's three years ago, and I had completely forgotten about it! Of course as soon as I saw the fabric I remembered: DH and I had been at Walmart and saw this beautiful Hawaiian fabric on the sale shelf. We absolutely couldn't resist the pattern and the price. Not having a pattern, however, (and apparently being unable to walk over to the pattern section) we guessed how much yardage we would need for a shirt and bought 2 yards.

So when I found this fabric (again), I kept it in the back of my mind and realized last week that a great use would be to make a shirt for DH for Father's Day! (My family loves handmade Hawaiian shirts. DH has two from several years ago and I can't tell you how many my dad has. California, you know?). I figured I could put it together during LB's naps while DH was at work and surprise him with it.

Well, I didn't get a chance to even begin working on it until after the wedding. We must have picked up (or my mom gave us) a pattern at some point because there was one in the bag. The only problem is that the pattern called for 2 5/8 yards. I thought maybe I could squeeze the pattern on the fabric. I folded the fabric just so for the back piece to not use any more fabric than absolutely necessary, pinned it in place, then tried laying out the rest of the pieces. Looking at the shirt front on the fabric (and needing 2 of them) and the sleeve (and needing 2 as well), I just didn't see how it could all fit. I told my mom as much (she was on the phone trying to help) and we were both severely disappointed. Since I had purchased the fabric at Walmart, I thought maybe they'd still have it and I could pick up another 1/2 yard or so.

The next day, DH stayed home to work (because his advisor was out of town), so LB and I had the car. I told DH I has "some errands" to run and off we went. We went to 3, THREE!! different Walmarts, NOT including the one we normally frequent. None of them carry fabric anymore. They've all succumbed to the reorganization that took over ours several months ago (this reminds me of the Nothing that eats up Fantasia in The Neverending Story). I was, again, severely disappointed. Although LB and I did not come home empty-handed, it was not the successful shopping trip it was supposed to be.

After lunch I decided I really needed to get fabric or I would have enough time to make the shirt before Father's Day. So I convinced DH that LB would take a long afternoon nap since he had had no nap in the morning, and I took off again. I headed to our closest JoAnn's store: 20 minutes away. They had Hawaiian fabric on 60% off! So I picked up my 2 5/8 yards and came home (and LB was still asleep, bless his heart).

That evening, after LB had gone to bed, I pulled out the (newly purchased) fabric and began laying out the pattern. Again, I folded it just so, pinned the back in place, and laid out the other pieces. Looking at the front (and needing two), it just didn't look like it was going to fit! But I knew I had enough fabric this time. So I unpinned the back, unfolded the fabric, and started with the front piece and sleeves, THEN laid out the back, collar (twice), and pocket. All the pieces fit. They fit so well, in fact, with quite a bit of fabric left over, that I had a funny feeling I didn't really need that 5/8 after all.

So, I went BACK to the fabric from 3 years ago, and realized that I liked it ten times better than the stuff I had just bought. Which gave me motivation to spend the next half hour fiddling with the pattern pieces and trying to squeeze them in. It was so close! I could feel it. I knew it would work, but I didn't want to mess up, since I couldn't get anymore of the fabric. After much deliberation (and I mean MUCH), I decided it worth ruining the surprise to have my engineer's help.

So DH came to my rescue. He understood that I had wanted to surprise him, and he assured me that he still felt very special that I was making a shirt for him (and I think he was a little flattered that I needed his help). It didn't take him but a couple minutes to see that everything would fit, if we just put this here and that there and be sure to cut this out first. And so I did. After I cut out the fronts and back, I realized that I could even get the sleeves facing the right way (I had thouht I would need to cut the sleeves out on the cross-grain), as long as the collar was cut out on the cross-grain. Very cool! I was worried about cutting out the sleeves "sideways" because the pattern would go across the sleeve instead of down (think palm trees growing sideways instead of up and down). So that made me happy. So happy, in fact, that I had to call my mom to tell her that I would be able to use the pretty fabric from three years ago after all! Even though we had talked for three hours the day before, we ended up talking for another hour and didn't get off until I'd cut out all the fabric and we'd booked my flight. (But I'll have to talk about that in a different post. Perhaps it won't be as long as these last two!)

So today I've attached the collar and started pinning the sleeves. Tomorrow I hope to finish the sleeves, which leaves all of Saturday (well, as much time as LB or DH-watching-LB will give me) to put in the buttonholes, buttons, and hem. I think it's doable!

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Laurie said...

Good luck with all that you have to do to finish the shirt! Sounds nice! You know, you must post pics when it's finished!

ehart said...

Yep, that's what I was going to say--we have to see pics--probably with some young dad inside the shirt.

Miss Elizabeth said...

I'm looking forward to doing some sowing with you when you come up!