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Back to School Shirt

Three of my 7 grandkids are 7 years old and entering 2nd grade this year, two granddaughters and one grandson!   I decided to make back-to-school outfits for them. For the grandson, I wanted a button-down shirt, one for warm weather and one for cooler days. I found a nice homespun cotton fabric for the long-sleeve shirt but nothing really “spoke” to me for the short-sleeve shirt.

I went to the local thrift shop and looked at the XL men’s shirts. I found a couple with suitable plaids and got them for under $5 each. Long-sleeved is best – more fabric!

When using a ready-made shirt as a fabric source, you have a couple advantages but also need to be aware of a couple adjustments. As the hem and front placket are already done for you, you can skip the front facing and hemming options. If matching a curved hem, as I did, the back is cut as two pieces. Be sure to add a seam allowance in the center back (I added 1/2″) – along the fold line. With a small plaid this seam will not be visible. Be sure to reverse the pattern for the second 1/2 back piece.

cutting back
cutting back

Side Note: As an offshoot of my heirloom sewing, where all seams are finished in some fashion, I try to enclose ALL seams of my projects. Especially on children clothes. I believe this is a modified French seam as it is done on the inside. I trim one seam allowance down to a scant 1/4″. I then turn the other seam allowance over and under, enclosing the raw edge. This is then top-stitched.  FYI This is the long-sleeved shirt I made with the homespun cotton.

seam closeup
covered seam closeup

When placing the front pattern piece, slide the pattern out the width of the seam allowance along the center front edge. Since the front placket is done already, you won’t be stitching that seam. There are also no buttonholes to make or buttons to sew on!

cutting front
cutting front

Cut both sleeves off at the armhole seam and lay wrong sides together.

cutting sleeve
cutting sleeve

Once the pieces are cut out, this is all that remains of the original shirt! The larger pieces went into my scrap box. I also cut off the remaining buttons for my ‘button box’.

remains
remains of original shirt

The last adjustment is to make sure the collar goes ALL the way to the edge of the front placket. Without a front facing, you need to make sure the collar seam is covered. Either select a pattern with this feature or adjust the collar to fit.

finished shirt
finished shirt

Not bad for around $5 and a few hours of sewing!

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10

 

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My Navy Flag (Guidon)

In 2010 my son-in-law achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy. His group of Selectees was required to have a flag and my daughter asked me to help her make one on behalf of the selectees. This flag, actually called a GUIDON (a heraldic flag or military standard), had requirements: a certain size and specific wording. As I understand it, flags usually were made of felt or craft paper. Those who know me, know I just HAD to take it up a few notches!!! The following describes that journey!

The original discussion was on a  Sunday morning and the carrier was sailing on Tuesday afternoon. My daughter drew a rough drawing of both sides of the flag, indicating what HAD to be on it and what additions they (the selectees) wanted. I then digitized all the embroidery – over 144,000 stitches!

drawing side 2
drawing, side 2

As my current (ie: older) embroidery machine was not reliable nor large enough, we went to the local Bernina dealer – nothing but a Bernina for me! I bought a BRAND NEW Bernina 830 (got a really good trade-in price!) and the Jumbo hoop. We decided on “duck” cloth – a heavy weight broadcloth, white and dark blue, and I started stitching!

embroidery
embroidery

The large blue circle is ALL stitching – if I ever make another one it will be applique! The figures in the middle represent Chief, Senior Chief, and Master Chief.

design closeup
design closeup

All members of the Selectees group were listed along with their motto: Unity, Service, Navigation. The four gold stars on the white side were the hardest to digitize. I was very pleased with the final results.

navy flag_side 1
navy flag, side 1

My daughter purchased the pole and standard and I found a gold trim resembling rope for the other three edges.

flag on pole
flag on pole

 

I worked MANY, MANY hours between Sunday morning and Tuesday. We had to get the flag to him at the ship by noon – 2 hours away from my location!  Every minute was worth it, though. I am very proud of this flag because it represents a lot of hard work on the part of the Selectees, particularly my son-in-law! He is now just a few years from 20 years of service and I am SUPER proud of him!

Let’s not forget these young men and women who CHOSE to serve our country. They deserve our constant prayers and support.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Philippians 4:6