Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Challenger Shirt

If you've ever seen "The Bucket List" with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, then you've seen the car I'm trying to depict as a shirt. It's the yellow one on the right, for those who still don't know. It's a 1970 Dodge Challenger... a loud and fast muscle car.

My FIL spends each summer going to car shows and cruising with other classics. It's his pride & joy, and I can't blame him. You'd never know that it was green and in awful shape when he got it from a police auction. He's done an amazing job restoring it, and maybe my sewing gift will earn me a ride in it, for once!
So, I started with Simplicity 4287, a Threads collection pattern with 3 short sleeve variations for little boys and grown men. Yes, there will be a little boy version in the near future, so Little Man can be just like Papa! The pattern was Out of Print, so I ordered directly from Simplicity (a first) and was very happy with the service. Although it wouldn't have been difficult to slap a stripe on a short sleeve shirt, I really liked the way this panel had a slight curve to it, like the hockey stick stripe on the car.

I ordered the cotton/poly blends from fabric.com, and even though it's super lightweight, you can't beat the price and the free shipping on first-time orders! Why the blend? To prevent the black from leaching into the yellow during washings. Isn't Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics so smart? She didn't have what I needed, but pointed me in the right direction. That's customer service!

I made the XL according to the measurements on the pattern envelope, and the fit is right on the money. My only recommendation for working with this pattern is to cut 2 of the yoke pieces, not 1 as the pattern recommends. Every shirt I've made or bought has a double layered yoke, so I really don't know why the pattern would only use 1.

To topstitch, I used 2 spools of yellow threaded through a single needle (another first for me), and chose a 5mm stitch length. Looks just like embroidery thread, but way neater and faster than hand stitching! Thanks to Summerset for her tips, I used yellow for the buttonholes, but black buttons to tie in the stripe color.

As for my embroidery, I did my test with 2 options. One as a normal filled Brush font (just like the car decal) and another as a running stitch outline. DH and I preferred the cool look of the outline version, but knowing FIL's somewhat poor vision, we chose the solid version for easier reading. Of course, I also had to add his name in a smaller matching font.

He loved his Christmas gift, and it was easy to make. I spent more time mulling over my embroidery decisions than actually making the shirt!


Meg said...

Great job! I can see why he's thrilled. What a personal gift... they're the best.

Gorgeous Things said...

Very cool shirt! I love the colors and the embroidery.

Unknown said...

that is a great shirt. I love the embroidery. And kudos to Ann for pointing you in the right direction when she couldn't help you :0 g