I plan to sew a tshirt tomorrow, so I got everything ready to go today. That way, I can come in to the sewing room tomorrow and sit down and get right to work.
Today, I did the most important step - sewing a toile. A toile (pronounced twahl), also known as a muslin, is a fitting sample. You construct the major parts of the garment, in a similar fabric to what you plan to use, to check the fit of the garment. Because I have never sewed this particular pattern, and I was between 3 different sizes listed on the pattern envelope, it was extra important to sew a toile. I used a jersey knit bed sheet that I found at a thrift store to make the toile, because it was cheap, and a very similar stretch and weight to the tshirt fabric. I guessed fairly accurately what size to make, and when I tried on the toile, it sort of fit....but not really well. I decided to make the real tshirt one size bigger, so it would be slightly looser in the bust and therefore hang better. Once I get the garment partly assembled, I will pin the side seams closed and check the fit again. It will be very simple to take in the waist and hip area at that point. Good fit starts at the shoulder - if the shoulder/arm/bust area doesn't fit, the rest of the garment is not going to hang properly.
Since I know what size to make now, I cut out the correct size of the pattern pieces, and pressed them with a dry iron. I also pressed the fabric, according to the cutting layout on the pattern instructions.
I circled the layout so I don't get mixed up when doing layout, and I circled all the directions that apply to view B.
I chose my thread, and wound a bobbin. For a larger project, I would have loaded two or more bobbins. It's a pain to stop and reload in the middle of a project. I cleaned the lint out of my machine (my last project was polar fleece!), and threaded the machine. I didn't need to change the needle because I've done minimal sewing with it. But generally, I will change needles every project or two. The extra 30 cents or so for a new needle will save many dollars in frustration. A dull needle can even ruin your expensive fabric. Save in other areas, but trust me, buy good quality needles and change them often.
The last preparation step was to lay out my safety glasses. I was required to wear safety glasses over my prescription glasses while in school. It seemed like a silly requirement, until the day a needle broke while I was sewing, and a piece flew up and hit me right under one eye. And this was on a domestic machine, can you imagine if I was using one of the industrial machines?! Just a cm or two higher, without those glasses, could have meant serious eye damage. So invest in a pair of safety glasses. And put them on every time you sew.
And because every sewing blog post should contain photographs, I'll share with you the photo my husband posted on my Facebook wall this morning.
Yup, my morning coffee is pretty important! The saying in fashion school was that you should have enough caffeine in your system to thread the machine WHILE it's running!